Will Mastodon Be the New Twitter?

By Josh Lawson | @JoshKLawson

Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are all publically traded companies are doing pretty well off considering most of Wall Street thought none of them would be as profitable as they turned out to be. It’s only natural that other people would want to capitalize on the same success.


Most of these sites have no way of policing the content that gets posted on its platform. Mastodon is a new social media platform, extremely similar to Twitter, with the simple premise of sharing your thoughts free of advertisements and hate speech. Users can say more, with a character limit of 500, all the content is public, the timeline is chronological, and privacy settings can be adjusted on a post-by-post basis.

Due to the absence of an algorithm, many people are creating accounts with Mastodon and “toot”ing their hearts out. Yes, a post created on the platform is called a “toot”. The entire platform is open-source, is funded via Patreon, and only asks for $800 a month to maintain the website. The creator isn’t interested in making money off the platform.

https-blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage4371051bd5bf9f-7676-45b9-8f0e-818d82897df7As of recently, Mastodon only has 41,703 users. This is won’t be changing anytime soon, as the creator has closed the registration process due to overloaded servers after the influx of new accounts and sign ups. The platform is basically an ad-free, non-commercial, and decentralized version of Twitter, but it may not be a big of a competitor as people think.

There’s nothing really special about that platform other than it’s not Twitter. Many people are creating accounts to save their handle, and jump on the hype of new social media. There is no longer one single microblogging page for people to use.

But, just because it is new, and doesn’t have ads, doesn’t make it the next best thing. It got a lot of things wrong so far. Mastodon’s don’t even exist anymore. They were also known for being large, slow, and dead for a long time. The posts users make are called “toots” and that just won’t stick. User handles show up in their posts, but not their profile page. Users can’t find other users easily. The search function doesn’t work as you think it would, or work well at all.

All in all, just because something is new doesn’t make it better than what is already available.


“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi


I’ve been sitting here for at least ten minutes trying to figure out an opening line that conveys my anxiety about graduating soon. However, that obviously made me concentrate more on said anxiety and my brain could do nothing but freak out. The point is, I’m freaking out. May is quickly approaching so I’ve been spending my last semester scrambling for internships, wrapping up my courses, fixing up my resume, and working my LinkedIn profile like it’s my day job. It’s been incredibly hectic. To those of you breezing through your last semester, congrats on earning my envy.

Through all of this anxiety and excitement though, I have basically been experiencing a quarter life crisis (yes, that’s a thing). It’s the stereotypical “what’s the meaning of my life” situation that happens to quite a few people in their 20s, especially those entering the real real world for the first time. And all it has made me want to do is volunteer.

I was the type that wanted to take a gap year after high school to travel or do some sort of volunteer work, but my parents weren’t too fond of the idea. Still, I went on strongly feeling like it was something I need to do at some point in my life. Well, I strongly believe that this is a point in my life where I could potentially try to knock this off my bucket list.

I spent a few hours over the break trying to find the perfect volunteer opportunity for me. It’s no surprise that social media helped me figure out a few options that I’ve already fallen in love with.

Fun fact about me: I’m pretty obsessed with elephants. I could write a whole blog post about them alone, but I’ll spare you from that fun time. Searching through Twitter, Facebook, and online reviews I found an organization that send volunteers to an elephant camp in Thailand! THAILAND! ELEPHANTS! THIS IS AMAZING!

But anyways, back to social media. Obviously going on one of these trips involves a great investment, and I of course want to be safe. Reviews online from various social media platforms and websites are crucial while deciding to volunteer either in this country or abroad.

Social media is important not only when deciding where to go and what organization to join, but also how to portray your social media experience online. Unearth The World, another volunteer organization, mentioned that posting about your experience is so much more than simply changing your Facebook profile to a picture of yourself half-hugging some children. Post about what you’re doing and inform others about how to get involved. They also mention to ask the organization for consent on posting or sharing images of themselves or the people and wildlife you are helping.

And for those of you who want to help but don’t have the funds, one word: crowdfunding. My Facebook timeline is always popping up with GoFundMe links and requests. If its for such a good cause, which volunteering is, then don’t be afraid to post one! You’ll be surprised how many people will help. We all have way too many Facebook friends than we probably should, so just imagine how much you could raise if they all donated a couple of dollars or so. Social media is a great tool to get the help you need.





The Patreon Effect (aka Hope for Freelancers)

by Patrick Parish (@PrinceOfGeeks)

As a journalism student, I’ve always wanted to write for a living. It’s a simple desire that spurred nearly four years of studying grammar and writing styles. It’s a dream that has had me working hours upon hours over the coming years, though with many of my friends and fellow writers graduating before me, it is apparent that the job market isn’t as viable as we’d once thought.

I’ve spent years trying to get a diploma which would let me write about my passion: video games. Though it isn’t that easy anymore. Finding the dream career is a nightmare, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.

In a growing online climate, much of what was hard to attain has become much simpler. YouTube celebrities are born overnight and someone’s message can go viral in a matter of minutes. In a world that is become more and more digital, it’s also expanding to new niche demographics. There’s a way to find an audience, and even crazier is that there’s a way to make it lucrative.

Enter Patreon.

Patreon is a crowdfunding based program where individuals can pledge X-amount of money on either a monthly basis or per-diem, which is decided by the content creator. This is huge for journalists who want to try their hand at their own style.

This is huge for people like me, and even bigger for my college-inspired project: Now That’s Gaming.

Yes, this is the website I’ve mentioned before and yes it is my baby, but it’s two other people’s dream too. Two people who have graduated and are coming back after a semester of struggling to find a job. We want to write, and this platform helps us keep doing what we do best while juggling life.

Patreon is different from other crowdfunding platforms due to its social nature. It acts as a page to pitch your brand and then allows you to follow through with your content. With contributor exclusive material or just regular updates, Patreon can tap into many other social networks to keep your sponsors in the know. This is the coolest part.

Now, this is crowdfunding, meaning that people are giving funds to an idea they can get behind. It’s a concurrent service that is driven by presence and consistency, which is why I believe it has social-media qualities. It requires notoriety before it can keep going, and promotes side-projects for many creative individuals who still have to live with life (or retail.)

In the end it comes down to a platform that has inspired me to take my summer off and get moving. It requires a committed attitude and a desire to put your creative content out there. While it isn’t a straight-up social media platform, it still has social roots. It’s a means of keeping your website’s rent paid, or getting the extra equipment you need to produce. Patreon isn’t a perfect solution, but it was the push I needed to stay creative. Check it out if you’re looking to get your inner writer out there.