Discover more from A Stack by Shannon Kay
Shifting Your Social Media
Shannon's Simplified Guide to joining Mastodon and the Fediverse
So you want an alternative to Twitter, and you’ve heard of Mastodon and the Fediverse, but you’re not sure what to do. Maybe you’re confused, or you’ve tried to join and given up. Lots of more extensive guides have been written. This is meant to help simplify the “getting started” process. You can also find this posted on my blog.
If you want to join Mastodon, I recommend selecting one of the servers from my “short list” below. Small servers are good! Set up an account, then copy your username and paste it into your Twitter bio. Not the link, just the handle, like mine is @firstname.lastname@example.org
All you have to do to browse is go to the main page of your chosen server. Once you’ve signed up on a Mastodon server, you can follow and interact with accounts from any other Mastodon server, as well as many other places in the “Fediverse”.
The Fediverse is what we’re calling all of these federated websites that can talk to each other. Don’t let it confuse you, but there are lots of cool things about that, like an instagram alternative called PixelFed, that you can follow from your Mastodon account.
Finding Your Friends
I told you to paste your Mastodon handle into your Twitter bio, and here is why. You can use software to scan your twitter contacts for Fediverse handles. Pasting yours in the Twitter bio will let them find you!
You will have to authorize your Twitter account to use these. Fedifinder gives you a list of how many users are on each instance and if registration is open or not. Plus, it lets you export a CSV that you can import into Mastodon to follow them all if you want to.
Which Server Do I Join?
I think that choosing a server or “instance” is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for a lot of people who want to try joining the fediverse. I also think it’s one of the most fun things about browsing posts. I love seeing new servers in usernames, and like to go check out the website to see what it’s about!
Here’s a short list of Mastodon instances that I found of interest and thought people might like to join. These are mostly instances that I’ve seen being used by people or promoted as now open and welcoming new members. You can also see a huge list on Join Mastodon Servers, or try the Mastodon Instance Search Engine if you want to look at more options.
Joining a small instance is good! If you end up finding a different instance you prefer later, you can move your account.
I’ve linked to the about pages, so that you can see what they’re about. Clicking “local” will show you only posts from people on that instance.
The “Short List”
Zirk.us - Literature, philosophy, film, music, culture, politics, history, architecture: join the circus of the arts and humanities! For readers, writers, academics or anyone wanting to follow the conversation.
Hachyderm.io - Tech pros and enthusiasts
Historians.social - History
masto.ai - A general-purpose Mastodon server for all languages, owned by Stux.
CupOfTea.social - “Wholesome Content”
BlackTwitter.io - “Black Twitter”
WorldKey.io - Disney fans
Universeodon.com - Where the universe meets Mastodon.
mstdn.games - Gaming
Deacon.social - Christians of all backgrounds and faith traditions to build an inclusive and loving community. “The name deacon (διακονέω) means one who serves or "server," and since this is a server, and our goal is to serve each other, the name is doubly appropriate.”
Artisan.chat - Artisans/Crafters
Vivaldi Social - ( @vivaldi.net) Hosted in Iceland by the makers of Vivaldi Browser. Everyone is welcome to join.
Books and Writing
Bookstodon.com - Welcomes book lovers and all things bookish.
Writing.exchange - A stable, long-running Mastodon instance for writers since 2017.
MastodonBooks.net - Your hub for fun and informative discussion related to books, reviews, currently reading, best in genre and of course authors.
Bookstodon by The Storygraph - Mastodon instance run by The Storygraph
Most Mastodon servers are run by volunteers. If you are able, please consider donating to your instance or joining their Patreon if they have one.
What About Apps?
You may have heard that the official Mastodon app is not good, but recent updates have been made and you might like it. One of the nice things about the open source nature of Mastodon, is that any developer who wants to can make a great app for it. I’m using Metatext and brand new app Ice Cubes on iOS. On desktop, I mostly use the default website of my server and haven’t had a problem. More apps for lots of platforms are listed on Join Mastodon Apps(scroll down a little for the third party apps). Lots of new apps are in development too, including devs who formerly made Twitter clients.
This guide was meant to help you get started, and of course there’s much more to discover if you want to dive in deeper. Here are a some links for more detailed guides and more information.
The Basics of Mastodon by Tom Merritt
How to get started with Mastodon by Mignon Fogarty, aka “Grammar Girl”. This guide has lots of tips for what to do once you’re on Mastodon.
Fedi Tips - An informal, unofficial guide for non-technical people who want to use Mastodon and the wider Fediverse
Followgraph - This tool allows you to expand your connection graph and find new people to follow. It works by looking up your "follows' follows".
Join Mastodon - the official website for the Mastodon project
Fedi.Garden - a fediverse instance directory.
I hope to see you in the Fediverse!