This blog isn't monetized, so I'll cut to the chase. No, I don't think Mastodon has a chance in hell of replacing the mainstream social networks. The average person doesn't care enough to put the minor amount of effort in it takes to adopt the tech, and if the major networks burn to the ground most people will just move to using chat for more stuff over adopting a new social network.
On top of that, in Mastodon's day in the sun it's proving that hobby server operators aren't ready to take on huge influxes of users. We know from history that users don't want to pay for their own servers, so what's the long term model to keep things afloat? Without a viable path to advertising supported servers, and servers that can scale to millions of users, this technology can't be a mainstream option. Users don't care enough to make it work.
So, OK, smart guy, if it's never going to work why are you investing so much time and energy into learning the ins and outs? And hosting your own server on top of that? Because I see the limitations as a feature. What I loved about the bird site disappeared a long time ago, with the algorighmic timelines, hefty self-promotion, etc. It's all a game about self promotion, with shreds about what originally brought me in keeping me there. I haven't had the time or motivation to be active there for years, just occasionally popping in hoping to see what my friends are up to and what the industry is doing. If I can get a feed of interesting activity going in Mastodon, then I don't need what the bird site has to offer any more. I can get the value I want without all of the side effects and noise of a commercial operation.
Anyway, if you're interested, follow me from your server. I'm @[email protected]. Uh oh, now you see why I run my own server!