What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is an open source, decentralized social network that runs on the ActivityPub protocol. Mastodon is not owned by any one company and is run by a distributed network of servers, which are run by independent people and organizations.
The best way to think of Mastodon is like email. Just like email, Mastodon is made up of many different servers that can send messages to each other. There's no need for everyone to use the same email provider to send emails to different addresses for example. Imagine if Gmail users could only email other Gmail users. Imagine if AOL users could only email other AOL users. That system would not be tolerated for email, yet, we tend to just accept that's the way social media has to work. Mastodon, and the broader Fediverse, are basically the next evolution of email but for social media!
Getting started is easy. First, you’ll need to choose a home instance. I linked some brony ones I've come across below, or you can browse the official server list on the Mastodon website. You can always migrate followers/follows to another server in the future, but posts usually remain on the server they're made to. Most servers are run by small teams and new members may need to be approved manually. Once you’ve chosen a home server, registered an account, and have been approved by a moderator, you can start using Mastodon! Unlike centralized social media, you may need to take some time to find accounts to follow. This is because there is no pushy algorithm on Mastodon and you only see posts in your home feed from people you specifically follow. A great way to find people to follow is to look in the local feed of relevant servers, or look at the follows/followers of existing accounts.
Because of Mastodon's federated nature, this means no central authority can control the content that is shared or who can join. Users have complete control over what they see in their timeline. Mastodon also has a greater emphasis on user privacy and content moderation. Each Mastodon instance has its own leaders, its own moderation/rules, and its own way of doing things, but all servers interconnect meaning you can follow people on any server from any server. Neat stuff, right?
What is the Fediverse?
The Fediverse is a large network of independent, federated servers that are connected to each other through open standards such as the ActivityPub protocol. The Fediverse is made up of many different servers, including Mastodon, PixelFed, Peertube, and more. Each network is run independently and can have different rules and moderation policies, but all of them are connected, meaning that users on one network can follow users on another.
The Fediverse is essentially an alternative to the traditional centralized social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, as it is not owned or controlled by any one entity, but instead is owned and run by a distributed network of servers which are owned and operated by a wide range of individuals and organizations. This means that users have more control over their data as well as control over the content they see in their feeds.
Similar to Twitter, try Mastodon. Similar to YouTube, try PeerTube. Similar to Instagram, try PixelFed. Similar to Twitch, try OwnCast. Similar to Discord, try a Matrix client. Since they all use open standards and are usually community-operated, the list of Fediverse websites is always growing yet remains interconnected.
Mastodon is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the exciting potential of the Fediverse.
Here's a video about Mastodon, hosted on a PeerTube instance:
Brony Server ListServers are often hosted by small teams or individuals. Visit any of these links at your own risk.
Mastodon/microblogging. The most-populated pony instance. About: "EQS is a Mastodon instance/server for fans of little ponies, that has been online since May 8th, 2017. It is part of the fediverse, a large decentralized social network."
Mastodon/microblogging. About: "In general this instance is Pony and Nerd themed. Topics such as Ponies, Ponies, Technology, Programming, Science, Ponies and even more Ponies are welcome! However, Pony is not required to participate, everyone should feel free to participate! "
Mastodon/microblogging. About: "It's true, we aren't the first or the only pony related Mastodon instance. But I think you'll find our rules here are more relaxed than those other instances and are reflective of our /mlp/ roots. I think we're also the first pony Mastodon instance located in the 🇺🇸."
Mastodon/microblogging. About: "A fresh, new instance for horses on the internet. Honestly, it's mostly about the funny domain name so far. That said, I'm open to seeing where this goes."
Akkoma/microblogging. About: "Welcome to our town. The first and currently only pony related Akkoma based fediverse instance with open registration."
Firefish/microblogging. About: "Welcome! Firefish is an open source, decentralized social media platform that's free forever! 🚀"
PeerTube/video. About: "Pony.Tube is a PeerTube-enabled video streaming platform using P2P (Pony-to-Pony) technology to deliver the best pony videos directly to you. We are a video sharing site that seeks to provide a haven for pony content that you may have issues uploading on larger sites like YouTube or you fear may be taken down for any reason. We seek to be entirely free of cost and free of ads."
Pixelfed/Photos. About: "Photo Sharing. For Ponies. Pixelfed is an image sharing platform, an ethical alternative to centralized platforms."
Follow me on Mastodon!
I'm currently on a managed self-hosted service, but you can follow me regardless of which instance you call home. Search for my handle on your server of choice:
As with any online profiles, beware of fake accounts. Mastodon has a verification system for links to a custom website, but unfortunately that system isn't compatible with Google Sites which is what I'm using here. Instead, simply verify my account the old fashioned way by making sure it's linked to from my [this] website.
More information about impostors as well as my full contact information can be found on the home page.