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I finally did it. I deleted Twitter completely. I requested my data, move completely to the Fediverse, and checked to see who I follow is on the Fediverse at large. Shockingly, more than half my followers and almost all of my friends have made the switch.
I started using social media less a few years ago anyway, so this wasn’t a big change. In 2022, Elon Musk bought Twitter for a lump sum of money I will never have, which is why I’ve moved platforms completely. Even if you don’t have a Mastodon account, you can still follow me on Mastodon via RSS feed.
My decisions to move completely hinged on the fact that Musk will soon own my data. What’s even more upsetting is the things that have festered after the purchase, and the lack of content moderation he plans to take with the platform. Even so, that’s a glimpse of a whole lot of mess that will be arriving soon and I wanted to get off this train before it becomes a hate filled wreck.
I could go on and on about why I believe Twitter will, no longer, be a safe space for Disabled users ever again, but that will take up an additional blog post of it’s own to fully flesh it all out. In short, it’s never going to be a safe space for you as a Disabled writer again. like I said, I wanted off this Twitter wreck, now. Instead, I’d rather talk about the benefits of Mastodon for writers.
An overview of the Fediverse.
To understand Mastodon and how it works, you should know that even though it’s a different platform, it still operates like Twitter. It’s a social media platform that allows users to post short status messages up to 500 characters or more depending on where you sign up. You can follow users, direct message them, reply to posts, and post media such as images and videos as well as audio clips.
Mastodon is one small part of a connected software ecosystem called the Fediverse. Think of the Fediverse like a bridge that connects multiple platforms together by a protocol called Activity Pub.
Mastodon is the Twitter of the Fediverse. Mastodon operates on decentralized technology. This means, for example, you can join any kind of Mastodon server you want and still talk to a global network. There’s a ton of open servers to choose from. It’s much like email. When you sign up for an email address, you get the ability to talk to anybody with an email address. The Fediverse operates the same way. You can interact with anybody on the Fediverse.
For instance, I can talk to anybody on Friendica, Facebook alternative, Write Freely, Medium alternative, Bookwyrm, Goodreads alternative, PeerTube, YouTube alternative, or PixelFed, Instagram alternative, and more services different than Mastodon. Anybody can follow and talk to me no matter where I am at in the Fediverse.
How the Fediverse broadly works.
Back to Mastodon, Mastodon servers, known as instances, are like independently grown towns. You can join a town, and that town can talk to other towns, but each town has their own rules if you’d like to become a member of the town, or instance. You can try a Hometown instance with more features and characters. There’s instances for a number of topics, from books to craftsThere are many more instances to browse and join. If you don’t like an instance, you can always move to a different instance and still talk to everybody else. You don’t have to stay on one instance.
If you post publicly, others will see your posts through a process called Federation. If an instance federates with your instance, then your message will show up on any instance that federates, or links with, your instance. If an instance chooses not to federate with another instance for any reason, your posts will not show up to their users.
To mention users on instances different from yours, you would include their complete handle, including, domain, in a post. It’s like email.
For example, to mention me on any instance, you would write, including the beginning @ sign, @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some instances have closed registrations to keep hateful people out. Others have open instances. Even if you can’t find an open instance, you can still follow people via RSS with a lot of apps.
If you’re a writer looking for a new home, Mastodon is perfect for you if you like to connect with interesting people and make new friends. Below, I have included some guides to Mastodon and some instances designed for writers.
Before you pick an instance, it’s worth noting their rules and how often they federate, or connect with, other instances. If you’d like a bigger audience, try picking an instance that doesn’t block a lot of instances. If you’d like more of an insular community, and are not looking for a big audience, pick an instance that doesn’t federate with a lot of servers and blocks a lot of instances. It’s all up to you! If you join an instance and then later decide to move to a new instance, you can migrate your account and move your followers with you.
Below, you’ll find guides and a few instances to try. Fedi Garden is the best place to start for finding smaller instances that are well moderated
- Servers by topic
- Servers by country/regions and servers by languages
- Fediverse party. Curates many specialty instances across the Fedi.
- Wiki instance directory on Join Fediverse
- Join Mastodon. Displays many general and niche instances.
Directories of users.
- A targeted directory of users that specialize in areas and post often.
- General directory that’s opt in through hashtags
- The community Trunk, created before the Twitter migration.
- Users that describe and caption media
- Accessibility people from Trunk Community directory
- Blogs on the Fediverse
- Book accounts on the Fediverse.
- Accessibility directory on Fedi directory with active users
- Directory of authors and writers
- Getting started from Fedi Tips
- Join Fediverse Wiki has guides as well as directories.
- Fedi Tips accessibility guide
- Screen reader guide to Mastodon.
- modern guide that includes a directory of writers
- A very lengthy guide to Mastodon.
These apps have been tested, and work very well with screen readers and other adaptive technology. You can try other third party apps here.
- TW Blue Windows.
- Tusker iOS
- Tweesecake offers Mastodon support. Mastodon documentation for Tweesecake is here.
- Semaphore. Web based app.
- Toot. iOS.
- Mercury. iOS
- Metatext. iOS.
- Tusky. Android. Also get Tusky on F-Droid