Mastodon to Twitter Migration Guide – Tips & Tools

After what feels like a year of “will they won’t they”, Twitter is finally in the hands of America’s Least Mature Man—quite a competitive category. I set up my Mastodon ages ago just to see how it was, but now that I’m finally using it I’m really enjoying it.

This started as a Quick Start guide but ended up much more in depth than I thought. I sorted the headings from most to least important. Mastodon is “complicated”, but mostly in ways you don’t honestly need to worry about. Take your time and learn by doing and asking!

Feel free to share your tips and experiences with Mastodon in the comments below! Or say hi to @[email protected].

What The Hell Is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a decentralized Twitter alternative with individual servers operated by individuals or communities rather than a single corporation. The code is open-source and anyone can create an instance. As a result there is a consistent code base but not a “corporate mission” and the functionality is largely based on “pre-algorithm” Twitter.

The tl;dr is Mastodon is Twitter without a corporation or a glass-skinned manchild CEO. It costs nothing to try, so pop on a server and see if it’s for you. I’m writing a whole-ass article about it, but the best way is to learn by doing.

Most features Twitter has are on Mastodon, some slightly renamed. Lists, Direct Messages, Retweets (Boosts), Likes (Favorites), Hashtags, Notifications. Poke around and you’ll likely find more things familiar than foreign.

Pick a General Use Instance

Mastodon isn’t one site, it has Instances, sort of like Discord Servers. I’ll get into what that truly means in the later, more technical parts of the article. If you’re getting started, just load up the server list and find either a nice general server, or something specific to your interests. “Instance” and “Server” are interchangeable in Mastodon’s context.

Which instance you pick really doesn’t matter almost at all. I really recommend just making an account and poking around before you worry much about which server, as you can move servers later anyway. I personally recommend Mastodon.Social.

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