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Everyone Is Going To Mastodon Including Medium — Here’s What Makes The Anti-Twitter So Powerful

  • 10 min read

It cracked 9M user accounts, and attracts really notable names — even Medium’s founder says it’s here to stay.

A lot of creators and business owners are tired of the messy game Elon Musk is playing with Twitter.

They are seeing the social media network really disrupted by Elon.

For the better or the worse. They don’t know yet.

However, they are realizing the need to find a Twitter alternative.

Twitter just doesn’t feel like the place and social media network they came to be anymore.

They are longing for something else.

Mastodon — the anti-Twitter.

A few days ago, Tony Stubblebine announced that Medium launched a Mastodon instance.

I already joined the waiting list and you should too.

What is going on with Mastodon?

Since Elon Musk completed his purchase of Twitter in autumn 2022, the microblogging platform Mastodon has been blowing up in popularity.

Mastodon just reached 9 million user accounts.

Reddit

It sees 2.5M daily users.

Comparatively, Twitter has 260M daily active users.

However, you must keep in mind that the Twitter audience has historically grown over the years.

Of course, Twitter is a powerhouse because it already has so many users in its universe.

However, if people continue flocking there, Mastodon will go from a newish platform (founded in 2016) to a more established one.

Mastodon is gonna be a permanent thing

Some compare Mastodon to the highly hyped platform Clubhouse.

Clubhouse was one of the shooting stars of the pandemic. It still has 10M users but it’s not growing and is not really a thing anymore.

Recently, however, companies such as the publishing platform Medium or the free software community Mozilla have joined Mastodon — as “an emerging force for good in social media,” as Tony Stubblebine, Medium’s CEO stated.

Mastodon attracts really notable names

Twitter co-founders Ev Williams (who founded Medium) and Biz Stone (who are both part of the Medium Board) are tinkering with Mastodon and trying it out.

Mastodon attracts really notable names
photo credit: Insider; Eric Luse/The Chronicle; Ev Williams (left) and Biz Stone (right)

“I love the idea of an open and distributed — yet connected — network,” Ev Williams shared.

According to Bloomberg, for Mastodon, this is “a sign of credibility.”

“I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or what, but my Twitter experience isn’t as great [recently]. I don’t know if it’s the people that I follow aren’t tweeting anymore or what’s happening,” Stone says.

What makes Mastodon so appealing?

What’s so appealing to so many is that Mastodon is the anti-Twitter.

It’s a decentralized (or federated) social media network.

The idea: anyone can run parts of this network.

It’s operated by more than 8,000 different interdependent servers (hosted by different people from around the world and organized around specific themes, topics, or interests) which make up the bigger network.

mastodonservers.net; You can go to mastodonservers.net, search for your topic of interest and find the right server to join.

Once you’ve joined a specific server, you can follow, reply, and engage with anyone on Mastodon.

“Here’s the easiest analogy. Imagine if your friends are on Instagram, your family is on Facebook, and your favorite public figures are on Twitter and you have an account on YouTube, and you all can communicate, like, follow, and everything without having to also have a profile on every single one of these platforms.” Comment on WSJ on YouTube

There’s no king who rules the network

On big, centralized social platforms such as Twitter or Meta with Instagram and Facebook, there’s one king (tech giant Elon/Zuckerberg) who controls everything.

On Mastodon it’s different. There is no king.

Its users are the kings.

Additionally, there is no algorithm that boosts specific stories.

Readers have full control over what they want to read.

It’s free, non-profit, and open source.

How can companies such as Medium use Mastodon?

Medium is in the middle of creating an “instance” (community) on Mastodon with an early group of testers.

me.dm on Mastodon

The account wants to “boost smart information and ideas, and also to help find and recommend interesting accounts.”

(You can join Medium’s early list of invites by going here.)

Medium will use its existing corporate resources (site reliability employees and trust and safety officers) — to support and police its community.

The publishing company promises a reliable infrastructure and moderation on me.dm on Mastodon.

How individuals are using Mastodon?

Creators, online entrepreneurs, writers, artists, software developers, scientists, journalists… all kinds of people are joining Mastodon these days.

Medium’s CEO Tony Stubblebine for instance uses Mastodon as he used Twitter before.

Tony Stubblebine on Mastodon

He talks about what’s on his mind, shares photos from Christmas, is replying to other writers, and spreads the word about specific topics that are trending on Medium.

What can you do on Mastodon exactly?

A lot of the same things you can do on Twitter or other social media networks such as Facebook:

  • start microblogging (up to 500 characters)
  • use hashtags to help people find your stories
  • repurpose content from your blog, YouTube channel, or your website
  • send direct messages
  • sharing and promoting your content, ideas, and services
  • talking about what’s on your mind
  • contribute to conversations that pop up in your feed
  • read your feed of people you follow
  • build a following (great opportunity since Mastodon is still newish)

Mastodon offers a great opportunity for Medium writers to share our Medium stories with a broader audience and to connect with other Medium writers.

“We think Mastodon tipped over and that all authors need to be there,” tony Stubblebine shared.

How to join Mastodon in 4 easy steps

1. Go to joinmastodon.org

Mastodon website

Click Create an account or Get the app

2. Find a server

Mastodon website

Scroll down until you see Find a server to get a list of servers.

3. Pick a server

Mastodon website

Join a server (community) on a topic of your interest by applying for an account.

For instance, Techhub.social and create an account:

Mastodon website

Review the rules of the server and hit Accept.

Fill out the signup form, check the privacy policy box, and click the Sign Up button.

Then get set up on techhub.social.

4. Congrats, now you can join Mastodon!

Within a few hours, I received an email that I got accepted:

How to join the me.dm on Mastodon?

Medium on Mastodon is me.dm. Short and sweet.

Medium’s goal for me.dm is “to be a valuable home base for many people.”

You can only join me.dm with an invite from Medium.

You can join Medium’s waiting list by going here.

I already applied:

If you are already on Mastodon:

Medium’s promise for me.dm

Tony Stubblebine promises…

  • a reliable infrastructure and moderation
  • a short domain name to make sharing your username easier
  • better onboarding for new users
  • an interesting local feed.

Sounds like a great add-on to Medium and a great community feature.

3 things to keep in mind when signing up on Mastodon

When I first shared the news that Medium joins Mastodon I got a lot of critical feedback.

Here are some pointers to help you make an informed decision:

1 — Lack of jouissance

In comparison to Twitter, if you love the drama, you won’t find it on Mastodon.

As Tom O’Shea, a political theorist and philosopher, tweeted:

Tom O’Shea on Twitter

This must have been what Frederick Douglass meant when he talked about those who “want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters,” Tom added.

2 — Apparently, there is a lot of child porn on the platform

When Billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter, he cleaned the social network of child pornography.

PM. stated that prior to Musk’s acquisition, there was little effort put into removing this kind of content from the platform.

Jack Posobiec, all-right political activist and news anchor, tweeted:

Jack Posobiek on Twitter

3 — It will take a while to grow your following

Since Mastodon is a newish platform with 2.5M daily users (Twitter has 260M daily active users) it might take a while to build a following.

Even if you have 10K followers on Twitter, you might only have some on Mastodon.

On the Tech News Briefing Podcast from the WSJ, Joanna Stern, Senior Personal Tech Columnist, shared that she only has a few thousand followers on Mastodon but more than 160K on Twitter.

Joanna Stern on Mastodon on the left vs. Twitter on the right

Your business and brand might need a Twitter alternative

It’s no secret that more and more users flee Elon Musk’s Twitter.

The Guardian shared that Twitter is to lose 32M users in two years.

If you have your own brand or business and are thinking about a Twitter alternative, Mastodon might be a good place to start.

You can engage in public conversations, share your content and post your thoughts in a decentralized network.

Let’s take the publishing company Medium as an example.

It could really suffer if Twitter were to experince a massive decline.

Its main marketing and communications channel is Twitter (I guess based on its history; Medium founder Ev Williams is also a co-founder of Twitter).

Similarweb

The platform gets most of its traffic from Twitter.

If more and more writers and readers exit Twitter, Medium was to lose traction.

Final Thoughts

As far as I’m concerned, Twitter is one of my main marketing channels to promote my content and drive my business growth.

I generate 10% of my leads via Twitter.

No one knows if Elon Musk will change Twitter for the better or worse. I’ll stick with Twitter for now, but I’ll also try Mastodon and Medium’s community experience.

I think it’s the perfect time to amplify your message, join the platform, build a following on Mastodon, and get a feel for the highly hyped platform.

What are you waiting for?

Let’s connect on Mastodon @kristinagod@techhub.social

I’m curious. Will you jump in too and become part of the new Medium community?


Kristina God is a Top Writer on Medium. Besides being a full-stack marketer and manager, she is the co-founder of SCM and owns a 5-figure online business together with her business partner and husband.


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