Mastodon in the Fediverse: the missing manual(first draft)

Arindam Basu
13 min readApr 28, 2022

Part I: Mastodon

Mastodon is a microblogging platform where you can set up a social network system. Mastodon is a software that is hosted in servers (also known as “instances”). Different instances vary in what they offer, but generally every instance allows users a textbox with 500 characters, emojis to your ideas, and a tweetdeck like appearance. Mastodon is part of a larger ecosystem known as Fediverse, which stands for “Federated” “Universe” (a portmanteau word in fact). Federated implies that there is no “central” control on what people can do in these social media channels, unlike what happens with Twitter or Facebook or other similar social media channels, and universe implies that there is a world out there.

Recently, a lot of people moved from one widely popular centrally hosted social media to Mastodon in particular and Fediverse in general. However, as Fediverse is distinct and different from these centrally controlled social media channels, it can be initially confusing to use this. Besides, many people misunderstand the purpose of Federated media. You can easily move from one instance to another just like you would change email providers and if you do not like the appearance of one instance, you can change to another or to a different app within the Fediverse and you will still not lose a whole lot. I have written this article to explain some of these things.

How to get started

  • Start with the following site:

  • Click a category (say General (47)). This means they have 47 instances that Mastodon software people have identified to be safe starting points. You can click on any one of them and get started. That’s it.
  • In order to set up an account, you will need your email address, select a username, and set a password. Then confirm the account in your email address and you are done. If you have a Twitter account, you may want to use the same username for the Mastodon account as well so that people can identify and follow you later using some tools (see the tools section on this guide)

Let’s say you want to sign up for as your parent Mastodon instance. If you click on that link, you will see…

Arindam Basu

Professor @ University of Canterbury, Doctor, scholar, data scientist, Cantabrian. ENS: arinbasu.eth & mastodon instance: