Mastodon's Active Users Slump as Creator Admits Its Difficult to Grasp

19 April 2023
by Annie-Mai Hodge
2 mins
Mastodons Active Users Slump as Creator Admits Its Difficult to Grasp

While jumping ship from Twitter and using an open-source, self-hosted social networking service seemed like the best choice after Elon Musk’s buyout, not many have been able to stick with it.

Data shows that Mastodon now has 1.2m monthly active users (MAUs).

That figure is down from the 2.6m MAUs recorded in the wake of Musk’s Twitter takeover in October last year.

Mastodon was seen as a life raft for social media addicts who wanted Twitter’s feature set – or at least something resembling it – but without the chaotic decision-making.

One issue is that Mastodon was never positioned as a carbon copy.

The platform’s German creator and programmer Eugen Rochko says it is “more difficult to grasp” but that the focus is on “making something better”.

New users are often perplexed by Mastodon’s server choices and new terms such as “toots” and the “fediverse”.

“I think a lot of people came and found it a little hard. Using Mastodon can feel like eating your vegetables,” City University of New York professor, Jeff Jarvis, says.

Social media users knew it was good for them but the lack of mainstream accessibility has hampered its growth.

Musk himself was initially threatened by Twitter users leaving en masse, after banning links to Mastodon, which is a position he U-turned on soon after.

The hype has since died down but the platform is still attracting a loyal and engaged following.

Many actually prefer that it hasn’t become the next big thing.

Smaller communities and fewer eyeballs on trending content have helped Mastodon to nurture meaningful conversations around topics.

Tech attorney Tiffany Li says there are also “fewer trolls and generally unpleasant people”.

Mastodon is now in a similar position to BeReal, which was also a breakout success last year before finding the going a little more difficult in 2023.

One major upside is that the decentralised infrastructure makes a multibillion-dollar takeover unlikely.

For now, Mastodon is content to try and forge its own path in today’s ultra-competitive social media landscape, which is an admirable objective.


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