Why you should leave Twitter to go to Mastodon

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a micro blogging social network created in October 2016 by German Eugen Rochko. It allows you to share “toots” messages, photos and videos, just like Twitter. Like Twitter, it works on a computer in a web browser, or on a smartphone through applications.

Mastodon currently has over 4.5 million users worldwide (of which over 1.5 million have been active in the past month). More than 444 million toots have been published. If Mastodon still remains small today compared to the American giant (Twitter has 12 million users in France alone), however, it has many advantages that we show you here.

First of all, Mastodon is free, open-source software licensed under the AGPLv3. This means that not only is the application free, but also its source code is readable, usable and modifiable by anyone. Nothing is hidden there. Everything is transparent. In short, Mastodon is a common good.

  • A decentralized organization

Moreover, unlike Twitter where all users go through the same central infrastructure (and therefore through potentially arbitrary central power), Mastodon relies on a decentralized organization.

Today, there are more than 5,700 different instances of Mastodon accessible worldwide, including about 330 located in France. Each server has its own moderation policy: standard language, topics covered, rules of ethics, maximum number of characters per message, personalized emojis, etc.

But these instances of Mastodon are not mutually exclusive. They don’t work in silos. All servers can communicate with each other as a federated network (users of one server can communicate with users of another server). We should think of Mastodon as a gigantic graph woven on a planetary scale.

In summary, although the number of users is still modest, Mastodon is a real alternative to Twitter. If we conquer it together, Mastodon can become a free and decentralized global agora, a common good available to humanity.

This fight for the collective victory of tools in the digital space is decisive. And if the communist struggle also cuts through our collective ability to free ourselves from the tools imposed by capitalism?

Addendum

If you search for me on Mastodon, you’ll find me on piaille.fr to talk about politics and on mapstodon.space to discuss geographic information sciences. Hope to see you there soon.

codes and sources

Nicholas Lambert is a CNRS research engineer in geographic information science at RIATE: https://riate.cnrs.fr. He is a communist activist and member of the Migreurop network. He also runs a blog, “neocartographic notebook”, and is very active on social networks under the pseudonym “cartographer encarté” @nico_lambert.

Each month, he gives us one or more cards with commentary to help us understand and understand the information, social issue or debate in a different way. Nicolas Lambert participated in the production of several works such as the Atlas of Europe in the world (2008), the Atlas of European migrants (2009, 2012, 2017), Manual of Cartography (2016, published in English in 2020) and anger maps (2019). He teaches cartography at the University of Paris.

Find here all the interactive maps he has created Humanity.

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