Mastodon: Is It A Good Various To Twitter?

I’m actually having fun with studying about Mastodon, however am nonetheless attempting to determine how I ought to use it. My fundamental problem has all the time been to steadiness my enjoyment of connecting with others by way of social media with defending my artistic time.

Over time, I’ve seen many shiny new social media platforms come and go, many claiming to be “Fb killers.” Though a few of these DO have rather more refined or simple to make use of interfaces, the principle cause these don’t succeed longterm is as a result of in the long run, a social media platform is simply nearly as good as its neighborhood or communities. I keep in mind embracing Second Life when it first launched years in the past as a result of I cherished the consumer expertise a lot, established a youngsters’s ebook author presence there, hosted chats, and so on. After placing lots of of hours into this platform, I solely ran right into a handful of kids’s ebook creators. Sooooo, I made a decision to go the place the kidlit individuals had been at the moment…and that was Twitter. The rationale SL by no means took off with the kidlit neighborhood? The on-boarding course of required effort and a studying curve.

The takeaway for me? Earlier than investing an excessive amount of effort and time in a brand new social platform, I must suppose exhausting about WHY I wish to do it. To attach with a specific neighborhood? To achieve a wider viewers? For strengthening present relationships? Or simply for the pure enjoyable of it? The latter is necessary BUT I’m additionally conscious of what number of social communities I’m already part of on Discord, Twitter, Instagram, Fb and so on.

As Mastodon exists proper now, I don’t suppose it’ll attraction longterm to sufficient individuals fleeing from Twitter to make it a viable different to Twitter. A LOT of individuals have been signing up these previous few weeks (together with me), however I’ve observed that many are nonetheless attempting to determine how issues work, and if/how they’re going to make use of Mastodon.

I had initially deliberate to make this a primer on how kidlit creators may use Mastodon. I’ve modified my thoughts, nonetheless, since there are already SO many wonderful newbie guides on the market (scroll right down to the top of this publish for an inventory of only a few I’ve discovered). I wish to emphasize there are SO MANY issues to like about Mastodon, and I do plan to maintain utilizing it.

Nevertheless, listed below are the principle causes I’m NOT going to change from Twitter to Mastodon:

Motive #1: No international search or international hashtags

Mastodon was initially created for many who didn’t really feel welcome on mainstream social networks. The emphasis is on neighborhood, NOT outreach and discoverability, and it was designed with this in thoughts. Due to this, , and there’ll seemingly by no means be (one developer who made a world search software accessible ended up taking it offline inside hours of the discharge with an apology, due to backlash from the Mastodon neighborhood).

I wish to emphasize: I’m NOT complaining concerning the lack of worldwide search. Once more, I do know this was on function, to assist defend marginalized communities.

I just like the analogy this How To Mastadon article made, that . So far, most Mastodon situations/servers are run by particular person volunteers, not massive corporations with deep pockets. I might by no means barge into somebody’s front room and complain about how they’ve organized the furnishings. I additionally strongly suggest studying this publish. As I’ve talked about earlier than, I can completely perceive why some longtime Mastadon individuals won’t be thrilled with all the brand new customers migrating from Twitter, and why there are such a lot of separate situations/servers. And as this text predicts, Mastodon customers ought to put together themselves for charges and fundraising campaigns to assist cowl server internet hosting prices that may go into lots of of {dollars} per 30 days per server (I used to be proactive and made a donation to my server host to assist, and encourage others to do the identical).

In any case, the decentralized facet does make it extra of a problem to search out information, conversations, and like-minded individuals locally.

Notice: I’ve been informed by Mastodon longtimers that “server” isn’t the proper time period, however I’m utilizing it right here as a result of it’s much less more likely to trigger confusion for these unfamiliar with the Fediverse. See All the pieces you must find out about hashtags on Mastodon. Getting into a hashtag within the search area is not going to globally search all servers.

Because of @mntle @stonebear and @mojomoomoo for serving to clarify and take a look at this at this time. Searches are native, however will search all posts that your Occasion has seen coming in from different servers. If a publish is boosted on one other server, then that publish is searchable on that Occasion additionally. NOT ALL SERVERS RECEIVE ALL POSTS. @mntle factors out “It might make working a server close to not possible for a small use, because of the drive house necessities.”

He additionally factors out that it really works out higher this fashion, as a result of as a substitute of chasing followers and Web ‘clout’, it encourages us to have interaction with individuals. “Extra conversations means extra interplay. Extra interplay will increase everybody’s means to search out conversations to have interaction with.”

Anyway, there are MANY, MANY situations/servers, every with its personal neighborhood pointers. Some are open to taking part with different servers, some aren’t. I attempted to lookup precisely what number of Mastodon servers there are, however apparently the quantity is at the moment rising so shortly that the same old lists have given up attempting to remain up-to-date. I might guess the quantity is within the 1000’s. [Edited: Mastodon CEO/Founder said there were more than 6,000 on Nov.18, 2022].

Remember that in principle, an Occasion may be run by a single particular person on their laptop computer at dwelling. It might be impractical because the laptop computer would must be open and working 24/7 (due to Tim Aidley and different tech-types on Mastodon who confirmed this). SigmaTank says that the majority would simply be renting digital house from a devoted firm offering it – as their communities get bigger, they’d need to lease more room, which might value more cash…however this may be simpler than bodily upgrading a server. However the takeaway is that it’s best to analysis earlier than selecting/settling into one specific Mastodon Occasion. You’ll have picked an Occasion as a result of the title is cool and a bunch of your mates are additionally on it, nevertheless it’s value taking the time to analysis the place and the way it’s hosted, and if the server admin has a plan IF the neighborhood grows large enough that they want extra sources. Additionally remember that server admin may have entry to all posts (together with Direct messages). This is similar on larger social media platforms, in fact, nevertheless it’s one more reason to ensure the individual or people who find themselves working your Mastodon occasion are dependable and reliable.

Motive #2: Connecting with individuals is usually a problem

Clicking on somebody’s follower checklist, relying on what software you employ (I often entry from my desktop, as I do Twitter), will solely present followers within the checklist who’re additionally by yourself occasion/server. For instance, suppose I wish to see whom youngsters’s ebook writer Barb Rosenstock is following on Mastodon:

Notice that Barb is on (I’m on If I click on on “8 Following” above, right here’s what I get:

Notice that although Barb is following eight individuals, I can solely see TWO individuals present up within the displayed checklist, and that’s as a result of each Erin Entrada Kelly and I are on If I used to be on one other server, I might solely see these customers. Message on the backside says “Follows from different servers will not be displayed.” After I click on on “Browse extra on the unique profile,” I’m logged out and brought to Barb’s fundamental web page, the place I *can* browse individuals she’s following. Nevertheless, as a way to comply with any of them, I must signal again in …. and thus far, I’ve been unsuccessful in signing in by way of the sort of web page (from what I’ve heard, there are others who’ve additionally expertise this tech glitch).

At current, the one means I’m able to comply with individuals on somebody’s checklist who’re NOT on my server is to rigorously copy their consumer id textual content, return to the web page the place I *am* signed in, paste it into my search area. THEN the consumer turns up and I can comply with them. Or a minimum of I can comply with them besides when the occasion/server isn’t overloaded with new customers attempting to hitch. I’ve heard it’s simpler when utilizing the cell app, however I attempt to do most of my social media stuff by way of my desktop as a result of it saves me time AND helps maintain me from being compelled to continually examine social media from my cell gadgets.

Facet observe: Though I’m following Barb on Mastodon, getting into simply her title within the Search area after I’m logged in does NOT flip up the account I’m following, however one other account on one other server. Complicated and considerably irritating.

Motive #3: Simpler to attach with my educator and librarian mates on Twitter (a minimum of for me)

That is the principle cause I’m NOT leaving Twitter.

Twitter has introduced me rather more pleasure than angst, and an enormous a part of the reason being due to with the ability to work together with educators and librarians there. I really like after they tag me of their posts exhibiting how youngsters are having fun with my books, artwork they’ve drawn, and so on., and I take pleasure in responding.

Whereas there ARE some educators on Mastodon, the decentralized nature of the Fediverse implies that it’s going to be extra of a problem for them to simply discover and work together with ebook creators….a minimum of for now. Plus the on-boarding course of may be considerably irritating and time-consuming, and most educators I do know have already got a ton on their plates.

Important cause I’m staying on Twitter is as a result of I discover it the most effective place to attach with educator & librarian mates. IF YOU ARE A KIDLIT CREATOR who’s remaining ACTIVE on Twitter for related causes, pls reply so educators can see? Thx!️

— Debbie Ridpath Ohi (@inkyelbows)

I’ve had a number of worriedly message me and say they’re hoping I don’t depart Twitter. I reassure them I’m NOT leaving anytime quickly.

Motive #4: Mastodon has been a refuge for marginalized communities, and I’m hesitant to alter that

After I first signed up for Mastodon, I instantly crammed out my profile, uploaded a header picture selling my books, and so on. and so on. However then I began doing extra analysis, I realized extra concerning the historical past of Mastodon, the way it’s been round for years, how totally different components of Mastodon have their very own tradition.

As I’m changing into extra conversant in the house (and it positively does really feel extra like being in somebody’s front room than in a public library), I really feel uncomfortable about posting the identical means I might on Twitter. I’m additionally feeling bizarre about what feels (to me, anyway) like barging right into a room the place others have been having fun with one another’s firm and dealing on maintaining their occasion/server a protected place, and attempting to show it right into a Twitter alternative. I’m not the one one who feels this fashion.

“[Twitter users] been taught to behave in sure methods. To chase likes and retweets/boosts. To advertise themselves. To carry out. All of that type of factor is anathema to the general public who had been on Mastodon every week in the past. It was a part of the rationale many moved to Mastodon within the first place.”

– A Mastodon long-timer

I’ve been informed by some that issues are going to alter, that issues NEED to alter, due to the large inflow of customers from Twitter. I can’t assist however fear, although, about how a lot of that is going to have a destructive affect on the marginalized communities for whom Mastodon was a protected refuge to this point.


I’m additionally so conscious that many people haven’t totally learn the neighborhood pointers of servers we’ve joined. On, for instance, the neighborhood guidelines say “No promoting.” Does this imply no promotion of 1’s personal work? Upcoming occasions? Selling mates’ books? and so on. I’ve tried messaging the proprietor of the server however haven’t obtained a reply but.

Motive #5: Do I’ve sufficient time for one more social community?

I plan to remain on Mastodon and maintain exploring it as a result of I DO discover it intriguing and enjoyable. I really like how simple it’s to Filter out content material I don’t wish to see in my feed (politics, as an illustration). I like that Mastodon has personal lists, although I discover it typically takes me a number of tries to have the ability to add a consumer to certainly one of these lists, if I can in any respect. I think it’s due to the large inflow of latest customers proper now. These Lists are going to be important for me, although, for serving to to curate my feed as I begin following extra individuals….not simply kidlit mates but additionally mates from gaming, filking, VR and 3D, and so forth.

I’m having fun with connecting with mates on Mastodon whom I don’t are likely to see elsewhere, however I can see it changing into a tad overwhelming as it’s on my private FB feed if sufficient individuals from totally different areas of my life wish to join on Mastodon. Nevertheless, I take pleasure in my consumer expertise on Mastodon MUCH greater than Fb thus far. I additionally *love* that there aren’t any really personal messages on Mastodon (there are DMs, however @ mentioning somebody in your dialog instantly provides them to your dialog) – as somebody who already will get a ton of e mail, being messaged from many alternative social media platforms can really feel overwhelming and hectic.

I’ve been informed I ought to try Mastodon.artwork to see some nice artwork by gifted illustrators. Factor is, I ALREADY can see nice artwork and work together with illustrators on Twitter and Instagram.

Sure, I can have some topic-specific discussions on Mastodon, however I discover Discord a lot better for that type of factor (an apart: I additionally love that I can flip off personal messaging for a Discord server). Or Reddit.


As a result of I’m genuinely having fun with Mastodon thus far, I’m going to proceed utilizing it by way of Up to now, I’ve primarily been posting issues I’m studying about Mastodon, in case it helps different newbies, however sometimes posting comics or artwork. I’m primarily listening and studying proper now, although, fairly than selling. Once more, I really feel like I’ve simply walked into somebody’s front room as a visitor – I wish to take the time to get to know what sort of neighborhood I’m in, get a way of the etiquette of the others on this specific front room, earlier than I begin speaking an excessive amount of about myself.

The primary cause I’m not leaving Twitter: I nonetheless discover Twitter is the most effective place to attach with my educator and librarian mates. I’ll additionally nonetheless be on Instagram by way of my private IG and my Bookstagram, and Fb Creator/Illustrator Web page. I additionally discover it best to curate what I see on Twitter by way of personal and public lists.

In the long run, it’s as much as you. .

In the meantime, listed below are some sources I’ve discovered helpful for Mastodon learners:

How one can get began on Mastodon (Nov. 16, 2022) by Justin Pot by way of Wired

Fedi.Ideas: An Unofficial Information To Mastodon and the Fediverse: Additionally you’ll want to comply with FedTips on Mastodon!

What Is Mastodon? – Mastodon’s official documentation.