big Mastodon logo and small twitter logo

Dramatically More Engagement on Mastodon vs. Twitter

If you’re a happy Twitter user, I have no intention of trying to make you sad about that. At the same time, I’d like to tell you why Mastodon is so much more fun for me.

I’m sure this will shock you, but I’m someone who loves conversation. I know there are many who just like to lurk and enjoy the contributions of others, but I simply have to contribute to the conversation and I want other people to react in some way to things I post.

Mastodon sounds mysterious, but it absolutely isn’t. I use it exactly the way I use Twitter, but I’m getting ever so much more out of it. Let me explain by example.

On Twitter I have 3673 followers. That’s not Taylor Swift kind of numbers, but that is a whole lot of people who could potentially read and enjoy the drivel I post online. On Mastodon, I have only 680 followers, which is less than 20% of my Twitter numbers. To put that another way, my reach __should_ be 5X more on Twitter than on Mastodon.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about the app PopFrame that allows you to add bezel frames to iPhone screenshots. I sent the exact same message out on both Twitter and Mastodon. Here’s what I wrote:

I think iPhone screenshots look silly without the frame around them but it’s TOO HARD to add it. Until PopFrame.
Make Your iPhone Screenshots Stand Out with PopFrame

Both services expanded the blog URL nicely to show my pretty featured image.

The only difference between the two posts was that on Twitter, I tagged the developer Ramik and his PopFrame account. Ramik doesn’t appear to have a presence yet on Mastodon.

I watched the post for 7 days on both services to track engagement and the results are in.

On Twitter, the post received zero comments. None. Nada. On Mastodon, the same post about PopFrame received 7 comments.

PopFrame Post on Twitter 7 days 0 comments 2 reposts 2 likes with 3673 followers
Twitter: PopFrame Post gets 2 Reposts, 2 Likes and 0 Comments
PopFrame Post on Mastodon 7 days 7 comments 17 reposts 23 likes with 680 followers
Mastodon: PopFrame Post gets 17 Reposts, 23 Likes & 7 Comments

Let’s look at likes and reposts. On Mastodon my post about PopFrame got 17 reposts and 23 likes. That’s really great. But on Twitter, it only got 2 of each. And one of the accounts that liked/reposted it was the PopFrame account itself.

Think about that – this article got 1/8th as many reposts on an account with 5 times as many followers. That’s a factor of of 40 on engagement per follower on Mastodon vs. Twitter.

In just 2 hours, a photo of my cat got 7 times as many likes on Mastodon as my article about PopFrame on Twitter in a whole week. Sure my cat is lovely, but it wasn’t even #Caturday, it was on a Tuesday! In 12 hours it had 14 likes.

Mastodon Cat Photo with 14 Likes
Mastodon Cat Photo with 14 Likes

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m getting so much more traction on Mastodon than I’ve ever gotten on Twitter, and I have a few ideas.

  1. Now that I can’t use a third-party Twitter client, and have to use the official Twitter account, I have a lot of trouble finding the content from the people I follow. Perhaps the algorithm simply doesn’t surface my content to my nearly 4000 followers on Twitter.
  2. It’s possible the vast vast majority of my followers on Twitter are actually just bots.
  3. Maybe the followers I have on Twitter aren’t really there anymore because they perceive it as being more toxic.

Like I said up front, if you’re still enjoying Twitter, or if you want less engagement with your followers, good onya. But if you’re looking for folks a lot more excited to engage with each other (and with way less rage), I highly suggest you check out Mastodon.

There are tons of beginner How-Tos out there now like the one from Mozilla, and they’ve made picking a server way easier now. You get offered 2 choices, one of the main ones, or choose your own. Pick the main one you’re offered and start having fun.

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