The actions of large companies can have far-reaching impacts. At 961.Digital, we observed a sudden increase in interest for Mastodon. Mastodon is a well-known decentralized social media app that can be run on virtual private servers and has many of the same functionality as Twitter. This spike in interest coincides with Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and his announcement of significant changes, causing some users to seek out alternative options.
The trend rose sharply but then dropped off. It’s possible that Twitter users who were initially shaken by the purchase eventually returned to the platform, or that those searching for alternatives found Mastodon, set it up, and were satisfied. The data doesn’t provide an explanation.
However, exploring alternatives is an excellent way to learn more about open-source software. Below, we will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of Mastodon compared to other open-source options.
Here are 5 alternative options to Twitter that you may want to consider for your website:
This list is not comprehensive, but it’s a good starting point for finding the alternative that best suits your needs.
Mastodon is an open-source, federated micro-blogging platform that has gained popularity as an alternative to Twitter. Instead of “tweets,” users can post “toots.”
Federated apps utilize a variety of protocols and APIs to connect servers and users across a decentralized network. Mastodon’s decentralized nature sets it apart from Twitter and other centralized social apps. These “walled gardens” are controlled by a central authority, while decentralized networks have no central control.
This means that Mastodon users have more freedom, but they may also come into contact with users who would be banned from Twitter. However, this should not discourage you from trying federated services. With Mastodon, you can host your own server or join an existing instance. By hosting your own server, you have complete control to enforce your own standards and create a productive environment for your followers.
Like Mastodon, Pleroma is an open-source, federated micro-blogging app that offers similar Twitter-style networking features such as activity streams, hashtags, and private messages. However, Pleroma also includes a built-in live chat feature, which is not available on Twitter.
In my experience, I found Pleroma to be relatively easy to install and manage. Additionally, it is considered to be more lightweight and efficient than Mastodon, requiring fewer server resources. This means that it can run well even on a low-cost VPS cloud server. Unlike Mastodon, which requires Ruby on Rails, NodeJS, and a variety of other software, Pleroma only requires Elixir and a PostgreSQL database.
BuddyPress, a plugin for WordPress, is a simple and easy-to-install social network option. It offers similar social features as other apps, such as friend requests, private messaging, and group creation. However, it is not federated, meaning user accounts are limited to the specific WordPress site. However, by using a WordPress multisite network, one can create multiple interconnected sites, providing a similar experience to a federated service. Overall, BuddyPress is a user-friendly and straightforward option for starting a social network and with easily accessible WordPress hosting plans, server configuration is not a concern.
Pixelfed is a federated app that functions similarly to Instagram. Users can upload high-quality photos and videos, and manage the site on their own private server. It’s not a direct alternative to Twitter, but it is a good option for those who prioritize photo and video sharing over text. Pixelfed, like other decentralized social apps, prioritizes privacy and security. However, the responsibility for maintaining the server’s security and upkeep lies with the user.
These are just a few examples of open-source social networking apps. Exploring alternatives is a great way to experience open-source projects. If you have any questions about these tools, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to our customer support team for assistance.
Photo by Adem AY