- A new report published on Friday found that #TwitterMigration shows no signs of slowing down.
- In the midst of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, users are joining other social networks like Mastodon.
- According to Dewey Digital, Mastodon is gaining about 1.5 million new users per month.
A new report helps visualize the changes facing many Twitter users as both new and old social media platforms compete for their attention. The movement is called #TwitterMigration, a hashtag referring to users migrating to other online communities.
Twitter has always been chaotic, but it’s even more chaotic in the midst of Elon Musk’s tumultuous takeover. Since Musk struck a $44 billion deal to buy the bird app, he’s shared conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic rhetoric has spread rapidly, and users will soon have to pay $8 to be verified on the platform.
In response to his antics, users either keep their accounts and open new profiles elsewhere, or switch to other social networks altogether to share their thoughts.
The movement shows no signs of slowing, according to a report released Friday by political consulting firm Dewey Square Group.
“If people go, where do they go?”
Tim Chambers, director and project manager at Dewey Square Group’s media arm, Dewey Digital, told Insider that his team wanted to understand what was driving the migration.
“When I saw the recent Elon Musk acquisition and the chaos on Twitter, it was really important for us to see where people were going, where were they going?” Chambers said.
Chambers’ team used data from Twitter to draw its conclusions based on users adding alternative social media accounts to their Twitter bios, public tweets asking people to follow them on various social media platforms, and app downloads during the same period since October. November 24-22.
The group found that Mastodon — an app described on its website as a “not-for-sale social network” — is growing steadily by about 1.5 million new users a month. Since Musk’s takeover, Mastodon account names have been added to more than 90,000 users’ Twitter bios and have been mentioned by users nearly 200,000 times in the past 30 days, according to Dewey Digital.
“It is the most emerging social platform,” the report said.
Mastodon was founded in 2016 by German software developer Eugen Rochko. In an interview with “Time” magazine, the 29-year-old young man said that he started coding Mastodon after being annoyed by Twitter. “I thought that being able to express myself online to my friends through short messages was important to me, important to the world, and maybe it shouldn’t be in the hands of a single corporation,” Rochko said.
The platform is a decentralized open-source, free social network, meaning there is no individual server, company or person running it. “It had to do with a general distrust of the top-down control that Twitter exercised,” Rochko said.
On November 6, Rochko said that Mastodon’s tweet version – the number of monthly active users of the network reached 1,028,362. “It’s pretty cool,” said the founder. Twitter has 237 million users.
“It shows how easy it is for anyone to switch to another platform”
Vanity Fair special correspondent and podcast host Molly Jong-Fast recently transitioned to the program in November. When asked how it compares to Twitter, he told Insider that it’s “not as light and easy to use, but it’s $44 billion cheaper.”
“It just goes to show how easy it is for anyone to migrate to another platform. I think that’s the lesson of Mastodon,” Jong-Fast said.
Jong-Fast has a million followers on Twitter and said that while he has no plans to quit the program, he will if Musk continues on his path. Within days of Musk’s official inauguration, online trolls flooded Twitter with more than 50,000 tweets containing the “N-word” and other hate speech.
“I’d rather not support bad causes, so as soon as there’s a good alternative, I’ll go there,” Jong-Fast said.
Writer and journalist Adam Davidson has been using Mastodon for four years, but only started using it actively in the last few weeks. She told Insider that Twitter brings out the worst in her, and she wants to explore other social networks. “Twitter makes money without substantial engagement,” he said. “And that’s how I feel [Mastodon] really focused on the conversation.”
—Adam Davidson @firstname.lastname@example.org (@adamdavidson) November 7, 2022
Davidson created a server on Mastodon just for journalists. The server has already surpassed 1,000 users, but Davidson is facing some challenges. He told Insider that after creating the server, 184 trolls registered and started spreading nasty, hateful messages against the members of the group. As an admin, he was able to control hate speech and block those users from posting.
Another problem that has come up is that some server administrators approach it with concerns that they don’t want reporters to mine the social network for stories or sources — something that often happens on Twitter.
“Mastodon has historically been a lot of academics, a lot of activists, and not a lot of journalists,” Davidson said.
While there are a few hiccups, Davidson said overall that Mastodon provides a number of advantages that Twitter doesn’t have, such as access to people having expert conversations without the hostility that’s normalized in the bird app.
Dewey Digital will produce another report in the near future. Chambers told Insider that Twitter executives should monitor migration trends.
“I’m watching very, very closely, and I imagine the teams within Twitter are as well,” Chambers said.