Twitter sucks. It’s full of horny brands and eggs and Nazis. The verification system is stupid and arbitrary. Boiling down complex ideas to into 140-character posts turns discussions into nonstop Hot Takes. President Obama’s brother uses Twitter to talk about anime. No wonder this ubiquitous social media service is somehow having trouble finding a buyer.
But just because Twitter sucks doesn’t the mean the idea of micro-blogging is without merit. Mastodon is an open-source Twitter competitor that’s been picking up a lot of steam lately. Mastodon looks and acts very similarly to Twitter, especially the TweetDeck client. But it has several key differences.
You can tweet (or rather, toot, since we’re talking about furry prehistoric elephants instead of birds here) statuses with up to 500-character limits. Mastodon also has superior privacy and moderation tools so you can make sure you only see posts you want to see from people you want to follow. It lets you easily avoid spoilers and upsetting content as well as not get bogged down in harassment.
Mastodon’s major departure from Twitter, though, is its federated, decentralized nature. The main Mastodon site at Mastodon.Social has been so slammed recently that the moderators have cut off new sign-ups. The current limit hovers around 42,000 blazing users. However, anyone with a domain name, server space, and a passion for creating their own community can create their own version (or instance) of Mastodon. You can create an instance for anything from Minecraft tips to French pirate party politics. Think subreddits but hopefully not as terrible. You can even create an instance for you and you alone. After all, Twitter is the best proof yet that Hell is other people.
It’s not a perfect system. Verification is tricky if anyone can sign up in any instance under any name. However, this setup lets moderators create their own specialized instances for folks with similar interests and enforce moderation rules that make sense for their community. Users can interact across instances, but if one instance is particularly troublesome, other instances can cut off access entirely.
Here are just a few of the best, dotcom-free Mastodon instances we’ve stumbled across so far. Things are only going to get better from here. Twitter who?
- AnimalLiberation.Social– an animal rights group.
- Gay.Crime.Team– pretty self explanatory.
- Meow.Social– a Furry community (hopefully without Nazis)
- DancingBanana.Party– yes, that dancing internet banana from all those years ago.
- Good-Dragon.com– another Furry group but it’s such a good name, Brent.
- Rich.GOP– a group where privacy is king.
- Cute.Group– just cuties being cute together.
- Rabbit.Zone– the about section for this one just shows a scrolling, vaporwavey pictures of satellites. Checks out.
- Social.ByteSexual.Net– a social space for a hacker co-op.
- Anticapitalist.Party– if we want to stop capitalism, we all need to team up.
- Pokemastodon.Net– a group for buying, selling, and trading Pokemon cards.
- Memetastic.Space– dank memes, finally.