One Week On The Fediverse

September 1, 2018

Mastodon Elephant

Update 12/28/2018: Removed link to trblmkr.net which was retired a few months ago. My new personal instance is micromookie.com, you can find me there being social.

So, last week I setup my own Mastodon instance, trblmkr.net and I have been hanging out on the Fediverse since then. Here are some thoughts I have about the experience so far and some tips for people new to the Fediverse.

  • You don't need your own instance to join the Fediverse. I actually signed up with mastodon.social a few weeks before setting up my own instance. I quietly lurked on mastodon.social to see what things were like before jumping all in. If you're not interested in setting up and maintaining your own instance, that's all good. There are thousands of instances to join. If you want to take a peek inside the instance without signing up, Mastoview is a great way to take a look.
  • When you join the Fediverse, you'll have to seek out people to follow. When I got my instance setup, it was silent, there was no firehose, nothing. I had to go looking for people to follow and interact with. Unlike Twitter which goes out of its way to "suggest" people to follow, there's none of that in the Fediverse. It's what made starting up in the Fediverse so much fun for me. I follow a lot of people and see their statuses in my main feed. If they're interesting and if they share the same interests as me, then I will keep following. If not, I'll unfollow. It's nothing personal. After finding some interesting people to follow, I started looking at who they were following to expand.
  • There are a lot of genuinely friendly and nice people in the Fediverse. I've had more interesting conversations and interactions in my first week in the Fediverse than I have had in my years on Twitter. It's really refreshing to see this kind of interaction.
  • If you are on Twitter (aka. "the birdsite") and are on the Fediverse, link both accounts at the Mastodon Bridge so that people can find you.
  • I was happy to find some old friends on the Fediverse the first day I joined.
  • There is a general lack of celebrities, corporations and bots on the Fediverse. This may change in the future (especially on the bot front), but for now, it's refreshing to have real people who are more interested in conversation than in one-way promoting of things.
  • The web UI for Mastodon is a lot like Tweetdeck. It's multi-column and can take some getting used to if you're used to the single wide column UI of Twitter. I had used Tweetdeck before and didn't have much of a "getting used to it" curve with the default Mastodon UI, but if you want to have a single column interface there are two different places that you can get it -- authorize it to the instance that you're on and you can use them for using the Fediverse on your instance. Halcyon gives a user a near replica Twitter UI. Pinafore is less Twitter replica, but is still very fast and useful.
  • If you're curious about the Fediverse, Mastopeek is a really nice tool to take a look at different instances.
  • On iOS, I use Amaroq on my iPhone as a Mastodon client. Since there's no Amaroq for iPad, I use Tootdon on my iPad Pro. Both are great, I do like Amaroq a lot though. I also tried Tootle which was nice also.
  • The whole feel of the Fediverse reminds me of the days of BBS's. I used to run one and it was fun back then, being able to socialize like this -- I ran Waffle which was super fun to do.
  • Running my own instance allows me greater control over what I can block and allow. This nice if I need it in the future.

This it for now. It has been a fun week on the Fediverse.


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