Mastodon Quick Start Guide

What is Mastodon?  It’s a free, open source social network for sharing posts and comments with people with similar interests.   It can be thought of as a replacement for Twitter that no one actually owns and controls.   You control what you see, not an algorithm or company with an agenda. 

Here are links to some high quality Mastodon resources: .

1)   Mastodon quick start guide – Mastodon Blog ( is a good primer and includes links to other guides.

2)  <mastodon> in the WELL conferencing system captures interesting discussions over time, as well as introducing you to some of your Mastodon-astute compatriots.   Once in WELL conferencing, type “g mastodon” in the shortcut box (web) or command line (Picospan).

3)  Our users recommend a good intro at Notes from a data witch:   “Everything I know about Mastodon” (

 Your WELL membership includes access to the Mastodon server as well as the Conferencing system.   The same userid and password will work on both.   Here are some basic tips:

  1. Logon URL:
  2. Unlike the WELL, what you do on Mastodon is visible to the world (unless you change your Preferences to unlisted)
  3. The WELL User Agreement now includes a few items specific to Mastodon, but otherwise, the items pertain to both systems.
  4. While the Conferencing system is actively moderated by hosts, our Mastodon system is lightly moderated. This may change as it evolves. 

 How to use Mastodon

We recommend that you first go to Preferences and click on the checkbox for “Enable Advanced Web Interface”. The live feeds (also called “Timelines”) appear in the right column when you log on.  All toots (posts) are displayed in chronological order; there are no algorithms curating your feed.

  • The “home” timeline is toots  by people you follow
  • The “local” timeline is  posts made by WELL people from this server
  • The ‘federated’ timeline is posts from people that WELL members follow. 

How to follow people.  Clicking on a user’s name will bring you to a page where you can click their “Follow” button to see their content in the future.

How to block people.   The three-dot icon will call up options to block or mute another user, along with some other options. See Blocking and muting accounts on Mastodon | Fedi.Tips – An Unofficial Guide to Mastodon and the Fediverse 

 How to migrate an existing Mastodon account to the WELL instance

Here are the procedures for migrating existing accounts to new Mastodon servers. When you migrate your account, your followers will also be redirected to your new home.

Enjoy!    Visit the mastodon conference <mastodon> to learn more and engage in active discussions about Mastodon.

Choosing a Mastodon Client

When you first sign up you are using the web client but there are a lot of other choices.   There are client programs that run on Windows and Macintosh, as well as a large number of mobile apps.

Pointers to more help