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Resources for Mastodon newbies

A partial list of links and tips to help you get started with Mastodon.

Articles and guides

Meet Mastodon

A no-nonsense introduction to Mastodon and the fediverse, and the tradeoffs relative to Twitter.

An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon

More great tips for Mastodon newcomers, including some of the recent in-jokes and history.

Yet another explanation of Mastodon

One of the more concise and starightforward explanations of what Mastodon is and how it works at a high level.

Toot How-To : Intro to Mastodon

Nice introduction for Mastodon newbies, with tips on choosing an instance and what sets Mastodon apart.

What I wish I knew before joining Mastodon

A great user guide outlining some of the UI differences with Twitter and also explaining some of the in-jokes and culture.

Mastodon makes the internet feel like home again

Great article on what Mastodon feels like from a cultural and social point of view. Answers the question of "why Mastodon."

Mastodon: like Twitter, but open and federated

Technical overview for those interested in how Mastodon works under the hood.


Official portal for getting started with Mastodon: community support, finding an instance, swag, etc. Also has a list of known instances.

List of known Mastodon instances, manually curated. Also has an interactive wizard to find an instance to fit your tastes.

Mastodon Bridge

Tool for finding your Twitter friends on Mastodon, also allows your Twitter friends to find you.

Data visualizations

Mastodon Network Overview

Live charts with some data on the overall Mastodon network.

Mastodon information

More live statistics on various Mastodon instances.

Things that may surprise you about Mastodon

You can't do full-text search

Only hashtags are searchable. This is to prevent potential harassment.

You can have multiple accounts on multiple instances

You're not locked in to one instance; many people have multiple "alts." It's a good idea to link your alts in your account profiles so that people know to follow you on both.

Not all favs (likes), boosts (retweets), and replies are necessarily shown

Favs/boosts/replies are only shown if they come from someone who is is either:

  1. a member of your instance, or
  2. a remote user followed by at least one person in your instance.
  3. (some other minor exceptions, such as domain suspension, but you get the gist)

You can click the date to open the toot in a new tab and see the full list of favs/boosts/replies. Any URL (e.g. to a toot) can be pasted into the Search box and then you can reply/fav/boost it.

If you mention a user in a DM, they see that DM

DMs work by being private to everyone @-mentioned in the message. To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation, be sure to use "at-username" or something similar when you want to talk privately about someone else.

Content Warnings can hide text

Content Warnings (CWs) are good for trigger warnings, sensitive topics, topics that may not be of general interest, and hiding the punchline to a joke.

When you reply to a toot with a CW, the "CW" button is automatically selected, so if you want to reply without the same CW you will need to de-select it.

You can post publicly to the timeline or unlisted

This is a subtle distinction, but what most people do is post to the public timeline when they think their post is of general interest (or when an instance is small enough that the local timeline is pretty quiet), and then "unlisted" is used when they think the post may only be interesting to their followers. In either case, the toot is public.


Links and tips for Mastodon newbies






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