It’s no secret that Twitter may be going the way of the dinosaurs. While the curtains have not necessarily closed just yet on this social media giant, there are some interesting alternatives to Twitter that could change the landscape of business communication.
Mastodon is an up-and-coming social media platform bearing some resemblances to Twitter, yet its nuances set it apart so much that it could definitely contend with the tweeting bird.
Why is Twitter Sinking?
There has been a sense of foreboding surrounding Twitter’s future from the resignation of its former CEO to the recent exodus of many top executives. They have still maintained a rather steady user base, but their stock performance has been on the decline.
One of the largest strikes against the platform is the rampant abuse and harassment that plague it. Twitter felt the ubiquitous anonymous "egg" profile picture came to represent shady users harassing the community, so they recently decided to change the default avatar to a more nondescript silhouette. Unfortunately, this has not addressed the actual harassment that users are experiencing.
Twitter has implemented some other changes to weed out the bullies, though how effective those changes have been is debatable. Rather than actively seeking to remove abusive posts and accounts, offensive tweets are simply hidden from users.
Twitter is also rife with spam, which makes wading through all the bots and advertisements to reach the posts you want an absolute chore at times. The sheer quantity of spam filtering through Twitter is so massive that they are simply unable to keep up.
Mastodon Takes the Stage
Mastodon is a newcomer to the social media scene. While Mastodon harbors several similarities to Twitter, it’s a distinct platform that brings something unique to the table. The obvious likenesses come in the form of users posting status updates (called “toots”-- the similarity is not lost on us), pictures, or other content for others to view.
However, there are some differences that set Mastodon apart, such as an exponentially larger character limit (500 versus the 140 of Twitter). Mastodon has also expressed no tolerance for harassment of any kind, with multiple privacy settings and tools negating the concern of hateful influences permeating instances by allowing users to take it upon themselves to oust the trolls.
The greatest foreseeable advantage Mastodon could tout over Twitter is the potential to build a fantastic community base. The flagship iteration of Mastodon already has a little over 40,000 users; which it is capped at for the time being due to the massive influx it has experienced.
Since Mastodon is an open source application, users are able to create self-moderated instances of the platform so others can continue to join the conversations. Within those instances members can talk amongst themselves, but they also have the ability to branch out and connect with anyone on Mastodon.
Will Mastodon Edge Out Twitter?
The human element will play a large role in the success or failure of Mastodon, as it is dependant upon its user base to maintain instances and keep the activity thriving.
Twitter has the benefit of corporate executives, money from advertisers, and an established history, but will it be enough to keep them from dying out? Only time will tell.