Welcome to all the people from India that are joining Mastodon in these days!!
We understand that you are still unconfident with this platform, therefore here you will find some helpful tips to better understand how #Mastodon works:
- There is no such thing as "A" social network called Mastodon! Instead there are thousands of independent social networks called Mastodon Instances.
- Every Instance has his own server, community, rules, admins and moderation.
- Every Instance can interact with users that are on other Instances, exactly like email works (you can send an email from gmail to yahoo, right?).
- Every Instance can choose to silence or completely block another Instance (i.e. because permits bad behaviour)
On Mastodon you have 3 different timelines:
HOME - Like Twitter, shows all the posts of the people you follow
LOCAL - Shows all the posts of the members of your Instance
FEDERATED - Shows all the posts of the people that you follow and also the posts of people on other Instances that are followed by people of your Instance
The Instance you choose is very Important and depending on it your experience on Mastodon, the people you will see and the community talk will be very different.
On https://instances.social/ you can easily search instances based on language, interests and some badic policies. The suggestions about Instances on this website are more detailed and precise than the ones on joinmastodon.org
mastodon.social is one of the biggest Mastodon Instances. It's the instance created and run by the creator of Mastodon but it's not to be considered the 'official' Mastodon Instance because every single Mastodon Instance has equal power to the others.
The optimal strategy for Mastodon is not to rely on a bunch of gigantic Instances but on thousands of local Instances.
Try to imagine to have at least one Instance for every city, town, school or workplace, with a LOCAL timeline and a FEDERATED one.
Thousand of Instances all connected together and wiyh the possibility to share informations snd block the ones that permits trolling, harrassnent or bad behaviour but giving to every single Instance the freedom to decide how to act.
You can register yourself on multiple Instances and try yo see the difference between them.
Anyway, after some exolorations, most of tbe people prefer to stay on one single Instance that they will choose as their base (it's somehow like trying different telephone companies and then choosing one, but with the difference that in this case an Instance is not only a service provider but also a community made of people, with his own culture and rules).
If you want to change Instance is possible to transfer to the new one all your contacts and followers. This is only available if both the new and the old Instance run the latest version of Mastodon's software
There is no official App for Mastodon.
Instead there are many different Apps.
(Also here the similarities with email are helpful: there is no 'official email App', right?)
The most famous Apps for Android are:
The most famous App fir iOS are:
Every App has is pros. and cons.
Some are free and some not.
Some are also on F-Droid, the open source 'store' fir Android.
Check out which one you find the best for your taste.
- Actually if you search something in the search box of Mastodon, it will find only users or #hashtags
- There is no function like 'retweet and comment'. That's by design, because is a kind of function that is mostly used to harrass people. Yes, I know, it's also useful for legit uses but, well, the point here is to prefer real interactions than boosts.
- There is also no Trending Topics and that's also by design. This confuses most of the Twitter users 😁. In fact, by removing it, Mastodon killed the urge to enhance CERTAIN arguments instead of others and all the 'social noise' about vapor-problems. Mastodon is a place where you can TALK with people without having to know by a TT board that a certain argomrnt is more important than the one you want to talk.
When you check a profile of another user you will see the number of people who follows his and who are followed by him but if you click on.that number you can't see the entire list of people. Instead you can only see the ones of them that you just know.
That's alsi by design and that's also an anti-harrassment tool.
Let's check real life: in real life I dont walk around with the list of my friends attached on my neck and neither of you (hopefully) does.
So, if you cannot discover new people by checking who is following who, how can you find and meet new people on Mastodon?
By t-a-l-k-i-n-g, socializing and discuss things. If you boost a post of your friend you are presenting him to all your other friends and so on.
Mastodon emphasizes real human socialization instead of espionnage-style exploration of profiles
Another thing about the importance of choosing the right Instance for you: I am quite unaware of indian politics, I'm not expert in indian culture and languages and apart some Bollywood movies, I know quite nothing about indian pop culture. And also maby moderators and Instance admins.
If you registered yourself on an a Mastodon Instance run by peoole that is unaware of what you are talking about can lead to problems. If I had to moderate users that are making reference to things that I dont know in.languages that I dont speak, well... you can imagine. 🙃
All the Mastodon Instances that together form the entire 'Mastodon Galaxy' are part of something much bigger called the #Fediverse.
#PixelFed is similar to Instagram
#PeerTube is similar to Youtube
#Friendica is similar to Facebook
#FunkWhale is sumilar ti Soundcloud
#Writely and #Plume are blogging platforms
#Hubzilla is a powerful.multi-functional platform
And there are more...
All of them, like Mastodon don't have a unique central server but are a 'Galaxy' of many Instances.
You can choose between different PixelFed Instances and so on...
But ALL these platforms ('Galaxies') interact with each other forming the Fediverse.
What does that mean?
>>> Imagine tat you can natively receive on Twitter also Facebook statuses. Or decide to follow on Facebook a user that doesn't have Facebook but only a Tumblr account. Or watching on Twitter a video posted on YouTube and comment it with a tweet without keaving Twitter.
Well, that's what the Fediverse is! You have an account on Pixelfed? Ok. I don't use Pixelfed but I can follow you from Mastodon.
A friend of mine does't like Mastodon but prefers the more Facebook-ish Friendica? No problem: he can follow me from Friencica and we can both chat and interact staying each one on the platform that we prefer.
Mastodon is not Twitter
BUT THIS ALONE WILL NOT HELP...
...if you are still tangled in a Twitter-mindset!!
Are you still searching for the Trending Topics that will impose to everyone what is the thing about whom you "must" talk today?
Are you searching for "people to follow" instead of "people to interact with"?
Are you still planning time wasting things like hashtag wars instead of doing something real?
Are you searching for emotional and social gratifications by the number of retweets you received?
Are you still judging a post by the number of likes that received?
Are you still writing '"cool lines posts" for obtaining likes insted of writing interesting posts that stimulates discussion and interaction?
If so, pkease pay attention: there is still much Twitter INSIDE YOU.
(It takes some time to heal 😉)
Thus being on a Mastodon Instance you can still mantain some relation with your previous Twitter account.
With this services you can:
1) publish your tweets on Mastodon
2) publish your toots on Twitter
I strongly suggest to use only the second option, but that's my personal opinion.
Another thing you can do to help Twutter users to come to Mastodon is to use your complete Mastodon account address (name@instance) as your Twitter name
Here on Mastodon you will not receive notifications like '40 people liked the post you boosted' or 'john is tweeting about this' or 'laura and mike are now following hannah'
Nobody here will say to you what you 'must' read or who you 'must' follow.
Here nobody cares so much about the 'success' of a post.
You are advised abou how many people will 'star' or boost your post and that's it
To know how many times a certain post was boosted or 'starred' you must click on it. But there is no emphasis on it and in fact nobody really cares.
What's important, here, is to interact in real discourses and... who cares about 'points' received from peoole that don't interact.
Being Mastodon an open source software every Instance administrator can modify it to meet the needs of the people on that Instance.
For example: as some of you have notices, my posts can be longer than the standard 500 digits. That's because recently the community on my Instance, decided to add more digits to meet the fact that we engage often complex arguments that needs longer explainations.
Another italian instance called Cisti that's very centered about reducing competition and #gamification on social modified the software so that their profiles don't show anymore the real number of their followers. If a user of Cisti has 3000 followers, his public counter will say that they are 42.
(Why 42? You'll guess 😉)
If you want to suggest to somebody to read a certain thread on Mastodon you can boost it or interact directly in the thread and call the account of the person that you want to join the discussion (Ok, @Zid1o88@mastodon.social ?😉)
Mastodon decided to not implement the 'retweet and comment' function because is mostly used for harrassment and also because it leads to talking AROUND a thread without taking part of it.
Posting the link of a toot is also ok but remember that this will work correctly only from desktop. On smartphones, unfortunately, clicking on.the link will bring you outside the App to the browser.
Also, always remember to write the COMPLETE account address of users.
@name wil work for peoole on your same Instance, but if you want to interact with people based on other instances the format is @name@instance
BLOCKING AND SILENCING
If the admins of Instance1 BLOCK Instance2, the users of Instance1 cannot interact the users of Instance2
If the admins of Instance1 SILENCE Instance2, the users of Instance1 can still privately follow and interact the users of Instance2, but those interactions (like boosts) will not be seen by the other users of Instance1
To be more clear: BLOCKING is used for instances that permits horrible things and behaviours and SILENCING is used for instances that your Instance tolerate but doesn't appreciate so much.
The same things are appliable to users.
Also you, as simple user, can decide to block or silence (for your eyes only) other users and entire Instances.
MOVING TO A DIFFERENT INSTANCE
In the last days many new users expecially from India, arrived on Mastodon by signing up casually on Instances that are very different from what they need (for example Instances that promote veganism are now flooded by pictures of Tikka Masala Chicken 😅). Therefore it can be a goog idea to move to a different Instance.
If your account is already big, with many posts and followers that you want to keep dont worry: you can move 'em on the new Instance.
STEP 1: Find a new Instance that fits your needs. https://instances.social/ is the right place to do it. Also, many people signs up on mastodon.social that is ok but, in my opinion, by lacking a true 'local' identity may not be the best place when you want to discuss indian-specific topics. AFAIK most of the new users are signing up on >>>
>>> the Instances:
(I am not suggesting you that these are better than others, but simply reporting what some new users said)
STEP 2: Export your posts, followers and silenced users list and import them in the new account as explained here: https://blog.joinmastodon.org/2019/06/how-to-migrate-from-one-server-to-another/
If you need help on this, please contact admins and users of the Instances that you signed up. Please note that if obe of the two instances is using an old version of Mastodon software, this process can work only partially.
THE POST'S PRIVACY
When you post a message (toot) you can choose between 4 types of posting:
PUBLIC - Your post is public, appears on public timelines and everybody can see it
NOT LISTED - Your post is still public but doesn't appear on timelines. People can read it only if they are cited in it or if they go to your profile and scroll your posts
FOLLOWERS ONLY - Your post is still half-public because only your followers will see it. At their eyes it appears as a regular public post
DIRECT - Your post is private and viewable only by the people cited inside the post.
Anyway remember that Mastodon is designed to spread discussions and not for privacy: your Instance admins are capable to read all your messages, included the direct ones.
For encrypted messaging there are other platforms like https://matrix.org
THREADS AND RAMIFICATIONS
A thread can evolve in a sort of 'tree' because people will reply and counter-reply on different posts. On the following picture you see a thread that, from a single post, evolves in four different branches:
Twitter users are quite used to it but if you arrived here from different platforms (i.e. Facebook) that can be a little bit confusing 😄
MOVING TROUGH RAMIFICATIONS
If you want to read a thread that is highly ramificated, the most important concept to understand is that the order of the different posts will be rearranged depending on which post you select.
Lets make some examples. If you want to read the previous thread and you select the first toot, all the following posts will be rearranged in chronological order (see picture)
HARASSMENT & MODERATION
Many new users just arrived here simply following the notion that 'on Mastodon there is no harassment' but not knowing why abd how does it work to maintain it so.
Therefore when some of this new users sees a couple of trolls they tend to say that 'there is no difference with Twitter' without further exploration of that.
Let's clear a point: the only way to make social media platform that is 100% harassment free is to give to the users zero liberty and to moderate every single posts before it's published!
Mastodon is famous for his anti-harassment environment not because there isn't any on it, but because 1) his structure permits a series of efficient and immediate actions against bad accounts/Instances and 2) most of the Instances are run by communities that actively work to maintain Mastodon clean.
Therefore bad accounts don't last long on Mastodon.
Also for that it's extremely important that you sign up on an Instance where you can easily interact with admins that can communicate in your native language, shares your culture and political views and are capable to understand subtle things that are quite impenetrable for somebody that doesn't know how things works where you live.
With the help of others, the previous thread had evolved in a real Mastodon Instructions site.
It's still under construction, but you can still see it here:
@Ca_Gi this is so important, it really sucks to have to explain to a moderator all the reasons behind why a post deserves to have action taken against it. Better to make sure you're on the same page in the first place and trust that they'll have your back.
@Aleums Exactly! That's one of the main reasons to promote the birth of more local, community-driven Instances!
By relying on huge generalistic Instances, users will miss the most groundbreaking characteristic of Mastodon.
I will not say that big Instances are bad, but they could never give you what a local one will do.
Try only to imagine to reside on an Instance run by people that you know by person and that decides their policies together with you.
@Ca_Gi my friend, you get it. You've made some really great posts outlining the core philosophy of this platform recently, thank you so much for that!
@bharatvarma Thanks. Pixelfed is more similar to Instagram than Flickr.
You can just follow Pixelfed accounts here, from your Mastodon account, and interact with them.
By doing so you interact with Pixelfed users as they were Mastodon users (their posts will appear on your TL like toots and so on).
But if you want to use all the Pixelfed functions you have to sign up on a Pixelfed instance. Here you find a list of them: https://the-federation.info/pixelfed
Just came across this. Thank you for such an informative thread.
Have a question. If Inditoot refuses to moderate hate speech why that instance exist on Mastodon? Bit confused here.
As discussed in the thread above, instances/servers are operated completely independently - there is no rule that says "To set up a Mastodon instance you have to moderate hate speech and Nazis".
It might feel like this is a rule, but it's simply a community norm around here, enforced collectively by boycotts.
@Sangeeta Well, the 'existing on Mastodon' concept should be reformulated.
Masrodon in an open technology shared by thousands of independent social networks (the Instances) that everyone can install ob his server freely. All this Instances are connected together. Mastodon.social, the one you're on, is just one of them.
So there is not a single entity called Mastodon but a Galaxy of independent Stars (Instances).
Also, every Instance can decide to block other ones.
Those Instances will continue to exist, but wouldn't interact anymore with the ones who blocked them.
Is like saying that Yahoo blocked every interactiin with Gmail. They will be both on the 'email Galaxy' but Yahoo users will not interact anymore with the Gmail ones.