I'm Andrew. I write about the past and future of tech, music, media, culture, art, and activism. This is my blog.

Mastodon: A Decentralized, Federated alternative to Twitter

Posted: April 5, 2017

Mastodon is a free, open-source social network. A decentralized alternative to commercial platforms, it avoids the risks of a single company monopolizing your communication. Pick a server that you trust — whichever you choose, you can interact with everyone else. Anyone can run their own Mastodon instance and participate in the social network seamlessly.


Everyone has been talking about doing this for ages. Now someone has done it. It looks good. It works well. It’s actually federated, which means that you can set up your account on any of the existing servers (or start your own) and interact with all the federated servers.

That means if you have an account on Mastodon.Cloud, and I have an account on Mastodon.Social, we can still follow one another, and interact with one another’s posts. This neatly sidesteps the issues of scale that often plague open source projects of this nature.

I don’t know if it’ll catch on, and stick around, but I’m pretty happy about it so far.

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