What is Mastodon and how can your business use it?

authorCaryn Oram dateFebruary 27, 2023

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The rise of Web3 and the metaverse has swept through the digital arena, reaching all avenues. Increasingly, online users are seeking to move away from large, corporation-owned platforms to spaces that allow more freedom, ownership, and privacy. In line with this, new solutions and platforms are constantly emerging to resolve the issue. Mastodon is one such platform. Originally launched in 2016, the platform has experienced a resurgence in recent months thanks to its "user-focus" features when it comes to security and privacy.

What is it?

Mastodon is a free, open-source platform that allows for self-hosting social media services. It operates across a multitude of user-hosted servers, called "instances," all of which are run independently by different individuals or organisations. User information is not stored on a single server owned by one centralised organisation, and a user can easily choose to erase their data at their discretion. Mastodon users can create accounts on different instances (which are hosted by different servers), interact with other users both on that instance and others, and even create their own instances. Mastodon has grown to be an attractive alternative to social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook because of its approach to privacy and user control. The platform includes several features, such as customisable content warnings, block and mute functions, and the option to export or delete your data at any time. Another draw card for Mastodon is its chronological timeline feed. The platform does not utilise any algorithmic systems for pushing content.

What are the benefits of using it?

How can this format be of benefit to the user who is already on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook? Over time, there have been sticking points about the hindrance to information/expression flows within these centralised platforms, as well as the fact that what is done with your data is out of your control once you "part with" your content by uploading it to your feed. So what is Mastodon offering in lieu of solutions?

1. Better privacy

Mastodon does not operate from one central server, as mentioned. What's more, users can choose a server that they trust, or even create their own server, giving them complete control.

2. More customisation

Due to the open-source format, developers and users are able to customise their Mastodon platforms and instances, allowing for a completely tailored user experience.

3. Community and like-minded users

Because Mastodon is made up of multiple instances, those who develop an instance can build it around a specific topic or interest. Users can join instances where they will be able to engage with other users who share common interests, creating online communities and connections.

4. No algorithms, no ads

Mastodon does not offer third parties the opportunity to advertise on the platforms.  In structuring the servers and instances as they have, the content that populates a Mastodon environment is published there at the discretion of the server developer. Unless that developer allows advertising, users will not find ads popping up in their Mastodon feed. What's more, the platform makes use of a timeline-ordered feed, showing users content organically as it has been posted. This means that no accounts are pushed based on algorithms, giving users access to all content posted on the instances they join.

Mastodon provides users with more control, privacy, and customisation than other social media platforms have done. Ultimately, it is an attractive alternative for more secure and personalised online engagement.

How do you get started?

Getting yourself set up with a Mastodon account comes down to identifying and joining instances that suit your requirements/interests. With so many available, you are almost guaranteed to find something that works for you. Once you find an instance that matches your interests, create an account on it, and then it's time to explore! You will find people to follow, as well as public channels and clubs that you can join. 

How can you utilise it for business, and why?

As we know, social media is a crucial part of digital marketing strategy. Mastodon is another platform that businesses must consider in order to remain visible and relevant to users. Companies who pay attention to the changing desires of consumers and the trends that emerge from them are able to ensure that they do this. Online decentralisation has become an important factor to many online users who wish to see content that has not been interfered with and recognise the importance of data security. Platforms that offer this, like Mastodon, are seeing a rise in traffic. Your business must utilise this migration in order to reach target audiences and attract new customers. Let's take a look at more specific ways Mastodon can be utilised in your digital marketing strategy.

  • You can appeal directly to your target audience by reaching them on topic-specific instances. 
  • You don't need to reach your audience by using ads, or worry that your competitors will, and you don't need to try and beat the algorithm.
  • You can create an instance yourself, creating a direct communication/marketing platform for your customers to engage you on.
  • Your customers will be attracted by the data and decentralisation functions, something that is important to them. 
  • The platform utilises "old" functions that we are used to, including hashtags, mentions, and a retweet-style option called a "boost." The familiarity is helpful when it comes to encouraging migration onto Mastodon for new users.

Essentially, Mastodon offers all the perks of social media marketing on other platforms, but with the added bonus of more control and creative freedom. For businesses that want to expand their reach, having another platform to utilise is a prime opportunity.

NEXA believes in the power of Web3 and the possibilities that it offers in helping businesses grow. Our technical knowledge and range of services across Web3 and the metaverse place us in the perfect position to help your business transition onto Web3 platforms like Mastodon, and get the best out of them. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.