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New people, welcome to Mastodon and the Fediverse!

Here's how to get started:

1. Find some people to follow over on @FediFollows, and through Trunk (communitywiki.org/trunk)

2. Find out your Mastodon/Fediverse address so you can share it with friends (mstdn.social/@feditips/1072482)

3. Invite people to join you on here by telling them to go to joinmastodon.org and click on "Get Started". It doesn't matter if they join a different server because the servers talk to each other (here's a bit more of an explanation mstdn.social/@feditips/1070214)

4. Find out what the Fediverse is (mstdn.social/@feditips/1070440)

5. Find out why Mastodon being on so many different servers/instances is a really good thing (mstdn.social/@feditips/1070837)

6. If you see anything nasty, you can report it to your friendly server admin (mstdn.social/@feditips/1065401)

7. You can (sort of) verify your account if you own a website (mstdn.social/@feditips/1062741)

If you have any questions, @ me or DM me!

@FediFollows

8. If you're blind or partially sighted, there's a guide specifically for screen reader users at starshipchangeling.net/mastodo

9. There is no overall owner of Mastodon, it's a collection of thousands of independent servers each with their own owner and set of rules.

10. There are no venture capitalists or cryptocurrencies or tokens or coins or web3 or NFTs or anything like that on Mastodon. Servers are entirely owned and paid for by their admins, and they rely on donations to keep going. Please be nice to them, they're doing you a favour by building this lovely corner of the internet.

11. Mastodon instances and Mastodon servers are the same thing. It doesn't matter which word you use.

12. Don't worry too much about which server you choose, you can always move your account later (see here for details mstdn.social/@feditips/1079394).

13. You can even set up your own Mastodon server if you like. You don't need any tech skills if you use a managed hosting service like masto.host or federation.spacebear.ee, who do all of the techy stuff for you.

14. You can find apps to use at joinmastodon.org/apps. You do not have to use the official apps, if you don't want to! There are lots of great unofficial apps which actually have more features than the official ones. You can see the unofficial apps on joinmastodon.org/apps by scrolling down to the "third party apps" section.

15. Servers listed on joinmastodon.org/communities have all signed up to a covenant (joinmastodon.org/covenant) which promises responsible moderation and reliable service.

16. Write something about yourself in your profile and add a picture. You don't have to use a real name or photo, call yourself whatever you want and use any picture you want.

17. Write an introductory post about yourself and give it the hashtag , so that people can say hello to you

18. Make sure you use hashtags in public posts so they can be discovered more easily. Most searches on Mastodon depend on hashtags.

19. Posts on Mastodon are also known as "toots" (because that's the noise an elephant makes, and the Mastodon is an ancient ancestor of the elephant 🐘 ), while retweets here are "boosts".

20. Another good beginner's guide is @noelle's "Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon" at github.com/joyeusenoelle/Guide

@feditips @noelle Hi! I'm new here. Using the iPhone app as I do not own a computer. How do I change my bkgrnd photo? There's an option to change my avatar photo but only that. TIA! 👋🐙

@NakjiKiss @feditips That's a really good question, and I don't know the answer! :o Do you mind if I boost this in case someone else knows?

@noelle @NakjiKiss

You could log into Mastodon through your iPhone's web browser and change the photo through the web interface?

@NakjiKiss @feditips @noelle Happy to help! Click on the settings cog. Scroll down to "The Boring Zone" and tap Account Settings. Tap Continue. On the next screen go to the top right and tap the burger menu, then pick Profile. Scroll down to "Header".

@spicytamazon @feditips @noelle Thanks a million!! It worked! ❤️ Happy camper, now! 🐙👋

@feditips
My question is, let's imagine I want to have my own server, right?
I follow the steps and so on.
Now, here it is, having my own server is free, or should I pay for it?
Thanks.

@Piky_Nieves

There's a monthly fee, starting from about 6 euros or 6 US dollars for the smallest server. If you split that between a few users (you and some friends or family) and you're down to a dollar or two per person per month. On larger servers the costs are just tens of cents per user per month, it is not a huge amount.

Owning your own server means you control the server, you set the rules and no one is spying on you.

On Facebook, Twitter etc, it's "free" but they cover their own costs by spying on you.

@Piky_Nieves @rohmatsb

If you're a techy person you can install Mastodon yourself using the official instructions at docs.joinmastodon.org/admin/pr

An easier option is to use @yunohost to install it through the Yunohost operating system.

The easiest option though is to use managed hosting services for a fee.

Question About Mastodon 

@feditips Question, so each Mastodon server can only be one server? Or it has some internal technology to load balance the activity on different servers? It seems unscalable to require an instance just be one server, since people typically trust larger and well-maintained instances.

@czhang03

An instance can be physically any infrastructure that its owner chooses, so that might be lots of computers.

The "server" name for instances is not meant to be a physical description. It's used becuse non-technical people aren't familiar with the term "instance", but they might have heard of servers when using Minecraft or whatever.

@feditips Where are the timeline language filters on the web Mastodon? I saw them but can't refind them now.

@skry

On the web version they are at:

Preferences > Other > Filter Languages, select the languages you want to see and click "Save changes"

You should be able to access account settings on the apps too, I believe the official app has it in the "Boring Zone" of the settings page.

Somebody should probably go through that Trunk and update it. A lot of those accounts either don't exist any more or haven't been used in years. That's not a good first impression for newcomers looking for new and interesting people to follow.

@feditips @arth Ah, well ... :ms_sweat_smile: I certainly did some of that at some point ...
Right, I'll get on it. That said, if you recall any of these dead accounts yourself, please do pass them on — there's 800 accounts or more to go through, after all.

@Mayana @arth

Sorry, I didn't mean to dump work on you, meant to say it hadn't been just neglected for years!

@feditips Oh, no, that it hadn't been. But it has definitely been more than a year since I did the last full-database search. I went through some accounts since then, but not all.
There is no need to apologize. I did need a kick in the butt. I should get around to it; not like anyone else will.
@arth

@feditips @FediFollows I think a good advice is to find people to follow on local and federated timelines… That is what they are for!

@feditips @FediFollows I have questions. A) I created a new account called Debose but I can’t sign into it because it signs into this old one instead. I was going to merge them but couldn’t finish the process. They use the same email address I’m guessing? B)I found that out because I’m in the Photog community and the local timeline never loads on the app but it loads on the website. I signed out and couldn’t get back into Social and the timeline still won’t show for Photog.

@feditips @FediFollows the onboarding process is the most confusing I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve joined twice apparently 😂

@jeremydebose

Believe me, it does get easier and will make sense if you stick with it 😁

Should also say the number of people joining Mastodon today is many times what it normally is, so timelines will be a bit wobbly anyway for the next few hours.

About your issue:

Every server on Mastodon is independent and has its own list of users. But the servers talk to each other and let their members interact across the entire network.

When you sign up on a server, you get an address that has two parts, your username and your server name.

The one you're posting from now is @ jeremydebose @ mstdn.social You can only use that account to sign in on mstdn.social, but once you're signed in you can interact with people from any server, including photog.social.

It's kind of like email: if you have a Gmail account you can communicate with Yahoo Mail addresses. You only need to sign up on one server in order to interact with other people on other servers.

Does this help? Feel free to say no 😆

@jeremydebose

It's also like telephones.

If you buy one phone from one provider, you can call anyone anywhere, regardless of which provider they use, even if they're in another country.

The server you join is the equivalent of your phone company. The other servers are like other phone companies.

Because Mastodon servers talk to each other, you only need to sign up on one server, and that is enough to give you access to the whole network.

@feditips @jeremydebose
Sorry to hijack!
I tried joining some other instances but it's saying my log in details for this acct are not valid.
Is this due to huge numbers making it buggy right now, or am I doing it wrong?

@LizEllisPhD @jeremydebose

Your account is only valid on the instance you signed up on.

Trying to log in on other instances would be like trying to sign in to Yahoo Mail with your Gmail account.

You don't need to join other Masto instances to interact with them, in the same way you don't need to sign up on Yahoo Mail to send emails to yahoo addresses.

For example, I'm on mstdn.social and you're on mastodon.social but we are able to interact here, because Mastodon instances talk to each other.

I hope this is clear, let me know if it's not, I know this is a lot to take in if you're new here! 😄

@feditips
maaaaaybe!

So if I want to have a look at say @mas.to, to see if I like it and want to hang there, I need to create an @mas.to account?

I'd like to check out other instances to find a cool place to hang out, but can't see into any of them other than @mastodon.social.

@LizEllisPhD @mastodon.social

No no, it's exactly the opposite. The instances aren't separate forums, they're more like ways into a single common forum.

I'm not on mastodon.social, but you can see me and I can see you. Mastodon servers talk to each other, so it doesn't really matter if people are on different servers, they can still interact.

Here's another analogy: with one single mobile phone, you can phone anyone, on any provider, in any country. This works because phone providers have connected their networks together.

Mastodon is the same, but for social media. Even if we sign up on different servers, we can interact and join in with discussions together because the servers are connected into a single network.

If you want to find interesting discussions the best way is to search for hashtags, follow interesting people, post public posts with hashtags. If you're logged in through the website there's an "Explore" section with popular posts from 24 hours.

@feditips @FediFollows I think I might be getting the hang of it! (I'm old and slow). Thank you for your patience!

@LizEllisPhD @FediFollows

Not at all, really glad if I can help!

There is no such thing as a silly question here, please do let me know if I can help more 👍

@feditips yep. But I have 2 that show as on social. They saved into my iCloud passwords. But it makes me sign in with email and neither email address gets me into it. One is gmail(old account) and one is iCloud using hide my email (new). Somehow I think iCloud’s Hide My Email feature messed up my login and I have no way to find it.

@jeremydebose

Aahh ok...

If both of the accounts are on mstdn.social, the admin should be able to sort it out as they would have tools for altering user details etc.

DMing them would be the best course of action.

Mstdn.social is run by @stux, try messaging them. It may take a bit longer get a reply right now though, as there's an unprecedentedly large tidalwave of new members joining 😁

@feditips feels like I went down the wrong wormhole and can’t get back out 😂😭

@jeremydebose

Honestly, it does make sense once you get used to it :blobcatgiggle:

The whole internet used to work like this, as did communications before it, because it is quite useful to be decentralised.

I did a little thread about this some time ago:

mstdn.social/@feditips/1070837

@thetreezz @FediFollows

There is already a bookmarks section! 👍

If you log in through your server's website, you'll see it in the "Bookmarks" link on the right (on the mobile website you need to press the three line menu icon to see Bookmarks).

The unofficial (aka "third party") apps also support bookmarks.

You can add a bookmark to a post by clicking on the "..." and then selecting "Bookmark" or clicking the bookmark icon 🔖 if there is one.

The official apps don't yet support bookmarks, but I assume that's because they only launched a few days/weeks ago. There are a lot of features missing from the official apps which are in the unofficial ones.

@feditips @FediFollows Wonderful! Thank you! I have lots to learn!
🙏🏼😁

Someone help I can’t find Gifs Galore on here.

@Stephenshiels @FediFollows

The best starting point is probably:

joinmastodon.org/communities

There are thousands more servers out there, the above link is just a small selection of the most reliable ones.

("Servers", "instances" and "communities" are all the same thing.)

@Stephenshiels @feditips

You can't log into another server with your current server's details.

Servers are independent with their own member lists.

However, the servers talk to each other which means you can interact without having to join any other servers.

For example, I'm on mastodon.online while you're on mastodon.social. But we are able to interact as if we were on one network.

It's like email, you don't need a yahoo account to send mail to a yahoo address.

@Stephenshiels @FediFollows

It's like telephones: if you wanted to call your friend, you wouldn't care what provider he uses, you'd just call him.

If you want to interact with someone on here, it doesn't matter what server they're on, you just interact with them.

@feditips @FediFollows Hi - having issues following people as when I try it’s not accepting my profile name ie @seastoe Help?

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Mastodon 🐘

A general-purpose Mastodon server with a 1000 character limit.