Hello to all you brilliant new people on Mastodon and the Fediverse!
If you're wondering how to get started on here, take a look at this guide for beginners:
If there's anything you want to know, if you have any questions, reply to this post or send me a message and I will try to find the answer 🤔 (And don't worry if you think it's a stupid question, there's no such thing!)
People new to Mastodon, are you confused by all the different sites and servers you can sign up on?
Don't be, it's really easy!
You know email, right?
With email, you go to an email provider, sign up and they give you an address. Then, when someone wants to email you, you tell them your address. It doesn't matter if they use a different provider, because all the providers talk to each other.
Well Mastodon is the same, but with social media!
You can sign up on any Mastodon server and you'll get an address with that server's name at the end, something like @ username @ server
For example, I signed up on mstdn.social and my address is @ feditips @ mstdn.social
People who signed up on other Mastodon servers can interact with you by @-ing this full address. You can see people's addresses on their profile page (see the attached image for an example).
Mastodon servers are also known as "instances". It doesn't matter which word you use, they are the same thing.
Just to make clear, you can interact with users from other Mastodon servers by putting their address into the search box and pressing enter.
Their profile link will appear in the search results, click on it to see their profile. You can then follow them, read their posts or interact in any other way. Click on their profile's "..." button to see even more options.
See the attached image for an example.
You only need one account to interact with people, even if they are on another server. The whole point of Mastodon is that people on one server can interact with people on thousands of other servers.
Mastodon is part of the Fediverse.
The Fediverse is a collection of alternative social networks which are connected together through a common technical standard called ActivityPub.
People on the Fediverse can follow, comment, like or message each other seamlessly.
For example, the account @craftykat is on a video platform called PeerTube, but you can follow them, watch the videos, give them a like and comment on them without leaving Mastodon. Try it yourself!
Another example you can try interacting with is @Picturavis, which is on a photo platform called PixelFed.
When you use Mastodon, a lot of the accounts you talk to are actually not on Mastodon!
It can take a bit of time to get your head round this, because centralised social networks like Twitter or Facebook deliberately stifle interoperability.
The Fedi is different, no one owns it so there's no restriction on what people do with it. The ordinary user is all that matters on the Fedi 💪
If you're on Mastodon, you don't need to do anything special to interact with other Fediverse platforms.
Their posts will look just like Mastodon posts, and you'll interact with them the same way. You probably won't even notice you are interacting with anything outside Mastodon!
See the attached images below for an example of interacting with a PeerTube video from within Mastodon. The account used in the example is @yesterkitchen, you can try interacting with it yourself if you like.
By the way, to see what a post looks like on its home platform, click on its datestamp at the end of the post. This will open it in a new browser tab or window.
When you're signing up to Mastodon, the first step is to choose a site to sign up on. This is your server (also known as an instance), and your address will have its name at the end.
All Mastodon servers are independently owned and run, but they allow you to talk to people on other servers. Even if there's just two people on a server, you can still follow millions of others elsewhere on Mastodon and the Fediverse from that server.
The easiest way to choose one is from the official Mastodon directory:
All of the servers listed are signed up to a covenant of reliability and responsible moderation (https://joinmastodon.org/covenant).
You don't have to use these, there are thousands of others out there, but these are maybe good starting points for beginners.
Don't worry too much about choosing though, you can always move your account to another one if you like. There's a post about how to do that here: https://mstdn.social/@feditips/107939441820299376
sahilister's mastodon server