First steps into the Mastodon social universe?

At some point, I knew I had to write my version of the “new to mastodon” user guide. Plenty of good ones cover the basics well, so start by bookmarking this page to get back to it later and then explore.

Want a video introduction? The Linux Experiment has a good one: “How to use MASTODON: the COMPLETE GUIDE (join, use, find people to follow, etiquette...)”:

Picking a server (you can switch later effortlessly)

The “official guide to Mastodon” suggests that you should “somewhat carefully” pick up a Mastodon server to join from the “” list. That's fine as long as you find one that looks like a good fit for you.

Congrats on having created a Mastodon account!

Make a nice profile for your new account!

No one likes interacting with a faceless profile. Let people know who you are and what topics (hashtags) you are interested in. You will be surprised by how many people will want to follow you and interact with the content you post.

Now, follow people!

You need to follow at least 100 people; otherwise, your Mastodon feed will look deserted, and you will feel like you hear crickets. Since in Mastodon, there is no algorithm attempting to guess which posts you probably like to see; you need to populate your feed by following people. Some suggestions:

One of the many five stars reviews on the App Store If you are on iOS (or an Apple Silicon Mac) ice cubes has an amazing super-power: you can follow “local” timelines from multiple instances, making small instances feels exactly like big ones. It's the App killer feature! Download and install it, even if you primarily use some other App (it is free and open-source).

If you have a feed that feels too quiet, follow some wrong people. Over time you will make a better selection, but do build a network.


Give people stuff to read!

Set the language correctly in every post. You can set a default language on your Mastodon. Set it correctly when you switch to another language occasionally. Some instances have automatic translations, but for them to actually work, it is important that you inform them of what language you are using for each post.

Use hashtags in your posts! They do wonders for the discoverability of your content! Some people follow certain hashtags, not necessarily the authors that write on those topics, so give them something to work with.

Mobile Apps

If you are on iOS, you will be spoiled with fantastic paid Apps from top-rated authors; look at app store reviews, and you will find one good fit. The best free option is, by far, “ice cubes”.

On Android, I have no idea what your options are. Sorry. I am sure there are some. I heard about “Tusky for Mastodon” being good but never used it.

Desktop user?

Roam with Mastodon plugin

I use the instance site with the “Roam with Mastodon” browser plugin. This plugin gives you the equivalent of quoted retweets on Mastodon.

I heard wonders about “Elk” but never tried it.

Sometimes I use “ice cubes” (the iOS App) on my Apple Silicon Mac... but I am still waiting for a decent native Mac App that beats the web interface...

Are you have a blog or a website?

If you want banners to link to your mastodon account or timeline, look at