What is Mastodon?

From Join the Fediverse

Mastodon logo
Website joinmastodon.org
Official instance mastodon.social
Official instance 2 mastodon.online
List of instances fediverse.observer
Mastodon account @mastodon

Mastodon is a microblogging platform and one of the Fediverse's replacements for Twitter.

What does Mastodon feel like?

Mastodon is a lot like Twitter.
You can write short messages, add pictures, videos, audio, image/video/audio descriptions, content warnings and polls.
You can @ other people on the Fediverse in your posts and send private messages.
You can use hashtags and find posts based on hashtags.

What are some advantages over Twitter?

With Mastodon you can post longer posts - usually 500 characters, though some instances have even larger character limits.
There is no algorithm deciding what you get to see and what not, but the feed is chronological and based on who you follow and what the people you follow boost.
On Twitter & Co the algorithm doesn't necessarily show you what you want to see, but amplifies hate and controversy, to keep you watching ads as long as possible.
If you have a lot of followers on Twitter expect to have a narrower reach on Mastodon, but the people who follow you are usually more happy to interact with you in a meaningful way.

Comparison of microblogging services
Twitter Threads Mastodon Ecko Pleroma Akkoma GNU Social GoToSocial Firefish Misskey
character limit 280 500 500 admin decision 3000
feed algorithmic algorithmic chronological
reach far far familiar

What are some limitations?

With all the advantages, like Twitter, Mastodon still has some limitations.

Some things that are fixed and the admins can't change for their instances:

  • character limit (500)
  • poll options (4)
  • profile fields (4)
  • max number of pinned posts (5)
  • users must provide an email address to register

What are Mastodon forks and why use them?

A fork is a derivative software. So Mastodon forks are software based on Mastodon.
They look and feel mostly like Mastodon, but some have some extra features that e.g. address some of the limitations mentioned above.

Comparison of Mastodon forks
Mastodon Ecko Fedibird Glitch-Soc Hometown Smalltown koyu.space
editable character limit ✖️ ✔️ ✖️ with config file with config file with config file with config file
editable poll options ✖️ ✔️ ✖️ with config file ✖️ ✖️ with config file
local posts ✖️ ✔️ ✖️ ✔️ ✔️ ✖️ ✔️
changeable favicon via terminal ✔️ via terminal via terminal via terminal via terminal via terminal
ex-/importable blocklist ✖️ ✔️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✔️
Installable via YunoHost ✔️ ✔️ ✖️ ✔️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Markdown formatting ✖️ ✔️ ✔️ reading only


Main article: What is Ecko?

Ecko is a Mastodon fork that has a lot of cool features.
Admins can change the limits on post characters, poll options & profile fields.
So on an Ecko instance you might e.g. have a 5000 character limit for posts and can create polls with 10 options.

Furthermore local posts are possible. Meaning posts only other users of the same instance can see. This might strengthen the community spirit.

Further Reading

External Links

Main article: Mastodon weblinks


What is Mastodon (video)
Getting started with Mastodon
Guide to Mastodon
Mastodon: Friendly Microblogging

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What is Mastodon?

Mastodon features explained
How to moderate a Mastodon instance
Scheduling and analytic tools for Mastodon

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