Looking to expand your network and connect with educators, find tools, problem solve, and share even more on social media? Mastodon could be an additional option to explore. But what is it? And what does this free and open source software (FOSS) offer educators?
Let’s look at how to get started with Mastodon and go over some tips along the way.
Quick Start Guide
- Decide on a Mastodon Instance.
- Post a hashtag rich introduction and pin it to your profile.
- Get the app recommended below (avoid the Mastodon app) on your phone. Use QR codes shown.
- Update your header and profile photo.
- Import this list of users (following list) via your Settings in Mastodon.
- Start sharing content and resources. Add hashtags to each post. Some must-use hashtags to add to every toot include:
@firstname.lastname@example.org #Education #EdTech
Tips for Newcomers & Apps to Use
After you create your Mastodon account on your computer, use a smartphone app to interact with your Mastodon instance.
While there are many apps, I'm recommending these two apps for you to start with. Both are free and available at no-cost.
Unlike Twitter, Mastodon lacks an algorithm to throw content at you. This is great because there isn't any advertising except what others post. It also means that you must use hashtags to make it easy for people to find you. If you are into education, use hashtags that reflect your interests.
Here’s a short list of a few you can include, although the sky is the limit:
#MicrosoftEdu or #MIE
#EduTooters (more on this in a bit)
Customizing Your #Introduction
Be sure to add a pic, short bio, and lots of hashtags (#Education) that describe your interests to your profile. You can see my example above. Finally, write a short #introduction.
Bookmarklet: A bit of code you add to your browser (drag-and-drop) so that you can share webpages you are reading with others via your Mastodon account. Read tutorial.
Domain Block List: A list of blocked domains that have been found to send out spam. You can import or add a list of blocked domains to your Mastodon account so you can block unwanted spam or attacks from others. Read this short "tootorial."
Federated: The fediverse is an ensemble of federated servers that are used for web publishing and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers, users can create so-called identities.
Fediverse: A non-centralized network of loosely joined web servers that offer a variety of services. Mastodon is but one of the many types of services you will find in the Federated Universe (or fediverse for short).
Following List: A list of the people you are following. This list can be added via a CSV upload, or manually one by one. Read this short tootorial for instructions on importing an educator list.
Instance: This term refers to a server that runs a copy of Mastodon software, not unlike a Moodle instance or Wordpress instance. You can also think of a Mastodon instance as a self-governed community, each with its own set of rules and guidelines, some more strict than others.
Mastodon: The software that runs on a web server that makes this social media, or social networking, solution work.
Post: Previously known as a "Toot," this is what a post you make is called. The act of posting is also known as "tooting" or "publishing."
Tootorial: A portmanteau of the words "toot" and "tutorial." It is a tutorial about Mastodon topics.
Want more tips? I've organized a series of tutorials you can take advantage of:
How To Block Bad Domains and Actors: Worried about running into bad people? It happens on every social media outlet.
A Toot Bookmarklet for Sharing Websites: Add this bookmarklet to your device so you can share webpages you visit to Mastodon.
Translating Toots/Posts in Mastodon: Encounter foreign languages in Mastodon? Translate them on the go with these add-ons.
Tootorial for Making Backups of Your Mastodon Data: Learn how to backup your Mastodon instance data, like bookmarks and your following list.
Curating News Sources on Mastodon: Learn how to quickly add news organization accounts so you can be up to date on the news while in Mastodon.
Find Twitter Friends' New Mastodon Address: It's normal to miss your friends. These tools can assist you in finding those who have made the effort to make themselves visible.
How to Use Mastodon and the Fediverse: An excellent guide to Mastodon.