Let's start on Mastodon

Harry van den Bergh
3 min readJan 20

I have been on Twitter since 2008. But now after almost 15 years, I have moved to Mastodon. Just like millions of others. And I can say it is a pleasant experience. A higher level of engagement (it's comparable to Twitter in the early days), less toxic, and no ads or algorithms. And with my background in open source, absolutely love the fact Mastodon is an open-source platform.

There has been some talk about Mastodon being more complex, given it is distributed. But there are so many apps, and supporting websites for Mastodon now, that it's actually quite easy to find your way around. Let me give you a bit of help to start.

Create an account.

First step is to create an account. You create an account on one of the Mastodon servers (or instances as they are called) These could be a server like mastodon.online or mastodon.social. Or a specific one in your country, like mastodon.nl in the Netherlands. There are also instances with specific interests like music, journalism, or technology. A complete list of instances can be found here https://mastodon.help/instances/en Actually it doesn't make much difference which one you pick, as you can follow people from any server. Simply type the name of a server in your web browser and create an account.


One reason to spend a little more time on finding the right server is the local timeline. On your home timeline you can see the posts (or toots) from the people you follow. But on the local timeline you see all posts from people on that same server. That might be an easy way to find people to follow. There is also the federated timeline, which includes all posts from instances your instance is linked to. But given the volume that can be a bit overwhelming.

Find people to follow

Once you have your account, you can start following people, posting, and reacting. If you are (still) on Twitter, you can check which of your Twitter following is on Mastodon. A lot of people have included their Mastodon handle on their Twitter accounts. A Mastodon handle includes your instance name, so looks…

Harry van den Bergh

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