With the creation of Switter and its increasing popularity, let's learn more about the network that hosts it, Mastodon.
Social Federated Network
Early October 2016, Mastodon launched. Mastodon is similar to Twitter with microblogging; however, Mastodon is decentralized.
decentralization = no central force
There's no central or single entity that runs Mastodon, The users federate this social network by creating & moderating their own servers within Mastodon. The servers are called 'instances'.
These instances range from musicians, developers, artists, adult entertainers, etc. Users from one instance can connect with users of another instance regardless of their different servers.
Fediverse allows users from an instance to follow & connect with users who are on another instance. They interact with each other seamlessly such as email.
The 'Federated Timeline' broadens a user's audience and a chance to connect with more users from other instances within Mastodon. This timeline shows toots from users on your instance or a 'known' user on your instance which means someone from your instance follows this user.
Again, there's no one set of rules or just one community. Users are presented with instances that each have their own set of rules created by the users themselves.
Mastodon prides itself on having numerous instances that all have different interests, ideas, languages, etc.
An instance is a server that runs independently within the Mastodon network. An example of an instance is Switter, of course. Chaos, Kinky Elephant, Pawoo are more examples of instances.
No Central Authority
Each instance governs themselves. The instance's creator along with their moderators are the ones who occupy their instance with their own rules and they can terminate violators who abuse their instance in any way.
The founder of Mastodon believed that small communities would be better at moderating toxic behavior within an instance than one group moderating one huge community. Journalists have noted Mastodon's community-based moderation as a way to stop online harassment since Twitter, Mastodon's rival, is notorious for harassment by users.
Instances.social lets users find more instances based on similar interests by filling out a short questionnaire.
Mastodon supports direct, private messages between users.
Users can also adjust the privacy of their toots. Toots range from: user can toot it for themselves only, users can toot to only their followers, users can toot across their local instance, or users can toot across all the instances.
One reason why using hashtags is important for toots was to combat harassment.
When Mastodon first launched, the only way users could search for users with similar interests was through hashtags. Mastodon did this to combat harassment, trolls, etc. Words with no hashtags weren't visible in the site search.
However, I think the search picks up words regardless now since I can easily search my keywords and I'll get results from users who have tooted the word, but they didn't hashtag it.
Let me break down the terminology of some of Mastodon's key features.
- Toot - similar to 'Tweet' in Twitter
- Boost - similar to 'Retweet' in Twitter
- Favorite - similar to 'Like' in Twitter
- Local Timeline - Users in your instance
- Federated Timeline - Users in your instance & 'known' users in your instance. Broadens your reach, and you'll be able to communication & connect with other users within the Mastodon network
That wasn't so bad, was it? Hah.