How-To Mastodon
3 min read

How-To Mastodon

As it isn't that easy to get started with Mastodon, I'm trying to help with this blog post where I share my findings and learnings on using it.
How-To Mastodon

Mastodon is a decentralized, federated and Open Source social network and is part of the Fediverse by making use of the ActivityPub protocol. Because of recent happenings at Twitter, it gained a lot of traction.

Join me at @tobru@mstdn.social

To start with, it's important to understand that there is not the Mastodon, it's composed of many Mastodons, talking to each other. A little bit like E-Mail: You can choose wherever you want your E-Mail address to be, or even have many addresses (private, work, hobby, ...), but you still can easily send E-Mail messages to anyone you'd like without having the same address ending. You can even choose with what client you want to send and receive E-Mails: Thunderbird, K-9 Mail, Webmail or any other. It's the same on Mastodon: There are many servers (also called instances), and you can choose on which one you'd like to be and still follow people who are on other servers. That's where the story begins...

How to choose a Mastodon server?

It's not straight forward, but there are some helpers out there:

I've chosen https://mstdn.social/ for now. They seem to be a friendly folk and are very open. And I like the name 😁.

If you're interested to join a Swiss server, here's what I found so far:

Keep in mind that these servers are all run by volunteers. Because of the huge growth of Mastodon over the past days, it might very well be that some of the servers are slow until they got more power.

Should you ever be unhappy with the instance you've chosen, no worries, you can easily move your account to another instance.

Update 2022-11-09: After creating your account you should activate 2-Factor Authentication under Preferences -> Account -> Two-factor Auth.

It looks like even more and more officials are going to use Mastodon:

Which Mastodon client to choose?

Once you got your Mastodon account on the server you've chosen, which client should you use? Of course that depends on your habits. I'm still figuring out what works best for myself.

You'll find a list of clients which are supporting Mastodon under https://joinmastodon.org/apps. Or if you don't like to use an app, just use the web browser of your choice.

Update 2022-11-09: I tried a few Android clients (Mastodon official, Fedilab and Tusky) and so far my favorite is Tusky.

How to follow others?

One thing which I didn't get at the beginning is how to follow others. It's as easy as posting either the Mastodon username or the URL to the profile into the search field and hit search. Then you can follow the person in the search results.

Mastodon usernames are composed this: @myusername@myinstance.domain

If you'd like to find people from Twitter on Mastodon, there are some ways out there:

Put your Mastodon username into your Twitter bio, this helps to get found on Mastodon.

To self-host or not?

It seems tempting to self-host a Mastodon instance, because that's the gist of it. The skills and resources needed are relatively high. A possible way is to use something like mastohost which offers managed Mastodon instances or self-host it with for example Cloudron or Yunohost.

I'm pretty sure that I'll give it a try on self-hosting once I find time, because I find that very interesting.

Why should I join Mastodon?

The Internet was built to work in a decentralized way. Mastodon has the same principles and therefore is a perfect fit for The Internet, unlike the currently well-known big centralized services. If you believe the same, you should consider joining Mastodon and leave the others behind.

Other interesting resources

New 2022-11-09:

New 2022-11-15:

New 2022-11-22:

Note

I'll update this post once I have learned more. Keep on visiting!

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