That’s it, Elon Musk officially owns Twitter. On October 28, the businessman officially got his hands on the microblogging site after months of dithering, controversy and lawsuits. The change did not go smoothly, as Musk’s policy in terms of content moderation and the evolution of the platform was controversial.
If you don’t want to stay on Twitter following the takeover of Tesla’s CEO site, there’s an alternative: Mastodon. Online since 2016, this service positions itself as a quasi-clone of Twitter, but emphasizes the openness of the code and the decentralization of data. In one day of October 29, the site recorded more than 70,000 new accounts created, an influx undoubtedly linked to the acquisition of Twitter.
If you want to start an adventure, follow the guide.
Before registering, one simple thing needs to be clarified: Mastodon is not Twitter. If the main operation of the service is very similar to that of the blue bird (with the publication of short messages and the possibility of “following” different accounts), the technical choices made by Mastodon are quite different from what its competitor did. .
As we said above, Mastodon is a decentralized service, this means that it is not hosted on the servers of a single company. Everyone can therefore create their own Mastodon server (called an “instance”) and apply their own rules to it. Different instances can communicate with each other, but each has its own specifications in terms of moderation, technical limitations, etc. In other words, Mastodon is similar to how a mailbox works: you can create an account with any service provider and communicate with anyone else (use a Gmail address to send messages to an Outlook address for example ). No need to mount a server in the middle of your living room, there are public bodies that accept new subscribers (we’ll get back to this).
Mastodon is less popular than Twitter (so far). This means you won’t actually be able to find all your favorite accounts once you register. The community is smaller and the number of messages published is less important. Let’s be honest, we’re far from the non-stop flow of Twitter, which can annoy some or amuse others. However, new people are signing up every day.
Step 1: select your instance
To get off to a good start with Mastodon, you need to choose your favorite instance. The mastodon.social instance (the historic Mastodon server) is a good start if you don’t want to ask yourself too many questions. Unfortunately, registrations on this server have been temporarily paused due to the influx of new accounts. Never mind, there were many other bodies, including many French ones. The full list is available on the official website.
Once you have selected your instance, remember this, because with this precise URL you can reconnect. In the same way that it is not possible to access a Yahoo mailbox with Gmail credentials, it is not possible to access your Mastodon account from an instance other than the one selected when creating the account.
Step 2: create your account
Once you’ve decided which instance suits you best (randomly in April, an association for the promotion and defense of free software), fill in some personal details that you’ll be asked for, then click on Register. Most of the time you will be sent a confirmation email to verify that you are not a bot. Click it and that’s it, you’re on Mastodon.
Keep your username (consisting of your user name and the instance address) handy as it will allow you to identify yourself in the jungle of different Mastodon instances.
Step 3: Build your network
Once you’ve successfully registered with Mastodon, all you have to do is follow the accounts you want. To do this, you can use the search tool (ideally specifying the full address of the account you are looking for), see the suggested accounts in Explore or check on Twitter to see if any of the accounts you follow have switched to Mastodon. However, be careful, as on Twitter, there are many “fake” accounts that impersonate media or public figures. Make sure the page you follow is “official”.
Then, all you have to do is write your first messages and congratulate yourself on being registered in a decentralized social network, open source and respectful of personal data!