Unless you’re an early adopter of social media trends. If you’re looking for alternatives to the Internet’s behemoths, you might not know about Mastodon, a semi-popular microblogging alternative to Twitter that debuted in 2016. Mastodon is constructed fully on open source software and consists of autonomous, user-managed servers capable of interoperating with each other, whereas Twitter is a centralised ivory tower that can issue bans on a whim and is prone to hostile takeover attempts from eccentric billionaires. Mastodon had yet to release an app for another open source platform, Android, despite being more than half a decade old. That has, thankfully, changed.
This isn’t the first program that allow you connect to Mastodon’s network due to its open source nature, but it is the first official client provided by the Mastodon team (via XDA Developers). Although it lacks Twitter’s 200-million-strong user base, the fact that it’s open source means you won’t have to worry about an onslaught of advertisements, and your feed will always be in chronological order. It also comes at a pivotal moment for Mastodon. Mastodon witnessed a surge in new users following Elon Musk’s original investment in Twitter, and that number is only expected to climb now that it’s available to the billions of Android users around the world.
However, this software lacks a handful of capabilities that other third-party clients provide. While you can browse local and federated timelines, you can’t see alerts, search, or communities. If a lack of a first-party app has kept you from testing Mastodon, the app is available for free on the Play Store and runs on Android 6.0 and higher.