Playing with Mastodon, the Open Source, Federated Social Network

I recently started playing with Mastodon, an open source, Twitter-like social network.

In the past, I’ve looked at StatusNet (now known as GNU Social), but at the time it did not seem very intuitive, and had a number of problems which I cannot remember anymore.

So far I have been using Mastodon for almost a month, and while the community is very small, I’m finding myself using it more than I do Twitter (or any other social media platform for that matter).

Mastodon is a federated social network, meaning unlike Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, anyone can run their own instance and be able to interact with users on other instances.

Mastodon is not the only federated social network, there are a number of others which collectively make up the “Fediverse”.

Mastodon’s web interface has a multi-column layout very similar to TweetDeck, and is easy enough for most people to quickly get used to. There are also a number of very well made Android and iOS apps, for example, Tusky.

As Mastodon uses the ActivityPub protocol, it can also talk to a number of other social networks which also use ActivityPub such as PixelFed, and PeerTube.

PixelFed is an image sharing platform, which will remind you of Instagram, and also has a Tumblr like interface coming up. I haven’t really used PixelFed much as it is currently undergoing heavy work and has a lot of missing features.

PeerTube is a decentralised video hosting network. Again, I haven’t used PeerTube much as I didn’t really find any interesting content on it. That said I will be keeping an eye on both projects to see how they progress.

There is also a WordPress plugin for ActivityPubwhich allows users to follow your WordPress site using Mastodon, or whichever ActivityPub based based platform they like.

Collectively, these federated social networks make up the Fediverse and the number of running instances and users is growing quite quickly: https://the-federation.info/.

I am running my own Mastodon instance on [email protected], which is free for anyone to register on, or if you are already on Mastodon please follow me! @[email protected]

If you are running you own Mastodon instance, please feel free to also subscribe to my ActivityPub relay: https://relay.intahnet.co.uk/