I searched and didn't see a Mastodon thread elsewhere, so here we go.
While the electric-ship-rocket-car "Space Karen" burns his new $44 billion toy to the ground, decentralized social media platform Mastodon has seen the kind of surge in adoption that has eluded it up until this point.
1. Pick a server to join
2. Create an account on that server
4. Follow @[email protected]
5. Follow other people too I guess
Tweet "Toot" something (yes, they're called "toots").
7. Post your account here, for the rest of us to follow
The following is my understanding of how Mastodon works, and how best to explain it, given my incredibly limited time using it. There may be inaccuracies or just plain nonsense below...
What you need to know to use Mastodon, in a nutshell:
Mastodon is decentralized Twitter, which is less technical or intimidating than it sounds.
Think of Mastodon's "decentralized" nature like your email service: there's no one central service called "Email", but rather you sign up with a particular email provider (Gmail, Hotmail, etc), and you can send and receive messages with everyone else who uses email, regardless of if they're on the same provider or a different one.
On Mastodon, you register an account on a specific server, and you can read Mastodon posts from people regardless of what server they're on. So whereas you might have registered @buttface on Twitter, on Mastodon, if you create your account on the "mastodon.xyz" server, you'll be @[email protected], and you'll access Mastodon by logging into the https://mastodon.xyz website.
How do I choose a server?
This is probably the part that trips people up the most. Many servers are themed around a certain concept (tech, a geographical region, LGBT, etc), though generally, these themes are more about attracting like-minded users than driving people to post a certain kind of content.
Each server can have different rules for use. This largely extends to:
- what content is allowed to be posted by accounts on that server
- what other servers (if any) have been "filtered out" from view of the users of that server
Roughly speaking, unless you go hunting for one of those "freeze peach" types of servers, you're mostly going to find servers which adhere to the Mastodon Server Covenant.
How do I follow someone?
Let's say you want to follow George Takei, whose Mastodon account is @[email protected]. Just search for "@[email protected]" with your Mastodon provider's search bar, and he'll pop right up. (If you don't know what server someone is on, try searching for just their username - ie. if you search for "georgetakei", you'll find @[email protected])