How to Mastodon (Beware, I’m no expert)


  • Every instance is a “server”. Think of it as a cellular service provider. No matter which you use you can connect with people on the others (mostly).
  • Anyone with the knowhow and resources can create an instance.
  • (I think) anyone can join any instance that is accepting new users.
  • Instances seem to be created based on geography, politics, interests, languages, TV shows (really?), whatever you can imagine.

Following Someone

  • If the person you want to follow is on your instance, enter their username in the search bar and click the follow icon. If you’re on the same instance I’m on you would look for @ChrisWalker1964 (yeah, same as my Twitter handle but they’re not connected)
  • If the person you want to follow is on another instance, enter their username and instance in the search bar and then click the follow icon. If you and I are on different instances you would look for
  • You can also follow people from your home and federated timelines by clicking their username and then clicking the follow button.
  • Instance admins (I don’t really know what they’re called) can restrict or block access to other instances. The why of it doesn’t matter, they just can.
  • I assume that in a case where an instance is blocked by the instance you’re on, you can’t see anything from the blocked instance, even if you explicitly follow a user on the blocked instance. Again, this is just an assumption.


  • Home – posts from people you follow
  • Local – posts from people on your instance
  • Federated – posts from your instance and posts from someone followed by someone on your instance. If you click into this one be patient before scrolling, stuff goes by real fast. If you’re not patient I suggest cocaine or amphetamines (not really, they’re bad for you).

Tooting / Publishing

You Toot / Publish

They Toot / Publish

Switching Instances

If for some reason you want to switch to a different instance and keep your connections (followers & followees) you can do this via your account profile. You have to set up an account on the target instance first. The path is edit profile->preferences->account. Scroll a bit until you get to the move accounts sections.

I did this and it brought all my followers over automatically. I ended up having to manually add some of the accounts I follow, but that could be because the instance was slow and I am a bit impatient.

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