Any attempt to describe a social media platform by comparison to another is bound to fall short. Having said that, Mastodon is a little bit like using Twitter through the filter of that friendly, queer crafting Facebook group your housemate raves about!
First things first
Mastodon is made up of individual, federated servers (or 'instances' as they're known in Mastodon land) and is free to join. It is a non-profit organisation, which means it operates for the benefit of the people not stakeholders, and its progressive ethos matches very well with our own at SCM. There are no ads, no algorithm, and no company who own the platform.
The first thing you'll do when signing up is join a server. We hope you'll join us on the SCM server
, which will make it easy for you to find other SCMers and build community directly. Once you're signed up, you'll notice there are three feeds - Home, Local, and Federated. Your Home feed shows you posts from everyone you follow, both from the SCM server and other servers. The Local feed shows you what other people who have joined our server are talking about (It's sort of like having our own Twitter circle or Close Friends Instagram story). And finally, the Federated feed will show you posts from an even wider circle.
How to find your people
You can follow people from any server, not just the one you're hosted by, and you'll want to follow lots of people to make your feed interesting as there is no algorithm to show you content it thinks you'll like. To find specific people to follow you'll need to search for their full username in the search bar. Doing an #introduction post with hashtags of all your interests will help people find you and give them confidence to follow you.
You also can’t search post content on Mastodon, which is really helpful for keeping trolls at bay. Instead search using hashtags to find people who are talking about your interests.
Be aware that there is a strong follow back ethic here - having an even follow/followed ratio is much more the thing than looking like a big fish in a small pool.
We really vibe with Mastodon's accessibilty features and their focus on making it a safe space for people to spend time in. For example, there’s a content warning feature built in to the posting mechanism, which you can use for anything that people might find upsetting. Long posts which clog up the timeline can be hidden behind a title card - just click on it and the whole post will show. This really helps to avoid doom scrolling! Alt text for images is standard practice and people will ask you to add them if you forget. Again, it’s built in to the posting mechanism as there are lots of visually impaired users in the community who have built this platform.
The pace tends to be gentler than Twitter, and people are much more here for conversation than combat. Comment generously, as this is a place for relationship rather than grandstanding.
'Likes' tell the poster that you like their content, but won’t boost it for others to see. Instead reblog anything interesting to share anything directly.
Have a look at the different app options - lots of people don’t get on with the official one, and you might find one whose style works better for you.
We've found Mastodon to be a kind and wholesome space, and we want to set up camp here. If you're a student or recent graduate and would like to join the SCM server get in touch for an invite link!