Mastodon is a social network that has been around since 2016, but has recently seen a surge in membership and notoriety due to the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk. Since that event occurred, changes in policies and politics have spurred a Twitter Exodus
by tens of thousands to other platforms. Mastodon has been the largest beneficiary of that exodus. Those fleeing the bird
site seem to be of a certain ilk. Journalists, artists, scientists and many jazz lovers make up a large segment of new users coming to Mastodon.
For jazz enthusiasts, Mastodon has much to offer. Users share information, stories, articles and reviews among the passionate community that has formed around this common interest. They often post photos of vinyl records currently playing on their turntables. Photos of live jazz events are covered. Unlike what has been the trend on the birdy site, discussion threads are always civil and thoughtful no matter what the topic.
To understand Mastodon, it is important to know the differences between this and other social media that makes this network unique. It is an open source
platform being developed by volunteers. It is non-commercial, nonprofit and not designed to gather user information to sell to other enterprises. There are no ads or sponsored posts filling your timelines. There are no algorithms that determine whose posts you will see and in what order and frequency. Your home feed consists simply of people and interests (hashtags) you follow.
What really makes Mastodon unique is that it is built on a "Federated" network
. There is not one Mastodon service run by a single company like Twitter or Meta. Mastodon is a network of thousands of servers called "Instances." Each Instance is operated independently, with its own policies and moderation. Many are built for special interests (e.g. art, journalism, politics), some are for the general community. All of these servers communicate with each other and exchange new posts (called toots) as requested from other servers.
The most daunting part of onboarding to Mastodon is choosing your Instance. Upon joining Mastodon, you can choose your Instance based on your interests or policies of the service operator. If the one you choose doesn't work out for you, it is easy to migrate your account to another server, and your followers will be redirected to your account on the new Instance. Once you have chosen your Instance, the rest is simple. Create a username, display name and password, fill in a basic profile and you are in! Type in a hashtag into the search field, let's say, #jazz. You will find dozens of posts. Follow the users that have something interesting to say. You can follow that hashtag too! Join the conversations, post your own toots and soon others will follow you. Your home feed will soon be filled with relevant information and conversations to interact with.
For us jazz enthusiasts there is one Instance that is built for lovers of this artform. Right now, it is small and growing. It is called Jazztodon.com. Befitting a Jazz Mastodon instance, there is but one server rule listed: "Be cool"
. All About Jazz is proud to be part of this virtual jazz community and you can find us at jazztodon.com/@aaj
. There are a couple of jazz organizations and a handful of passionate jazz fans posting regularly to this Instance. Of course, Jazztodon also draws in Toots from all the thousands of instances posting jazz-related information throughout the "Fediverse" (to use the Mastodon lingo).
So, if you are interested in getting in on this latest social media trend, and didn't know where to begin, join the fun and conversation by clicking here
to sign up with Jazztodon. All About Jazz is looking forward to meeting you there.
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