What Is Mastodon Social? Everything You Need to Know in 2023

Mastodon is open-source software that has been around since March 2016 but really exploded onto the scene when Elon Musk purchased Twitter. In this article, you will learn more about Mastodon software, and how it is helpful for marketers.

In this article:

  1. What Is Mastodon?
  2. How Does It Work?
  3. Things You Can Do on Mastodon
  4. Mastodon for Businesses
    1. Conduct Market Research
    2. Affiliate Marketing
    3. Create a Community
    4. Become an Expert in a Server
  5. How To Join Mastodon?
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Mastodon: Will It Dethrone Twitter?
  8. Related Reads

What Is Mastodon?

Mastodon Home page - what is Mastodon

Mastodon is a decentralized network that aims to provide the same experience you would get on a Twitter account. It was first released in March 2016, but since the purchase of Twitter and some controversial moves made by Elon Musk, people started to look for the next best app. This is where the Mastodon social network comes in.

Mastodon has independent servers that revolve around several themes, topics, and interests. People can follow whichever one that interests them the most. They can follow other Mastodon users and people, engage in conversations and share their ideas, similar to how one would use Twitter.

Another reason why it became so popular is that everyone started to talk about it online and eventually they started to get curious about it.

How Does It Work?

The biggest difference that you will see between Mastodon and Twitter is decentralization. While Twitter and other social media platforms are centralized, meaning they are owned and operated by a single corporation. That corporation is responsible for handling the content, deciding what algorithm to use, what it will include, and other tasks that a social network requires.


On the flip side, you have Mastodon, a company with a decentralized operation. However, it is true that a company called Mastodon gGmbh, a non-profit company exists, and there are people who work there. The platform is not centralized within that company. Instead, the Mastodon server has several servers in place, instead of a unified one.

Mastodon has individual servers for different topics, industries, and interests. You can join any server that you think is good and follow them, engage with different people, share your interests, and learn something new. Once you have joined a server, you can talk and chat with anyone on Mastodon, even if they are not part of your server.

Things You Can Do On Mastodon

Since it shares a lot of the features of Twitter, the experience is pretty much the same. For example, you can post about anything you want, share interesting posts with other people, comment on an ongoing conversation between a group of people, and post pictures. There is also the feed page where you can like, share, or repost any server that you follow. Along with this, there is also the explore tab, where you can find content from other servers, follow them if you want, and find new people.

There are differences that separate it from Twitter. One among them is that you cannot start a thread by yourself. You can however reply to yourself. Also, remember that to host an account, you need to pick a server.

Big servers are general in terms of content; they usually have no specific topic, which is similar to what you will find on Twitter. However, there are other interesting topics under technology and Bitcoin. These are among the most popular servers available on Mastodon. Similar to Twitter, you need to join a specific Mastodon server. The point here is that you need to find Mastodon servers that are niche based. Other servers usually are not specific.

Mastodon for Businesses

Mastodon for Businesses

Using Mastodon can seem a bit counterproductive because the platform comes under a non-profit organization. They don’t pay anyone for ads or push one account in front of the other users. Businesses don’t receive incentives for displaying ads on a Mastodon account. Furthermore, the social network has stated that it will never use ads.

So, what can a business do to take advantage of the platform? Fortunately, there are ways a business can make the most out of it.

1. Conduct Market Research

When it comes to research, Mastodon Social can be a pretty good alternative to Twitter. The advantage here is that Mastodon servers are basically a community of people with the same interest in a specific topic, niche, or industry. So, you have a collective group of people that involves experts in an industry.

You can find and join a server that is based on your industry, and see what the general audience feels about. With this, you can get an understanding of what they like and what they don’t.

Twitter users can’t do the same because over there you can follow hashtags about a topic but still get posts that are not related and it all gets messy. With Mastodon, everything is nearly arranged for your convenience.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Mastodon is also a good place to find influencers, find people for sponsorships, and run campaigns. It might not be as effective as Twitter, but it is still worth trying. The number of followers is also significantly lower in Mastodon. For example, Twitter accounts usually have a high number of followers, since it is more popular and everyone uses the platform. The same cannot be said for Mastodon because, when it comes to popularity and the number of active users, it falls short.

It may not be as effective as Twitter, but it is worth a shot.

3. Create a Community

Since the number of users is low, but increasing year after year, you can take advantage of this to create your own community. Be the first one to create a community based on an industry or topic that no one else has done before.

If you have your own mastodon server, you can steer the conversation and gain insight from what people talk about. You can use this information by adding it to your marketing strategy. For example, you can ask people if they prefer a variety of colors on their backpacks or not. You can then spark a conversation between people, see how many would prefer a backpack with a splash of color, and how many prefer neutral colors, like black, white, and grey.

This is just an example of how you can spark a conversation about a topic. You might even learn something new. The point here is that you can always learn something. Yes, there are other sources where you can get information, but it is better to research from multiple sources.

4. Become an Expert in a Server

There are more than 8000 servers on Mastodon. But, you still have the opportunity to create a server and become an expert on it. You can post content and start conversations and gradually become a trusted source.

How To Join Mastodon?

You can join Mastodon by going to their website joinmastodon.org. You also have an app, because pretty much everyone uses the platform on a smartphone.

Mastodon - SignUp page
  1. Create an account. If you scroll down you will see a list of servers, each dedicated to an industry or topic. Choose which ones you want to join.
  2. Click on Create an Account, once again, to pick a server.
  3. Click on Continue after you have read the ground rules. This contains the rules you need to adhere to when using the platform.
  4. After accepting the rules, signup.
  5. Once you have signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. Click on the link inside the mail to activate your account and you’re all set up.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Mastodon free to use?

Mastodon Social is an open-source platform and is free for all. It has no ads, respects privacy, and allows people to govern their own communities.

2. Is Mastodon safe to use?

Just like any other app, there are security concerns, but none that make it unsafe to use. Also, since it is open source, it is developed and updated by a tightly-knit group of individuals.

3. Is Mastodon Social better than Twitter?

Mastodon is better than Twitter when it comes to privacy. Its privacy features are much better as it allows users to hide their posts from the public, or make them visible only to their followers or select users who have been mentioned by them.

But, the overall number of users is still on Twitter. So, if you are someone whose main concern is privacy, then yes, Mastodon is a better option.

Mastodon: Will It Dethrone Twitter?

As of January 2023, the number of active Mastodon users has declined by 30% from 2.5 million users to 1.8 million users. What’s more, the numbers only seemed to be dropping. It’s difficult to know exactly what will happen to the social media platform. Maybe, they will come back again or they may dip even further and stay low for a while longer. But, for now, Twitter is still on top.

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