This entire text is licensed under the WTFPL Version 2 (http://www.wtfpl.net/txt/copying/)
note: the official documentation is not included in the main body of this list. if you want to read it, you can find it here: https://docs.joinmastodon.org/)
I keep finding myself needing to link people to the same resources on Mastodon, what it is, and how to use it, over and over again. So, to make that ritual a bit easier, I’ve compiled the list you see here — including the links I tend to share with folks, plus some extras that I’ve picked up and think are useful.
QUICK PRIMER and COMMON QUESTIONS
This is a quick primer on some stuff and answers to a few common questions you might have. Feel free to skip or come back to this part later if you just want the list.
“What is the Fediverse?”
The Fediverse (a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”) is a system of interconnected servers used for web publishing and file hosting, such as blogging or social networking. If you’re on one server (called an “instance”), you can connect with most any other instance or platform that integrates into the Fediverse, such as Mastodon and PixelFed. An analogy I like to give is if you could use a Twitter account to follow people on Twitter, but also to friend people on Facebook, subscribe to channels on YouTube, and reply to posts on Instagram, all from one account. Everything is connected, and no individual person or company controls the Fediverse.
“What if I don’t like Mastodon? Are there other platforms I can join?”
Absolutely! There’s a whole slew of other platforms for you to join.
Pleroma (https://pleroma.social) and GNU Social (https://gnusocial.network/) are two alternatives to Mastodon.
If you want something close to Instagram, you can join PixelFed (https://pixelfed.org/).
For something like Facebook, look at Diaspora (https://diasporafoundation.org/) or Friendica (https://friendi.ca/).
An alternative for video streaming/hosting like YouTube and Twitch is PeerTube (https://joinpeertube.org/).
Lemmy (https://join.lemmy.ml/) is a link aggregator, akin to Reddit or Hacker News.
And for a more comprehensive list, take a look at the Fediverse Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fediverse#Fediverse_software_platforms
“I’ve joined Mastodon, and I’m on mobile. Are there any apps available?”
Yes, indeed! You can find a directory of apps maintained on the official website here: https://joinmastodon.org/apps
“How do I find an instance? Which instance should I join”
I can’t tell you which instance you should join, as it’s too individual a question, but there is a directory of instances for you to peruse on the official website here: https://joinmastodon.org/communities
And there’s also a very handy search tool for instances located here: https://instances.social/
I say to you good luck in finding your best instance!
1. “What Is Mastodon? (And Why You, A Leftist, Should Be On It)” | video, 9m19s
To begin, we have an informative video from Shonalika (they/them). In my opinion, this is a good intro for anyone, though I should note that it is geared toward leftists. This video should help you get a grip on the basic idea of Mastodon, what it is, and how to use it, and why you might want to use it.
2. “What is Mastodon?” | video, 2m16s
In addition to Shonalika’s video, you can also watch Mastodon’s official introductory video. I don’t personally find it as useful as Shonalika’s video, but the animations are nice, and though it repeats much of the same info, it could still be worth checking out.
3. elise slop’s FAQ and orientation thread | Mastodon thread, 2–3 minutes to read + video, 1m59s
elise slop (she/they) created this useful FAQ and orientation thread for her followers who had come over to Mastodon from Instagram. At the end, there is a short video that explains the organization of your feed on Mastodon and how to find people to follow.
Web Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201111231541if_/https://kolektiva.social/@makegodgayagain/105143825681226190
Video archive: https://ia803408.us.archive.org/35/items/elise-slops-mastodon-explainer-video/19ca848014259db1.ia.mp4
4. Franklin López’s “quick and dirty guide on how to use Mastodon” | video, 2m13s
Franklin López (he/him) made a quick explainer for Mastodon and the Fediverse (or “Dork Web” as he likes to call it). It’s concise, informative, and a good watch for Mastodon newcomers.
PeerTube permalink: https://kolektiva.media/videos/watch/f557abe7-2651-4c41-9d4c-c835ff212ca8
Web Archive: https://ia601407.us.archive.org/4/items/franklin-lopez-how-to-use-mastodon/franklin-lopez-how-to-use-mastodon_720p.mp4
5. joyeusenoelle’s GuideToMastodon | collaborative GitHub project, 20–30 minutes to read
“An Increasingly Less-Brief Guide to Mastodon”
A comprehensive and well-laid out guide to most things Mastodon. Definitely recommend if you want something more comprehensive and in-depth than the other items in this list.
Share link: http://guidetomastodon.com/
GitHub page: https://github.com/joyeusenoelle/GuideToMastodon/
Web Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20201118013600/https://raw.githubusercontent.com/joyeusenoelle/GuideToMastodon/master/Guide%20to%20Mastodon.pdf
6. Your instance | any of the multitude of Mastodon instances out there, as much time as you like
Finally, at the end of the day, the best way to learn how to use Mastodon is to simply use it. Get out there, make mistakes, interact with people on your instance, chat, discuss, argue, meme, whatever! And have fun! Enjoy yourself and get to know people. Branch out and explore other instances. Find people you like; block or mute people you dislike. Be the best person you can be. And, for the love of all that is holy, read your instance’s Terms of Service. Seriously. All of it. At least twice to make sure you understand it. It’ll save you and your instance’s admins and/or mods a lot of headache.
Previous version of this list: https://delvethedragon.medium.com/delves-mastodon-resource-list-v0-2020-11-19-fe6cadec8a6d