What is Mastodon?

This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.
Mastodon logo.png
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, audo, 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 Mastodon Ecko Pleroma GNU Social Misskey koyu.space
character limit 280 500 admin decision
feed algorithmic chronological
reach 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

Other limitations:

  • you can't follow hashtags
  • you can't edit your posts (only delete and redraft them)

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.

Mastodon Ecko Cordigon Fedibird Glitch-Soc Hometown Smalltown koyu.space
editable character limit No Yes with config file No with config file No with config file with config file
editable poll options No Yes No No with config file No No with config file
local posts No Yes No No No Yes No Yes
changeable favicon via terminal Yes via terminal via terminal via terminal via terminal via terminal via terminal
ex-/importable blocklist No Yes No No No No No Yes
Installable via YunoHost not currently Yes No No Yes No No No

Ecko

Main artilce: 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

How do I get an account?
Mastodon features explained
Getting started with your Fediverse account
Mobile apps
Best practices
Mastodon - the advanced page on Mastodon

External Links

Main article: Mastodon weblinks

Guides

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