Mastodon - Our View
When you first start up on Mastodon it feels very confusing and disjointed – lots of new would-be users won’t “get” the ‘fediverse’ concept or how to choose a server. We can imagine many just give up at the first step with the very odd onboarding process.
We also found searching for people and topics a bit frustrating. Compared to Twitter, Mastodon is a lot less intuitive to use and, crucially, there’s no full-text search on there. You can search for a hashtag and find any posts that use that hashtag, but searching for just agile marketing or sustainability won’t give you any results. It was also hard to find local posts too unless they were specifically hashtagged. When we did find posts we were interested in, there was very little volume – Mastodon’s user base is a fraction of a percentage of the size of Twitter’s (2 million monthly active users v Twitter’s 300 million). Eg #sustainability only had 98 posts and 84 people talking about it, #agile had 22 posts, #elearning only 10 posts, and #socialmediamarketing zero – and none really relevant to us in the UK or for B2B in general.
It’s also hard to find people you know on Mastodon – so you won’t be able to reproduce your Twitter lists, though there are third-party tools that can help you find your Twitter tribe on Mastodon. You can also find people via the Mastodon directory lists of people who post often, although there are not that many UK-based there. Furthermore, it’s hard to know how many (real) famous names are on Mastodon as the site isn’t verifying people. Because everyone is on different servers, it does feel a bit “spread out” compared to Twitter, so it is tricky to get your posts seen by lots of people. For those who like sharing and commenting on existing posts as a quote tweet, you won’t be able to do that on Mastodon. Mastodon prefers you to reply to the person who created the post in the first place rather than users speaking to their own audience.
On the plus side, there are no ads. If you do manage to find your topics/people on there, you might find yourself posting to real people and having real conversations, not tweeting into the ether as it can sometimes feel like on Twitter.
Mastodon was called the “Twitter killer” at one point. We don’t think it will live up to this until it makes it easier to sign up and also creates a better understanding of the ‘fediverse’ concept.