Twitter is in turmoil and new CEO Elona Musk is expected to charge $ 8 / £ 8 / $ 9 for blue ticks, causing an exodus of users looking for the best alternatives to Twitter.
Mastodon, for example, has seen an increase in new users, with many disgruntled Twitterati finding it to be the best fit in terms of form and function. But while there are similarities, there are also differences – as I found out after spending the last week on it.
If you haven’t tried Mastodon, think of it as Twitter, but divided into different communities, called servers, that you can join. However, you can still follow your friends even if they are on a different server in your timeline. It sounds simple enough, but it’s actually a bit more complicated.
Eugene Rochko (opens in a new tab)the creator and developer of Mastodon, has already expressed surprise that more than a million new users have joined the service in the last week, but if he wants to continue to increase the number of users at this level, he needs to simplify the way of joining the server.
Registration is currently a headache
I was Mastodon user (opens in a new tab) since 2017 but I’ve been using it more in the last month as its simplicity in posting and reading content is certainly welcome and being able to customize the timeline to suit your interests without any trolls or irrelevant ads popping up is certainly refreshing .
However, the only glaring issue I’ve found so far is that when you create a new account, you’re overwhelmed at times with quite confusing choices, such as a screen asking you to join different servers. If you already have an account, you’ll need to find the server you created your account on, and finding new users is especially difficult because it’s hard to list available servers.
It’s a confusing affair – and makes a bad first impression if you’re a casual user who just wants to try out the platform. Some people may feel confused about what “server” actually means in this case.
I was also able to access it online only – Mastodon’s Android and iOS apps (opens in a new tab), released in 2021, both refuse to acknowledge my correct credentials. Honestly, this may be due to the number of new and existing users trying to do the same right now, but it’s still frustrating.
Whatever the case, hopefully Rochko is looking into a solution to this issue as well as considering macOS and Windows apps in the future.
And yet it is very early days for the platform – Facebook, Twitter and even MySpace had problems in the beginning and it was thanks to their users that these problems were solved.
What I’ve seen so far is certainly encouraging, and it’s a foundation that could be the start of something special for people looking to jump out of Twitter.
However, at the moment it is just too complicated at the registration stage. If Rochko doesn’t redesign the rollout process soon, Mastodon could be too much of a leap for the casual user.