Mastodon what? masthead


Mastodon is a great alternative to Twitter and full of really nice people. It takes a little while to get used to how it works but it is worth persevering.

Social Media used to be called Social Networking

Social media is really dire these days. I was an early adopter of Twitter and have had a Facebook account since 2007. In the early days they were great to connect with people and talk about common interests. I still use Facebook mainly to communicate with family and friends and find out what they are up to but the ads are more intrusive, the posts from people less and we know that their aim is to keep you doomscrolling and putting your eyeballs over the ads to keep the money coming in. I won’t even start about Twitter and the “free speech” cesspool it has become since Musk bought it.

I have always liked the idea of a more democratic internet. I joined Diaspora when it was launched in 2012 with high hopes (as I posted) but quickly realized that although it was nice, if no-one I knew, had similar interests to or were local to me then it was not very social as a network.

A screen shot from Diaspora 12 years ago of my post saying "Hooray, Dispora! I have high hopes." liked by one person.

I joined Mastodon in 2017 and similarly did not engage fully. The account lay dormant until the mass Twitter exodus which coincided with someone making a local server called “Halifax Social” so I moved my account there and suddenly with the influx of new people and a local group commenting on interesting things, I think we reached a critical mass for a social network. I was enjoying interacting and reading posts (called “toots”) and I even volunteered to help out with moderation.

Unfortunately Halifax Social was not able to keep going due to commitments of the administrator but Mastodon makes it very easy to switch “servers” or “instances” so I found my way onto masthead from the Mastodon site

So what is Mastodon?

Mastodon is just one of many services (there is a photo sharing service, a book sharing service, a video platform too) which are part of the Fediverse network.

Mastodon is similar in a way to Twitter but it is different in as much as:

  • there is no central server
  • each server/community/instance sets its own rules and decides how much it wants to moderate your posts
  • there is NO ADVERTISING
  • there is no single owner
  • there are no algorithms deciding what you see – you see everything you choose (people you follow, local posts, #hashtags)
  • most communities do not tolerate hate speech

So how do I use it?

There are some good guides to “getting started”:

How do I find you on it?

I am or you can click on the Mastodon link in the menu above. I post too much about the weather, the wildlife visiting our garden and a little bit of politics. Toot me a DM!

By Matthew Guy

An Englishman in New Scotland. My main social networking account is my Mastodon Follow my posts from any Fediverse enabled site or through the RSS feed

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