What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is Twitter-style social networking combined with email-style instanced servers. It has a very familiar, but also unique feel to it.
Instead of signing up at one central location such as Twitter.com or Facebook.com, users can choose an “instance” of like minded people to join. However, like email, you can see posts and interact with anyone on any server (as long as it’s not blocked, but more on that later).
Choosing an instance
Once you sign up, you can follow people on that local instance, but you can also follow anyone else, regardless of their instance.
Like Twitter, if you’re on the same instance, you can just “@” someone. For example, I am on the instance Bardown.Social and if you’re on there with me, you can post @danarel and it will tag me. If I am tagging someone on another instance, it’s more like email and I would use their full address, for example: @firstname.lastname@example.org
Instance wide blocking
When picking an instance to join, you will want to read their about me section to see who they block and who they don’t. Popular right-wing, Nazi friendly instances such as Gab, are generally blocked by most instances (and even apps so their users can’t even use them). Other are blocked for various reasons such as the promotio of violence, gore, hate speech, and so on.
Even if your server doesn’t block a specific if you’re being harassed by a lot of users on a specific instance, or someone who owns their own instance, you can choose as a user to block a whole instance on your own.
How do privacy settings work?
Under each post you’ll see three icons: a camera, a globe or a padlock, and the letters “CW”. Click on the globe or padlock to choose the privacy settings for your post.
- Public means that everyone can see your post.
- Unlisted means that everyone can see your post, but it won’t appear on the public timelines – either Local or Federated. Anyone who follows you or views your profile can see the toot, though.
- Followers-Only means that only people who follow you and people mentioned in the post can see your post in their timelines or on your profile page. If someone who doesn’t follow you views your profile, they won’t see this post.
- Private means that only people who are mentioned in your post can see it in their timelines or on your profile page.
Can you post videos and pics?
Can you post threads?
Is there a verification process?
Sort of. Owners of their own websites can add code on their site that checks back to their Masoton profile and adds a check on the domain, verifying that the user of that domain is also the owner of that website. This isn’t a blue check, but it is a good way to ensure the person you’re talking to is who they say they are.
Are there ads?
No! Mastodon code does not serve ads, or track it’s users in any way.
Don’t look at this as Twitter 2.0. It’s a whole new social media experience and you need to approach it as that. You’re going to need to engage differently, and that’s a good thing. My follower count on Mastodon is a lot smaller, but my engagement is way higher.
That’s because the timeline is simply in order and there is no algorithm. I am not competing with anyone else.
With all of that, I think it’s the best new social media platform out there. It’s fun, engaging, and it’s growing.
Not sure what to do after signing up or need help?
Email email@example.com and let’s chat!