I dropped another social media account this week (looking at you blue bird of despair). I’d been thinking about joining Mastodon for a while, and finally took the plunge.

It’s a fascinating system, and here’s why it’s cool: 

  • No algorithm
  • Simple chronological timeline
  • No company/ownership
  • You’re not a product
  • Generally very nice/low-skeeze factor
  • Filled with supportive and well-behaved humans.

Want to see what it’s all about? The Official Mastodon Blog is pretty on point and can get you up and running in no time: Mastodon quick start guide

And Nikodemus’ Guide to Mastodon is a deeper dive if you want to fill in some gaps.

The Hardest Part

The hardest part of getting started, though,  is finding an instance to join. Instances are essentially servers from all over the planet that communicate with each other. There are generic instances like mastadon.cloud with hundreds of thousands of users, and then there are smaller, more specific instances like those I’ve joined.

Low pressure, though, as it’s reportedly easy to move to a new instance, one of the guiding principles of Mastodon is that your data is your own. Each instance is run by different folks with different ideals, and their own community guidelines, which generally means underrepresented groups may find safer refuge. They seem to thrive.

Let’s Talk About Toots

Toots (yeah, they call posts that) can be seen from:

  • “Home” – your followers
  • “Local” – from all users on your local instance (which is really cool if you are on an instance focused on an interest of yours),
  • “Federated” – Local plus anyone outside the local instance followed by another local user. This isn’t the same as “everyone everywhere on Mastodon” which I think isn’t a thing (and doesn’t need to be).

Meet the Neighbors

Here are some interesting creative-themed instances to get started. Browsing local activity from those links is a good way to get an idea of the neighborhood.

https://etheirys.masto.host (FFXIV)
https://socel.net (animation)
https://pixelfur.maw.best (Pixelfed)
https://genart.social (generative art)

Say hi

Already on Mastodon? I have accounts on a few instances if you want to say hi:

@qmchenry@hachyderm.io (tech/dev stuff)
@qeek@tabletop.social (board/tabletop gaming)
@qmchenry@photog.social (photography)

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