It seems some 50.000 people created a Mastodon account since Musk captured the blue bird. Twitter has about 400 million users, and some 200 million daily active ones, so that’s about an 1/80th percent versus 2/80th percent of the total. For Mastodon 50k users represent about 7/8th of a percent, considerably more, and significant change for a single day, but still a small number. It feels more massive in my Mastodon timeline though. This can be a sign that the networks I’m part of are heavily skewed (most likely true), or that it’s more active Twitter users making the switch (not an unreasonable assumption). Some 10% of Twitter users make up about 90% of messages. If the 50k migrants come from that 10%, than as those 10% come by definition from the active users so that they represent 20% of those active users (40 million), they add up to 1/8th of a percent of those.

At those rates, and seeing the peak migration is behind us, it means what passes for #twittermigration is indeed just a wavelet. Especially as those new account holders have not deleted their Twitter accounts. I’ve been an active user of Mastodon for 5 years, and haven’t deleted my handful of Twitter accounts either. I still use them, almost only for broadcasting though, while most of my conversation is indeed on Mastodon.

So if anything this is at the moment less a #twittermigration than a sort of self-induced netsplit (common in the days of peak IRC), which may turn out to be as temporary as the netsplits of old were. Unless the momentum keeps up, for instance because the bird trapper‘s public statements and actions drive more people away. After all bird traps aren’t mostly non-lethal.

And we have of course seen these wavelets of account creation in the Fediverse before, with little in terms of active retention. This renewed wavelet has led me to re-assess whether my own website can serve usefully as a ActivityPub (the protocol behind Mastodon/Fediverse in general) actor. WordPress, through plugins, can ‘speak’ ActivityPub, just not in the way yet I want it to (two issues: current plugins expose my username on my site, and don’t allow for selective sharing of posts on my site through ActivityPub). ActivityPub is just a protocol, and my site should be able to speak it in the way I want, meaning that my presence on Mastodon is likely temporary, even if me communicating through ActivityPub isn’t.

15 reactions on “A Netsplit Unless The Bird Trapper Makes It Permanent

  1. @Ton Zijlstra People moving to the fediverse due to Musk is not needed. Most of us do not want to see their posts/comments since they often have a commercial load of bullshit to be honest. Please let them stay there or on Facebook.

  2. @hans I’d welcome them over though, and wish on them a ‘Twitter’ experience not depending on (toxic) silo’s. If they come over, it won’t bother me. Federation is a form of agency for all involved, one that isn’t present in the silo’s.

  3. @hans Meaning that the tactics that lead to amplification there don’t work here. Those that come to rage, will do so in their own isolation ward, uhm I mean preferred instance.

  4. @Ton Zijlstra That would convince people who are already on the fediverse. Not those who are still having angry discussions on Twitter and Facebook about woke, sinterklaas, vluchtelingenbeleid, etc…Seen to many join, go crazy and return to twitter to be honest.

  5. @ton On the fediverse side it’s a bit more than 1 %, the MAU jumped by some 20 % (it will climb back). the #Twitter side it’s still a much smaller event than April, for example Obama lost only 50k followers so far vs. 400k back then. difference is that now I see some people state they felt a social pressure to move here because everyone in their community did. Network effects may start to shift locally.
    Fediverse stats (

  6. @nemobis grazie Federico, useful numbers for comparison. The social pressure part is of interest yes, that would be qualitatively different. And yes it’s localised most likely, in terms of types of communities moving.

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