A new social network named Mastodon is seeking to destroy and replace Twitter in the hearts of many social media users
The blog, not to be confused with a heavy metal band with the same name, is a microblogging social network that was set up in October by a 24-year-old German named Eugen Rochko.
The site looks and functions a lot like Twitter. Users can set up a profile, post short updates, and follow other users' posts - named "toots"
Rochko started the site because he became annoyed with Twitter when it introduced a Facebook-like algorithm to show messages out of chronological order.
With that in mind, Mastodon plans to address major Twitter gripes, including showing messages in chronological order, allowing 500 characters per post, letting users share posts privately, and banning racist and sexist chatter.
Also, Mastodon is a type of free and open source software (FOSS) known as "GNU social." That means there is no board pressing Rochko to monetise user data or resign.
Rather than there being one centralised Mastodon site, users are invited to set up there own "instances" of the network.
"The entire network is like an unlimited number of different Twitter websites, users of which can follow each other and interact regardless of which Twitter website exactly they are on.
"This has obvious benefits as there is no single company that has a monopoly," Rochko said as quoted by The Telegraph.
The site has attracted about 24,000 users in its first six months. But user numbers spiked more than 70 percent in just two days.
According to The Verge, the network has grown by 73 percent, to 41,703 users, in the past two days.
Nearly 1 million posts have been authored so far, despite the heavy server loads that have made basic functions unavailable from time to time.
“I brought all my friends to Twitter back in the day, I kept promoting it to everybody I knew. I really loved the service. But it continuously made decisions that I didn’t like. So, in the end, I decided that maybe Twitter itself is not the way to go forward," he said.
For now, Rochko has shut down new sign-ups "until quality of service can be assured for existing users"
Do you think Mastodon has what it takes to overtake Twitter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.