Computers & Networks

Mastodon Instance Selection and Account Setup

morreale Sunday 06 of November, 2022

I joined Twitter in 2010 and use it pretty regularly. The people I follow, my network, has taught me so much over the last 12 years. I've very sad to see go and want to thank all the people I follow for the great work they do and sharing it with the world. It's been a real benefit to me and to the world.

There isn't an exact alternative to Twitter. Mastodon is said to be the closet alternative. It architecture is different in that it's an open source platform federated microblogging platform [1]

Anyone can setup a Mastodon server or instance, and these servers communicate with each other using open standard communication protocols [2]. These interconnected servers are known as a fediverse.

Each server has its own theme, moderation policies, code of conduct, and terms of service. It's important to read the terms of service and server rules to make sure your intended use of the server is within their rules. Each server I investigated had different server rules and terms of service. So, some servers have very strict policies, and others had very open content policies.

The List of Mastodon instances and Mastodon Instances were useful for learning about the various themes of the Mastodon servers. The Fediverse Observer website was a handy tool to locate Mastodon servers using selection criteria. I was looking for technology themed server using English as the primary language located in the US and was accepting new users. The table below shows some of the Mastodon servers that I investigated.

Server Description
Mastodon.social Not accepting new members
Mastodon.cloud Sujitech LLC maintains the server and posts the Terms and condition Japanese.
Mastodon.technology Not accepting new members
ioc.exchange Infocsec theme with strong user rights terms and conditions
Mastodon.sdf.org Run by SDF.org that provide a web based Unix portals, and hosts artist, DJs, and amateur radio Nets.
Qoto.org STEM based site with LaTeX and Markdown features. Reports/complaints of being banded by other servers for federating site that carry misinformation.
Mastodon.green A climate change server for EU, Norway, and Switzerland.
Fosstodon.org Technology and Free Open Source Software (FOSS).
makerdon.org Not accepting new members


I referred to Mastodon in the Fediverse: the missing manual(first draft), Everything I know about Mastodon, and Looking for Twitter alternatives? Here’s how to use Mastodon to help setup my account. I ended up creating a new mastodon account on mastodon.sdf.org due to their long history of supporting Unix/Linux education and has an amateur radio programs. According Wikipedia, the SDF.org servers are located in Seattle Washington [3]. The links to my account and account name are shown below.

  • https://mastodon.sdf.org/@0brane
  • @0brane@mastodon.sdf.org

Each server has a local feed that is driven by the interested of the users on the server, and a federated feed driven my the users on fediverse servers.

I used the Find fediverse accounts of your Twitter followings tool to find the people I follow on the fediverse. The tool generates a CSV file that you can import to you Mastodon profile to follow them. So far out of around the 1000+ people I follow, only about 14 people have posted their Mastodon IDs. I'll keep my Twitter account active and periodically run the tool to find more of the people I'm following.

I downloaded my Twitter account information. The Following and Followers files use internal twitter ID numbers so these files don't appear to be useful yet for locating people on Mastodon. I've tried to save my following list on Twitter from my browser using Save Page as and Print to pdf using Firefox, but his does not save something that is viewable. Zotero Save snapshot saves about half my following list. I'll need to research this further.

I'm fascinated by the Mastodon distributed architecture and the option to have accounts on multiple Mastodon servers (instances) and is a likely topic for a future blog.


[1] Mastodon (software)

[2] Fediverse

[3] SDF Public Access Unix System