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At the same time, Mastodon is a puzzle. Many people are scared. So many servers, waiting lists, shit stuff, don't-knows and more.
"Mastodon" is a collection of computers that are interconnected. So if you join e.g. Mastodon.world, you can still talk to everyone on all other servers, like Mastodon.ai, writing.exchange or toot.community. Yes, these are actual names on actual servers.
You find subjects by looking for them through #hashtags, like everywhere else. If you like fly fishing, look for #FlyFishing. If you like #theremin music, look for #theremin. And use #hashtags liberally.
There is no need to join a specific server because your friends are there. I am @paulkater on mstdn.social but I can have a conversation with anyone, anywhere. For instance, I can mention @bitwarden which is on fosstodon.org and they will get my message. Of course, it's up to them to respond.
Something important is to be active. Don't open an account and wait. Nothing will happen. That's like starting your computer and then wait for the internet to happen. You have to do the work. Look for people and interests, follow them, interact. Don't sit in your mastodon/fediverse house in silence. Open the windows and call out. Also, unlike Twitter, Mastodon does not look for stuff you might like. There is now "You might like..." thing there. Go and find what you like. Follow people and hashtags, make lists, interact.
Don't get scared about that. It stands for Federated Universe. All computers in the Mastodon network are 'federated', which is a fancy word for 'connected'. Once you're logged in to one machine, you can see stuff on all others - unless the owner of that machine restricts it.
Boost a post you like to get attention. Liking it is nice but it does nothing but tell the poster you like it. There is no system to give a post more attention that gets a lot of likes, as Twitter does. Again, you have to do the work.
Something many vision impaired people will appreciate is that you add a descriptive text to the pictures you post. It's easy.
1. Upload your picture and click the 'no description added' text:
2. Add some text. If the image has text, let Mastodon's OCR do the work:
3. Click "Apply". Done.
Tags and camel toes
If you add a tag, write in 'camel toe' notation. It looks like this:
Simply start each word in a tag with a capital. Speech generators, also for visually impaired people, will have an easier time pronouncing such words.
Support your admin!
This is not something you expect. Twitter is a company that runs on advertising. The fediverse is paid by the people who run the servers, out of pocket. If you can spare a few dollars or euros per month, support your admin. Some of them face huge bills; be kind and help out to keep the fediverse going.
I hope this helps a bit. If not, get in touch.