I chose to try Mastodon after searching for an alternative platform to jump to after quitting Twitter. Here are some notes I have taken about it:
Mastodon is a micro-blogging platform, somewhat like Twitter.
Post: You publish or post short updates of up to 500 characters that are called toots (like tweets).
Instance: Unlike Twitter, there is no central provider. It is a decentralized network of Mastodon servers, each hosting posts of their own set of users.To get started, you sign up on any Mastodon server to get an account. These servers are also called instances. Think of it like email accounts on email providers.
Username: Mastodon username is of the form
@your-username@your-instance. For example:
@email@example.com. To mention on your own instance, you could use the shorthand
Your own posts will appear at your instance at
https://your-instance/@your-username. For example:
Follow: You can follow any other Mastodon user who is on any instance. This typically means clicking their Follow button. Some instances might require you to specify your username (in the form
@your-username@your-instance) to do this. Some instances might require you to copy that user’s URL or username and paste it on your instance’s search bar to add that user. (I know, this is irritating.)
Rules of an instance: Each instance can have their own rules which can be found at
about/more of that domain. For example: https://mastodon.social/about/more
Local timeline are the posts from the instance you have an account on. For example, if you signed up on a gaming instance, you might want to just read gaming posts.
Federated timeline are the posts from all accounts on all instances you follow.
Reply (↩︎): You can reply to any toot and all replies are at the same level and in chronological order.
Boost (⇌): This is similar to retweet in Twitter. The post appears in the feed of all your followers.
Favourite (⭐): Add post to your Favourites list, notifies the author of the post and increments the Favourite count on that post. I see this as equivalent to a Like (👍) on Facebook.
Bookmark (🔖): Adds the post to your Bookmarks list and does nothing else. Bookmarks are private to you and no one else can see them.
Privacy: Every post you create can have privacy of one of the following:
RSS feed of my posts will be available at
https://<your-server>/users/<your-username>.rss for easy reading of posts using RSS readers. For example: https://mastodon.social/users/codeyarns.rss .
Mute a follower: They can still follow you, but you won’t see their posts in your feed.
Block a follower: Cut the follow ties completely.
Keyboard shortcuts supported by your instance are at
https://<your-server>/web/keyboard-shortcuts. For example: https://mastodon.social/keyboard-shortcuts
Guide to picking a Mastodon instance: https://joinmastodon.org/servers
Wizard that helps in picking an instance: https://instances.social/
An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon: If there is only one guide you want to read, let this be the one.