src=”https://buffer.com/resources/content/images/2022/11/priscilla-du-preez-jLH2jMEL6Ls-unsplash–1-.jpg” alt=”A Beginner’s Guide to Mastodon”>
Interest in other social networking sites has increased significantly after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. While some names might be familiar, others may be unfamiliar. However, a quick Google Trends search reveals that people, old and new, are searching for the best microblogging platform.
Tumblr is a well-known name and a popular choice. Ryan Reynolds, actor, made a public appearance on Tumblr. We’re not here to do that. We’re instead introducing you Mastodon, which is rapidly rising in popularity but may not be well-known to many.
Mastodon was founded by Eugen Rochko in 2016. It is a microblogging platform which looks similar to Twitter but is more complicated under the hood. This article will explain what Mastodon is and how to create an account.
Mastodon is an open-source, decentralized and unorganized collection of servers. It may also be called the “Fediverse”, abbreviation for “federated universe”.
Mastodon is an open source platform. Anyone can create a server and manage a community, much like a forum or discussion group. Mastodon is described as a “federated network that operates in a similar manner to email”.
It is similar to Twitter in that it allows microblogging. However, you can still see some similarities to Twitter’s mobile and web applications. Mastodon, which is a combination of Twitter and Tumblr, is a better but still incomplete analogy.
You tweet instead of tweeting. If you share another’s post, you’ve shared or promoted it. You can use hashtags or lists to communicate your thoughts.
Your Mastodon address includes your full name and server name. If you sign up for Mastodon via the most popular server – Mastodon.social – your address will be @[your username]@mastodon.social. You can communicate with any user from any server regardless of which one you sign up for, just as Hotmail users can email Gmail users.
To add a checkmark to your name to verify that you are the person you claim to be, you don’t need to pay anyone. Instead, you can add a link that points to a website under your control. Mastodon also allows you to edit your posts (a popular Twitter feature). To combat misinformation concerns, you’ll be notified when a post that you boosted/reblogged has changed.
Mastodon’s greatest benefit is its extensive moderation. Each server has the ability to decide how it wants to communicate and what moderation policies they will use.
How do you set up a Mastodon Account
Mastodon is similar to email but it is not as easy to set up. To set up an account, you will need to locate a server (I’m on C.IM). This is a basic guideline for how to set up an account on Mastodon. It was created by a non-technical person.
Step 1: Register for a server
Locate the address of the Mastodon server (called an instance). This server is open to new sign-ups.
Check out https://instances.social for potential servers to join or where your current Twitter followers are hanging out on Mastodon with Debirdify (for security reasons, remember to revoke permissions when you’re done).
People who are easily found have added their Mastodon username to their profile or bio on Twitter. This can be done once you have created your account.
Fedifinder can also be used, which extracts Mastodon handles from Twitter accounts you are following as well as accounts that you have added to a list. You can then import the Mastodon list to follow all of those accounts.
Alternativly, you can go to the Mastodon activity site and look at the list under Instances. It may take you longer to join the entries at the top of this list, but they are most popular.
You can always move your account later to another server if you are unsure if you like the server.
Step 2: Register at your Mastodon server
Fill out the form once you have identified an instance that you wish to join and is also accepting new members. Your Twitter ID can be reused or any other ID you choose. My name was chosen because I couldn’t catch the train on Twitter in time the second time around. Here is the link to sign up for the C.IM account on the internet.
Wait for confirmation emails to arrive by clicking Sign up This could take a few minutes, like mine, or several hours. Some people have reported never receiving an email to activate their accounts due to the increase in sign-ups.
Once you have access, you will need to remember which instance you used. When you sign in with another browser or mobile app, you will need to enter the server’s address. These credentials cannot be used to sign in for another instance.
You can make different profiles on different servers, or transfer your data between different servers.
Step 3: Create your profile
Fill out all details to make it easy for people find you. After you have confirmed your account, click the Edit Profile button and add details about yourself.
Complete your bio, and then add a photo (or “avatar”, as it’s known in Mastodon), so people can identify you.
Add your Mastodon username to your Twitter bio. This will make it easier to find you in the new location by people who already know you via Twitter.
Step 4: Begin following people and engaging in the community
Engage with the community by following others and starting to follow them. You can search for Mastodon IDs of people you know who are active by entering their name in the search box. Then, follow them and find their account.
Step 5: Introduce your self.
Mastodon is a platform that encourages everyone to learn their way around.
Add some information about yourself and your interests. Finally, pin the post to your profile. This will help people find you online and determine if you are a good fit.
Step 6: Find friends.
Debirdify or Fedifinder can be used to find people who have shared their Mastodon handle via Twitter.
You can also search the hashtag #TwitterMigration by filtering using “People to Follow” or looking for lists created by people migrating from Mastodon.
What should you consider before abandoning Twitter completely
Although it might seem tempting to move to Mastodon and end all ties with Twitter, there are many factors to consider.
- Mastodon is still not able to access the seamless sign-up process of platforms like Instagram and Twitter. It takes time to adjust to the user interface, lingo and technicalities of Twitter. Not all your followers will want to join the bandwagon.
- Mastodon servers take content moderation very seriously — some even require content warnings about political content.
- Mastodon’s growth is not yet complete. Some users have reported long wait times for confirmation emails. Even if your audience is ready to go through all the steps to create an account, it could be that they don’t have access for quite some time.
- Messages aren’t encrypted and server admins have access to them. It’s best to not use them for sensitive or important business. It’s easy to mix up private and public messages on Mastodon.
Before you jump, think about your audience, your content, and whether or not you want to stay ahead of the Twitter storm.
Mastodon is an exciting new way to explore
Mastodon is growing in popularity at lightning speeds (it’s almost always first on any list “twitter alternative” lists), but we don’t believe Twitter’s going anywhere yet. Most social media professionals agree.
It’s worthwhile to learn how Mastodon functions as an app apart from Twitter. It’s not Twitter. Instead, treat it as a new and exciting space. Although we do not currently offer scheduling for Mastodon in Buffer, the native scheduler is available.
If you are curious about when/if Mastodon will be added to our existing list of features, please keep an eye on the product roadmap and sign up for our community for updates.
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