A mastodon (mastós ‘breast’ + odoús ‘tooth’) is any proboscidean belonging to the extinct genus Mammut (family Mammutidae) that inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 to 11,000 years ago.
Mastodon is also a social media platform (kind of).
If you are a user of social media, you’ll be well aware of the shockwaves that Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is having. His libertarianism, free speech absolutism, and – let’s be honest – general dickishness, doesn’t sit well with many Twitter users, and many are preparing alternative profiles and presences elsewhere. One of those places, is Mastodon.
Strictly speaking, Mastodon isn’t a social network platform, it’s an open-source protocol, and one of the uses of that is to create very ‘twitterish’ server instances. It sounds complicated, and it certainly isn’t as straightforward to get your head around as Twitter, but once you’ve set up an account, the experience isn’t dissimilar to early Twitter. One of the very confusing elements for new users, is that Mastodon is decentralised, and hosted across many different servers, all with slightly different rules, topics etc. But, the key thing to know when signing up is that regardless of which server you choose – ‘art’, ‘social’, ‘gamedev’ – you can follow people on any other server, and their content will show up in your feed just like on Twitter.
So, I’m there, and many other creators, artists, journalists, actors… are also creating accounts. It’s well worth a look. As there’s been a pretty big surge in interest lately, it can get a little slow at times, but stick with it.