Twitter vs Mastodon

TL:DR | A simple platform for short burst ideas, and notable comments. A fluttering bird or a webbed elephant? Which one do you choose?


4 min read
Twitter vs Mastodon

As a content creator I use most platforms on a relatively regular basis, and I find that things that I don't want every to see me say I post to Twitter. Not that I don't have a filter, but basically I am more professional on LinkedIn, more fun on Tiktok, and more logical on my blog. In any case I can funnel any sort of mindset onto Twitter.

If I have a random thought I can share it there, if I have something I want to test out, or even if I want to network with people sometimes they are ONLY on Twitter.

Mastodon came about as a blockchain-decentralized based alternative to the massive Twitter. It seems that any platform starts off a bit too opinionated, and Mastodon was no different. Full of either strongly one side political outliers, or super early bird nerds.

Now that the platform has grown, there is a more generic population as well. As it continues to grow into the bell curve, then we will see that happen more.


Centralized Vs Decentralized

The main problem with web2 platforms like Twitter or YouTube, is that they are controlled by one company. Therefore also controlled essentially one person, and we are seeing that cause a problem right now with how Elon Musk is handling his new purchase.

I have nothing against Musk, or even his current actions. I honestly think it will push most people towards decentralized platforms. Which in the grand scheme of things I think will help accelerate human progress.

Decentralized platforms inherently are more spread out in the power dynamic, and that will allow for more collective ideas. Also leading to more transcontextual thinking and crossdisciplinary thinking across more individuals.


Look and Feel

Twitter is simple and minimalistic, although with the advent of new features like Spaces; The platform can sometimes be overwhelming. For example I am a content creator, and I love to make use of every new feature I can get my hands on. I fought for the right to beta test spaces, but I can still barely make heads or tails out of the communities feature.

Conversely, we have the Mastodon platform, which is quite literally designed after a more old school Twitter approach. For reference here are my two profiles, so that you can compare each.

Dustin Miller | PolyInnovator (@polyinnovator@mstdn.social)
1.21K Posts, 1 Following, 8 Followers · 🧠PolyInnovator, a solutions architect for people and multidisciplinarian. Omnichannel content creator. Proto #Polymath, 🎥YouTuber, 🎙️Host of #ThePolymathPolyCast🎥#OmniContent Creator, Fitness Instructor, Karaoke,🧠Notion Guru, #TheMultidisciplinarySpec…

https://twitter.com/polyinnovator

As you can see they follow a center timeline, as is with most modern platforms. Although where twitter tries to take you away to somewhere else, conversely Mastodon still follows that old school focus on whats on the page mindset.


Ease of Use

The first thing that comes to mind to talk about here is logging in. Since the blockchain based platforms have a different level of security, then it can be hard to keep track of your codes.

You get a private key, and public key, and both are irreplaceable. Logging in is similar to regular sites, but sometimes you do need to enter your unique keys. If you lost them, then you lost that account. There is no forgot key steps you can take, there is however forgot password. Of which I have forgotten my Mstdn one many a times, but I eventually modernized it to a new secure one that I won't forget.

Point is that it did give me trouble logging in, but I think that is how it is going be across the board. Not any points taken off of Mstdn for that.

Twitter does have a lot of other use cases too, such as with Revue or Spaces. Not to mention many sites allow you to connect your Twitter to log in or directly share tweets from their apps.

I use a crossposter to share my tweets to Mstdn's Toots, and I go on there periodically to check on things.


Popularity

We are seeing a mass exodus now from Twitter, and a majority of those leaving are going to Mastodon. There aren't very many alternatives either. I wouldn't count Parlor; Substack says they are an alternative, but it is still a bit closed off to just smaller groups. Additionally, there is the potential of the ex-CEO's BlueSky, but it is too early to tell by the time of this writing.

As I said before there may be an exodus of the Twitter platform considering the changes to the monetization model, and given that Mstdn doesn't share those concerns. Then it may grow a lot in popularity.

Eventually IMO I think that all current platforms are going to be replaced by decentralized versions of them. I think that Twitter at the moment is still critical to be on, but so is Mstdn.


In the end I can't tell you which one to use, but I hope that this post can give you a bit more insight. As well as, hopefully you'll be on both. That to me seems like the best path.

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