Just had someone asking what instances are.

It's really, really simple:

The instance you are on is the site you signed up on.

Fediverse instances are connected, so that people on different instances can interact with each other. (It's kind of like phone network providers, even people using different providers can still call each other.)

Different instances have different owners, different rules etc. If you disagree with how an instance is run, you can move your account (including your follows & followers) to a different instance.

You can see which instance someone belongs to by going to their profile page and looking at the Fediverse address.

For example, FediTips is on the mstdn.social instance.

There's a really good animation from a couple of years ago which explains all this:


Fediverse addresses look like this:

@ username @ instance

So, for example, the FediTips address is:

@ feditips @ mstdn.social

(but without the spaces)

You can @ people with this address on the Fediverse, and it works just like @ -ing people on Twitter.

A Fediverse address is longer than a Twitter address because the Fediverse is made up of thousands of independent instances, so Fediverse addresses have to include which instances people are on.

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You can customise your notifications in Mastodon by clicking on the slider icon in the top right corner of the notifications column.

This lets you choose which events cause notifications, and what kind of notifications you receive.

Also, if you prefer using social media without notifications, you can switch them all off 😌

You can also subscribe to PeerTube accounts through RSS if you prefer.

Go to the channel you want and click on Subscribe > Subscribe Via RSS (or click on the channel's RSS logo).

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If you see a post that breaks the rules on your instance (such as spam, hate speech, doxxing etc), you can report it by clicking "..." below the message. This message goes to your own instance admin, who can block the account.

Optionally, you can also anonymously report it to the instance of the account that posted it. Just click on the toggle switch to do this.

This means the rule breaker's own instance admin can potentially close the account completely.

The Fediverse has its own community-made logo. you can download it from:

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil (colour)


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil (monochrome)

There's no central authority to make it official, but this is the most widely-used image to represent the Fedi. It's as close as you will get to a proper logo.

It's also on some instances as a custom emoji :fediverse:

It was designed by @nestort

Mastodon is part of a family of social networks which talk to each other using the ActivityPub standard.

This network of networks is called "The Fediverse" :fediverse:

You can follow people from other parts of the Fediverse even if they aren't on Mastodon.

For example, the account @pianotv is on PeerTube (the Fediverse's alternative to YouTube).

If you click on the account's avatar, you will see what the account looks like on its home network.

You can add featured hashtags to your public profile, which can be useful for highlighting particular kinds of posts you make.

Visitors can click on the hashtag, and they will see all your posts with that tag.

To feature a tag, go to:

Edit Profile > Featured Hashtags

Then add the tags you want, and click on "Add New". (You can remove a tag by clicking "Delete" next to that tag.)

If you have a favourite Fediverse account that you want to promote to others, you can feature it on your public Mastodon profile.

Go to the profile of the account you want to feature, click on "..." and then "Feature on profile". (To remove, go to the profile again and select "Don't feature on profile".)

You can add as many as you want, but only four random ones will be displayed at any one time. They are visible on your public profile page (you can see this by clicking on your avatar).

Fediverse addresses look like this:

@ username @ instance name

For example, FediTips's address is @ FediTips @ mstdn.social (but without the gaps).

This is because the Fediverse is made up of lots of different instances (instances are the sites where you can sign up).

When you @ someone on here, you have to write the complete address so that your instance knows which other instance to talk to.

Fediverse addresses are visible on people's profile pages.

Fediverse instances are ad-free and don't sell data, instead relying on donations to keep going. If you use the Fediverse regularly, please consider donating to the instance you signed up on.

On Mastodon, you can find out how to support your home instance by clicking on "About this server" in the bottom right corner of the screen.

The page will tell you a bit more about the instance, and usually includes a section on how to donate funds.

Every instance on the Fediverse has its own set of rules written by the people who run that instance.

If you disagree with them, you can move to another instance with different rules.

This is how the Fediverse differs from centralised social media such as Twitter/Facebook/IG, there is no single group or person with power over everyone.

On Mastodon, you can see your instance rules by clicking on the "About this server" link in the bottom left.

If you're posting an image in Mastodon, you may want to choose which part of it is visible in the preview thumbnail below the post.

You can do this by attaching the image with πŸ“Ž , then click on Edit, then move the circle to the part of the image you want to be visible, then click Apply.

(Note: If the image is the same shape as the preview, then the entire image will be visible and moving the circle makes no difference.)

You can customise your notifications and feeds in Mastodon by clicking on the slider icon in the top right corner.

(This works on all feeds including Home, Local and Federated.)

Have you tried browsing your instance's Local and Federated feeds?

Local shows the latest posts from your instance in chronological order.

Federated shows the latest posts from across the Fediverse on accounts that are followed on your instance.

Smaller specialist instances tend to have more interesting Local feeds, because they are quieter and easier to follow.

Larger instances' Local feeds tend to be a bit more of a firehose, with too many posts to keep track of.

You can follow PeerTube channels through the Fediverse from Mastodon accounts etc, but you can also subscribe via RSS instead if you prefer.

Go to the channel you want and click on Subscribe > Subscribe Via RSS, or click on the channel's RSS logo.

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Do you want to discuss something with the person who runs your Mastodon instance?

βœ… To contact your instance's administrator, click on "About this server" in the bottom left corner. This will bring up a page with the admin's Fediverse address and email address.

Each instance has its own admin, who has complete control over the instance. They are the people to talk to if there's a problem or if you have a question or suggestion.

Did you know the Fediverse has an unofficial logo?

βœ… Although there's no central authority to decide an official logo, the most popular unofficial logo for the Fediverse is :fediverse: and you can download high resolution versions from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil (colour) and commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil (monochrome).

The logo was designed by @nestort

Have you tried inviting someone to join you on Mastodon?

βœ… You can invite people to join your Mastodon instance by clicking on "Invite People" in the bottom left corner of the desktop interface. This lets you generate customised invitations to suit your purposes. Share the generated links with those you want to invite.

Many instances which are officially closed to new members still allow sign-ups through invitations from existing members.

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