With mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter awash with scandal and scammers, media professionals and creatives are invited to find refuge on Masthead.
Masthead launched in beta today, with the first invites being made available to news publishers, producers, editors, and writers, as well as anyone who creates content for a living or for love. The service is modeled after Twitter, and can be used on the web as well as via native mobile apps.
“Journalists love Twitter, and a big part of the draw is the conversation among media people about the news as well as the news business,” founder Ryan Ozawa says. “But Twitter comes with a lot of baggage, from abusive trolls to spambots to foreign disinformation campaigns.”
“Masthead aims to provide the best parts of Twitter without the worst parts,” he adds. “No Nazis, no scrambled timeline, no ads nor trackers… just a simple platform to share your work, debate the issues of the day, and talk shop with people who share the same goals and challenges that you do.”
Masthead is powered by Mastodon, a free, open-source, decentralized and federated social media platform created by German college student Eugen Rochko in 2016. Funded by grants and donations, Mastodon now powers dozens of online communities with more than two million total users around the globe.
“Masthead takes advantage of Mastodon’s federated model, allowing members to follow and interact with people in other communities,” Ozawa explains. “While the people on Masthead might discuss the news business, they’re also able to keep up with the software developers on Mastodon.technology or the artists at Mastodon.art.”
Masthead membership will always be free, and the community will be fostered and moderated by a volunteer team. Although still in beta, Masthead has already rolled out a tool called Birdsite, which makes Masthead look nearly identical to Twitter. Future enhancements will include a member directory and custom emoji.
“We want Masthead to feel familiar but fresh and new at the same time,” Ozawa says. “Instead of trying to find massive growth and sell eyeballs, we’re taking a more human-scale approach to social media and focusing on building a community.”
Masthead can be found at Masthead.social, and interested media makers can apply there for an invitation to the beta. For more information, follow @mastheadsocial on Twitter or visit /mastheadsocial on Facebook.
Masthead is a social network for journalists, muckrakers and media makers (including bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters), scribes and stringers, hacks, newsies, and the news junkies who love them. Envisioned as a virtual, open-plan newsroom, Masthead encourages shop talk, both thoughtful analyses and hot takes, both commentary and conversation. For more information, visit masthead.social/about/more.
Mastodon isn’t just a website, it is a federation—think Star Trek. Thousands of independent communities running Mastodon form a coherent network, where while every planet is different, being part of one is being part of the whole. Mastodon is free, open-source software. There is no advertising, monetizing, or venture capital. Mastodon offers effective anti-abuse and moderation tools and servers with strict codes of conduct. For more information, visit joinmastodon.org.