Some Mastodon Tips

I’ve been full-time on Mastodon for a week or three now and don’t really use Twitter anymore. I check there every now and then, but I don’t follow anyone or post there.

In my time on Mastodon, I’ve noticed some things that are very similar to Twitter, but also a few things that are a little bit different. Here’s a few notes if you are just wading in.

  • If you are on an instance that is not “general” and aligns with your interests, then the Local Timeline is worthwhile to look at. You can find new people to follow or at least see everything that is posted across your entire instance. If you are on a huge instance like mastodon.social, it’s not as great.
  • The Federated Timeline is a little bit bananas. If you were on Twitter back in 2006-2007, then you might remember that you used to be able to just watch literally ALL the tweets go by. The Federated Timeline is like that and it’s exactly what you would imagine.
  • DMs are different than on Twitter. If you have a DM conversation going between you and someone else, and then you mention a third person, they get pulled into that chat and can see the previous messages in the conversation. So be careful with that.
  • Posts (sometimes called Toots) have different options between public and private. You can post public posts, unlisted (like public, but they don’t show up in searches), followers only and @mentioned only.
  • Hashtags really matter on Mastodon. Search is generally best with hashtags so if you want your posts to be found, sprinkle a few #hashtags through your #posts and enjoy some increased #engagement.

I’ve noticed significantly more conversation happening on Mastodon. I’m pretty sure that the majority of Twitter users don’t read or even see a lot of the tweets of the people they follow thanks to the algorithmic view that Twitter forces on users.

It’s also clear to me that a high percentage of Twitter followers aren’t even there anymore. You might have 200 followers, but 100 of them no longer use Twitter, and when you Tweet, perhaps ten of your followers actually see what you posted.

On Mastodon, it’s far more likely that a higher percentage of your followers are actually using the service and will also actually see your posts.

James Koole @jameskoole