Activity Continues to Climb on Mastodon As Twitter Responsiveness Suffers

Mastodon and Twitter are seeing some slow downs for some users, but for two very different reasons. This as chaos continues at Twitter.

Last week, we published a rather large article on the drama surrounding Twitter after Musk took over. After firing half of the staff including several executives, racism reportedly spiked as word came down that the ranks of the moderation teams were greatly reduced. Along the way, there were several other moments of mismanagement that sent the trust in the social media platform tumbling. This includes banning critics after vowing to turn the platform into a so-called “free speech” network.

The moves saw users scatter to several other platforms. This includes Tumblr, Counter Social, and Mastodon. Mastodon has been a major beneficiary of the crumbling of Twitter and its user base. The decentralized nature of the network ensuring that no one individual would own the whole network is a massive plus for a lot of users. This combined with the fact that popular hash tags aren’t exclusively around botnets and troll farm networks gaming the system. In fact, the experience so far has been something half way to a normal conversation. Examples include cycling, introductions, “caturday”, Microsoft, and Follow Friday to name a few.

Of course, as we earlier noted, several popular servers on Mastodon got slammed with a spike in traffic. This forced a number of administrators running their own instance to implement upgrades to handle the additional load. Of course, when it comes to accessing the broader “fediverse”, which server you happen to join really doesn’t matter. You still have access to the wider network. The servers are there to help hold the network together.

Still, some users did experience some slowdown and unresponsive servers at times. This is not something we’ve seen, but then again, we are on a somewhat less popular server at the moment. Slowdowns and slow response times have been largely minimal for us so far. Checking in, we see that there are still some issues on a few servers in terms of handling the additional load, but those issues have been increasingly minimal.

In a recent post, JoinMastodon noted that activity on the network is quite high still:

Over 1 million people have joined Mastodon since October 27. Between that and those who returned to their old accounts, the number of active users has risen to over 1.6 million today, which, for context, is over 3 times what it was just about two weeks ago!

So, there are, indeed, some growing pains not unlike how Twitter started up. Many people still remember the Twitter fail whale back in the early 2010’s. Thanks to the decentralized nature of Mastodon, a number of servers are humming along reasonably well, so service isn’t necessarily down for everyone on the network which is unlike Twitter back in those days.

Meanwhile, back on Twitter, it seems that the decision to lay off so many people has quickly come back to bite Elon Musk in the rear. The service lately has been marked by a number of error messages and buttons to “Try Again”. Service has been somewhat patchy in the last few weeks seemingly as a result of those running operations no longer working for the company. Musk ended the remote work option seemingly for no real reason other than to treat employees badly. More employees have been apparently quitting as the situation continues to worsen on the inside.

What’s more, Musk has already openly contemplating the idea of getting Twitter to declare bankruptcy. From NPR:

Before Elon Musk took over Twitter, it was hardly a gangbusters business. The company is only occasionally profitable. Its userbase and advertising revenue is puny compared to social media rivals like Facebook and TikTok.

Yet the possibility of a looming Twitter bankruptcy was not a fate anyone ever seriously discussed.

Now, however, under the chaotic leadership of Musk, the mercurial billionaire has reportedly told staff that bankruptcy could be nigh if Twitter does not start making more money.

It seems that the chaos and destruction Musk has unleashed onto the company isn’t slowing down either. At one point, Musk considered putting the entire website behind a massive paywall. From the Verge:

If Friday brought massive layoffs to Twitter, Monday brought fresh evidence that the company will never be the same. Elon Musk has discussed putting the entire site behind a paywall, Platformer has learned. Meanwhile, the company is scrambling to lure back employees who it laid off mere hours ago, and some workers say the economics behind its soon-to-relaunch Twitter Blue subscription could actually lose the company money.

All of this took place against the backdrop of a company that still has yet to hear anything official from Musk, via email or a companywide meeting. As Monday began, after losing thousands of their colleagues days earlier, many employees didn’t know who their managers are.

Meanwhile, Musk’s increasingly erratic leadership, coupled with his habit of tweeting in eye-watering bad taste, gave many current and former employees I spoke with a sinking feeling about the future of their company.

Today let’s talk a bit more about how the company botched its layoff process, what happened inside Twitter on Monday, and what that paywall might look like.

Obviously, such a move would effectively kill Twitter. The whole point of Twitter was that anyone could be a part of it and be all that they could be. By putting Twitter behind a paywall, you risk seeing huge portions of the userbase leave for alternatives. Of course, someone like Musk doesn’t know what he’s doing and doesn’t really understand how social media works from a developers standpoint, so for him, in the absence of any knowledge about how Twitter works, this apparently sounds like a great idea to him.

In under a month, Musk went from buying the social media giant to seemingly on the verge or running the whole thing into the ground. If Twitter were to go under, that would be a considerable fall from grace. If you ever wanted yet another sign that Musk isn’t exactly a business genius, then that would be it. The fail so far has been so spectacular, only a Musk fan would not be able to see what’s happening.

Probably the real question now is who stands to gain once Musk is done destroying Twitter. Will there be anything left from Twitter after all is said and done? That remains to be seen. Is an alternative going to take in a majority of new users and become the new king of micro-blogging or will the users disperse evenly to different platforms and we will see a small set of platforms make considerable gains in this sphere? Only time will tell. What we do know is that Twitter is losing altitude fast and many people still on board are bracing for a huge crash landing at the moment.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top