I joined Mastodon in April of 2022 and now that I’ve had a little over six months of usage, I can say I’m glad I deleted all my other social media accounts. I had heard of Mastodon over the years, and I had even used a federated site back in 2009 when I used identi.ca for a few months.
Picking an instance
I really struggled picking an instance. Before moving I read several helpful posts about getting started with Mastodon. Most of them ssugested strongly that I avoid mastodon.social and a few of the other large Mastodon instances. I wanted to take that advice to heart, but I found it extremely difficult to find an instance I liked. It made me feel silly that I couldn’t make what seemed like a simple choice, but I’ve always found it very difficult to pick when there are many things to choose from. I spent a few weeks agonizing over each possible server; either they were too specific of a topic, too general, or some other vague reason I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
After a week, I gave up trying to search for the perfect instance and set up an account on mastodon.social.
Starting a new social account is tough. I wasn’t sure who all I would find and if I’d even find people who I wanted to follow. But just like I had when I was on Twitter, I started browsing the timeline and followed people I found interesting. After a few days, those people started boosting others or having interesting conversations with people and I would follow them as well.
While it was a bit scary at first, I’m glad I started fresh and didn’t try and simply replicate who I followed back on Twitter.
Migrating to treehouse.systems
I still felt awkward being on mastodon.social, but I had yet to find an instance that appealed to me. Then I read Twitter’s Demise is ActivityPubs Future and found social.treehouse.systems. The instance is small and looks to be both well moderated and well managed and it has a community vibe that I felt I could belong in. This was the first instance I felt good about so I decided it was time to migrate.
Migrating was both easy and not clear
A quick note about migrating. While the process of migrating from my mastodon.social account to my treehouse.systems account was easy, there were a few things I found confusing. First, accounts following me get migrated but who I follow does not. It can take a while for an instance migration to complete so I waited about 24 hours before realizing it wasn’t going to happen. You can export your following list and import it, but nothing made it clear that was what I needed to do if I wanted to keep who I was following. Second, none of my account information transfers so I had to copy/paste over everything I had put in my profile from my mastodon.social account. Again, not a huge deal but it could have been made more clear.
I should blog more
Overall, I really enjoy using Mastodon and exploring the wider notion of the Fediverse. One thing I’ve been thinking about recently, is making sure I own my presence online. To me, that means I want to spend more time blogging and building out my own personal corner of the internet. I’m not a prolific blogger or really that vocal on social media of any form, but I plan to keep tinkering on my site and occasionally writing posts about the random things I enjoy.