10 Quick Tips for a Great Mastodon Experience

Post from November 8, 2022 (↻ December 24, 2022), filed under (feed).

Mastodon is a great alternative to Twitter: It doesn’t belong to anyone, it appears designed nicely so as to regulate itself, and it enables a stronger sense of community. Mastodon feels refreshingly healthy.

Here are 10 things that can help you get off to a great start on Mastodon.

  1. Use instances.social to help you find a server. (This is the only “hard” part using Mastodon, and this tool makes it easier.)

    (If you’re a frontend developer, consider front-end.social as your server! At the moment, you’ll need an invite, but it’s probably the most suitable Mastodon instances when it comes to frontend development.)

  2. Think about the server you sign up on—but keep in mind you can always change it. You want to be on a server that is maintained, looked after, where there are people, one that suits your preferences. But, Mastodon also allows you to migrate servers, should need arise.

  3. Use Fedifinder to find your Twitter contacts on Mastodon. [Use Followgraph to find people to follow that people follow whom you follow.]

  4. Follow the admins of your and other servers of interest, as a shortcut to learn about interesting posts and people. (Explore the servers list, and each main page will show you the server’s admin.) This is one of a few tips Mike McHargue shared—have a look at the others!

  5. Use hashtags (in moderation). I’m still understanding this piece better, but from what I’ve learned, there seems to be a deliberate reliance on hashtags on Mastodon. The argumentation makes sense, meaning hashtags are more useful again on Mastodon. However, it seems moderation is key, so don’t “hashtag-stuff” your toots.

  6. Try Moa if you want to cross-post to or from Twitter. (I use used it for Frontend Dogma—it has since become unreliable, likely because of the limitations that Mastodon Twitter Crossposter, a similar tool, mentions.)

  7. If you have a website, use toot to enable sharing to Mastodon. Apart from allowing the growing Mastodon community to spread the word on your work, it’s a great way to support and spread the word on Mastodon.

  8. Expect and be patient about hiccups. Servers may be slow, servers may be down, something may not work here, something may not work there. It’s usually a short affair while Mastodon, the network, and the people behind and in it go through some growing pains. Allow them to.

  9. Donate and contribute to Mastodon and related projects. Mastodon doesn’t monetize the platform and its users’ data. Still, many people put time and money into operating it. You can support Mastodon and the various tooling by donating (e.g., Mastodon on Open Collective), or by filing issues or contributing otherwise. The same applies to the people running your server, or Mastodon tooling you use. What’s good for them, is good for you.

  10. Be active. If you join Mastodon, join Mastodon đŸ˜‰ Engage with the community—toot (share) about your work, your hobbies, and your self, favorite (like) what others toot, follow (and unfollow) other Mastodonians (haha, someone beat me to it). That will make the experience greater for you and for everyone. As long as, of course, we all do so kindly and respectfully.

If you’re using Mastodon, too, what would you add? Respond to the toot (or the tweet) for this post!

And, say hi—you can find me at mas.to/@j9t, and Frontend Dogma at mas.to/@frontenddogma. See you around!

Toot or tweet about this?

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!