I’ve been on Mastodon for several years now, and it’s almost completely replaced Twitter for me.

It is a shift in perspective on how social media works, so here are a few tips to help wrap your head around it:

1. Mastodon isn’t a single company or service. It’s software. It’s a type of service.

Policies, moderation and admin are handled separately by each site. Just like there’s no central Email administration, but Gmail and Outlook have their own policies, spam filters and admins.

2. Picking a site seems challenging because we’re not used to doing that anymore. Each has its own community flavor, but you can still follow and talk with people on other sites, and you can migrate to another one anytime you want. No need to stress out over where to start!

3. Once you’re in, it’s almost a Twitter clone, with some key differences due to:

  • Accounts being spread out.
  • Design choices.
  • Culture.

Dive in, by all means, but read the room!

4. It does take some effort to get started. Twitter throws a lot at you, but on Mastodon you have to look for people. Fortunately there are lists of interesting posters like fedi.directory and curators of recommendations like @feditips@mstdn.social.

5. Think of Mastodon as a type of account (like email), and the server you sign up with as where your account lives (like Gmail or Yahoo). Ex. I’m @KelsonV@wandering.shop, so I have a Wandering.Shop account that speaks Mastodon. (Mastodonian?)

6. Finally, There’s a whole “Fediverse” out there of other software that talks together. Pixelfed is a photo service like Instagram, Lemmy does link sharing/forums like Reddit, PeerTube does videos, etc. And you can do things like follow & reply to Pixelfed accounts on Mastodon.

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