How to leave Twitter and switch to Mastodon

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter leaves its users looking for alternatives. Many are considering a decentralized and ad-free Twitter alternative to Mastodon. Here’s how to switch and migrate from Twitter to Mastodon.

Twitter Users follow Elon Musk’s purchases and influence on popular social media platforms. Whether it’s his controversial tweets, his brutal approach to firing half his staff, or his embrace and spread of misinformation and extreme ideology, many users have had enough and are looking for alternatives.

Twitter, like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, is a closed and centrally controlled social network. After years of corporate and billionaire-controlled platforms, people are looking for a social presence over which they can have more control. This desire brings a new dawn to syndicated social media, which functions like email.

Federated social media is decentralized, ad-free, and allows users to follow and communicate with other users across different platforms. This is similar to whether a Twitter account can follow and read posts on Facebook and vice versa. There are several federated platforms that communicate using a protocol called ActivityPub.

The most popular syndication platform is Mastodon, and many people looking to leave Twitter are considering switching to it. Here’s what Twitter users need to know when considering migrating to Mastodon.

How to Register Mastodon

Mastodons are united. This means that anyone can run a server instance (aka node). Most people sign up for mastodon.social on Mastodon’s official servers, but there are many more to choose from. And since the master instance is inundated with new users, I recommend finding a different server that matches your interests. It doesn’t matter which server you choose, as your social profiles can follow and communicate with all profiles on all servers. That’s the beauty of decentralized social media.

You can also host your own Mastodon instance if you want full control over your social presence and want to use your own domain. Running your own instance also brings you closer to what Aral Balkan, activist and co-founder of the Small Technology Foundation, calls the Small Web. It’s a network that puts individuals in control of their online experience, not a handful of big companies.

Coywolf has an instance at coywolf.social which uses (and recommends) mastohost to host it, but there are several other hosting options. Running your own Mastodon server costs about $6/month. That’s $2 cheaper than paying Elon Musk’s blue checkmark, which has now lost its original purpose and meaning.

How to Find and Follow People on Mastodon

The most challenging part of using Mastodon is getting started. Since people can have a social presence on any federated server – it’s decentralized – there is no one place to search for people. However, once you start following others and practice the techniques shared in this article, using Mastodon becomes easier to use and more fun. Similar to Twitter, you might say, but without all the vitriol that comes with Twitter.

Complete your profile

The first thing you should do before anything else is complete your profile. At a minimum, you must include a real name or a pseudonym that people are familiar with, upload a profile picture and add a descriptive bio. Otherwise, it will significantly reduce the number of people who will allow you to follow them and will follow you as well.

If you have a website, I also recommend adding one and then verifying the link. Once the site is verified, a check mark will appear next to it and the background will change to green. This is how Mastodon proves to others who you are.

Mastodon profile with verified site
Jon Henshaw’s Mastodon profile (@[email protected]) with a verified website

Find people to follow on Mastodon

  1. Find Mastodon servers by interest and peruse people through the Explore page. Mastodon.social, indieweb.social and writing.exchange are good places to start.
  2. Find people by subject interest in Fedi Directory, Fediverse Info and Trunk.
  3. Request to be added to the aforementioned list so others can find and follow you based on their interests.
  4. Search and click on a hashtag. Hashtags are one of the main ways to find posts and people with similar interests.
  5. Actively engage with others by following and promoting, liking and replying to posts. The more you participate, the faster your network will grow.
  6. Post aggressively and use hashtags heavily to help people discover your content.
  7. Write introductory articles using hashtags #introduction.

Migrate Twitter friends to Mastodon

Finding friends on Twitter can be tricky. There are several services that can help. The two main web applications are Twitodon and Fedifinder. However, they should be used with caution as they require permission to access your Twitter account. And since these types of tools are suitable vectors for phishing, be more cautious about newer tools that claim they can do the same thing.

The safest and best way to find friends on Twitter who are also using Mastodon is to make sure they know you are using Mastodon through Twitter. If you keep your Twitter profile active, please mention and link to your Mastodon profile in your bio or pinned tweet.

Automatically post Mastodon beeps in Twitter feeds

If you keep your Twitter account active but don’t plan to use it, you can automatically post your Mastodon posts to that account. Mastodon supports RSS, and you can use a service like Zapier to create tweets from your RSS feed.

To get the RSS feed address, append .rss to the end of the profile URL.For example, RSS feeds henshaw.social/users/jon Yes henshaw.social/users/jon.rss.

Other Mastodon Tips

Here are some additional Mastodon tips to help you better experience on the social platform.

  1. If you want to control who can follow you, set the follower preference to Requests.
  2. To keep your feed focused on your interests, feel free to use the mute feature.
  3. If someone annoys you, mute or block them.
  4. If anyone is abusive, please report it. Reports are only sent to administrators and moderators of the instance you are using.

Mastodon Resources

Jon Henshaw

Jon is the founder of Coywolf and EIC and lead author of Coywolf News. He is an industry veteran with over 25 years of digital marketing and internet technology experience. follow @[email protected]

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