Folks at organizations you should start looking at running your own social infrastructure in the same way you run your own email infra. An org such as a state agency would prefer to own its own namespace, a huge improvement over the status quo.
AFAIK GNU social's current codebase is a merge  between StatusNet and Free Social, with StatusNet previously known as Laconica  and developed by the same people behind Identi.ca , which itself was later re-made into pump.io . The OStatus protocol, which is one of the several protocols used in GNU social, originated from the OpenMicroBlogging spec  promoted by the Identi.ca developers.
What's the Buzz connection?
OStatus is an open standard for distributed status updates that references a suite of open protocols including Atom, Activity Streams, PubSubHubbub, Salmon, Webfinger,
Activity Streams is new, but the rest of these were all Google Buzz protocols. https://sites.google.com/a/going-buzz.com/tech/developers/un...
As weird a twist of history as it was that GNU so readily adopted the Google Buzz protocol stack, it's far more bizarre how completely undocumented and unmentionable this legacy is.
It's a pity that Salmon is an awful practically SOAP-like opaque envelope, because I rather like everything else here. But stuffing really good content inside a base64 envelope is really not ok with me and my expectation that casually working with a format shouldn't make me want to claw my eyes out.
"Can you mastodon me?" Ugh.
I don't see this going mainstream with a name like this. I don't think anyone at NBC is ever going to say, "let's see what's trending on mastodon."
For reference, the community-decided verb/noun for posting on Mastodon is "toot" (as in, the elephant sound), so that would be "can you toot me". I mean. It's ridiculous, but I like it. It's endearing.
Facebook is horrible. I guess mastodon will succeed after all.
Also made me look up the original meaning of Mastodon (can see now that it's not named after the metal band):
Gonna download the source and try out an instance at one point too.
However, I do have one question here:
How are you planning to differentiate this from other microblogging platforms with very similar feature sets and styles? I mean, GNU Social seems to be catching on a fair bit nowadays, and that feels a lot like this software too.
Is there a plan to make this the most popular 'federated microblogging network' rather than one of the other twenty or so out there already?
The GitHub page describes Mastodon as "An alternative implementation of the GNU social project". I'm guessing the two are compatible.
If someone from your instance follows someone remotely, that account is in the instance's database, and can be searched (we have account search). Furthermore you'll see their posts in a real-time public timeline if you wish to view that.
If you're just kickstarting a fresh instance and are alone, yeah, you kinda have to browse other sites to find people to follow. But then you follow them (there's also a "remote follow" button across mastodon and GNU social sites that facilitates this) and you get that benefit again. And you find people who the people you're following retweet/reblog/boost (whatever you wanna call it).
I mean honestly, it's not like you can immediately find every good account on Twitter either. It's not much harder or at all imo.
But there isn't a feed of the public timeline which would be the most interesting one.
Edit: Also as a side note, mastodon.social has been federating with GNU social just fine for more than 6 months, so I'm inclined to believe this is some sort of confusion
I make an effort to moderate the worst, i.e. hate speech, spam and vandalism should not stay on the public timeline for long (who disagrees with my policies is welcome to start their own instance). If I've missed something please let me know @Gargron@mastodon.social or per e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. A "report" feature is in the works in the next few days.
I could almost see it being an internal Slack-style competitor of sorts for an intranet (if users are looking to "shout" more into the ether of the community)
1687 users active in the last 14 days. 16,744 registered accounts on mastodon.social. 18,347 accounts in total known to this instance. 460,563 statuses in the database, 306,905 created by locally registered users. 173 different Mastodon/GNU social instances known to this instance (i.e. at least one account from such an instance in the database).
Hopefully that answers your question!