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So, you want to share your thoughts on social media, but you’re tired of the way apps like Facebook and Twitter monopolize your posts and feed. It might be time to try an entirely new alternative: Mastodon.
Mastodon bills itself as a free, open-source social media server. Like Twitter, it’s a microblogging platform. Unlike Twitter, it’s non-commercial and not centrally owned, so you don’t have to worry about what will happen to your account or your posts if it gets acquired by another company.
Mastodon has a similar look and feel to Tweetdeck, employing a column-based UI for your timeline, mentions, and its compose field. You can share thoughts or article links via text, and can attach media to your posts.
Unfortunately, like any new social network, it suffers from the chicken-and-egg problem of getting new users on board. To speed things up though, you can add your Twitter followers to Mastodon using this tool here. (And, if you’d prefer, you can also run the app as a closed instance, keeping it private to a specific group of friends or coworkers.)
If you’re looking for a social media experience that’s not backed by Peter Thiel or favored by our president-elect, trying Mastodon could be worth a shot.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.