I see a lot of new faces on Mastodon today. Hello everyone 👋.


I know that Mastodon can be a little confusing at first. But don't worry, it's great and not that complicated to use! I'm sure you'll catch up in no time.
That being said, it doesn't dispense regular users like me to give you some tips. So here we go!

For posting a message, you just have to type your text in the compose box (it should be at the right of your screen on desktop) and then click on TOOT. Easy!

You can adjust the audience of your message by clicking on the second icon below the compose box.

There is four privacy levels on Mastodon:
1. Public: everyone can see your message
2. Unlisted: everyone can see your message but it won't appear in the public timelines
3. Followers-only: only your logged-in followers and the mentioned users will be able to see that
4. Direct: only the mentioned users will see that

Privacy levels are one of the most powerful feature of Mastodon.

On Mastodon, you can add a "content warning" to your posts.
Content warnings are a way to tell people what your message is about. When used, your message will be hidden by default and other people will have to click on a button to unhide it. It is especially useful to warn people about content that can trigger an anxiety or post-traumatic crisis, but can also be used to hide spoilers, etc.
To add a content warning, just click on the CW button bellow the compose box.

Content warning Afficher plus

Mastodon interface is made of columns.
There is always at least two of them: the composition column (on the left) and the visualization column (on the right). The first one contains the compose box and various menus. The second one is a bit special and is used to display all kinds of things (profiles, toots, other columns). When you click on link, it's where the content is displayed.
You can add additional columns between this two if you want (we'll talk about that later if you don't mind).

The composition column is one of the more useful column.
Aside from the compose box, it also contains the main menu (at the top) and the shortcuts menu (next to your name, just above the compose box). From here, you can access various things, like your preferences and the "Getting started" menu.

The home column is where the messages made or boosted by people you follow, as well as your own messages, appear.
It's like your own little window to the Fediverse :).

The notifications column is where your notifications are displayed. Here, you can see who boosted or favourited your messages, as well as your new followers and the toots mentioning you.
It's pretty straightforward.

The local timeline and the federated timeline are what we call the public timelines.
The local timeline list all the public posts made by users of your local Mastodon instance.
The federated timeline is doing the same thing but, instead of only displaying toots made on your instance, it displays toots from all the known Fediverse! Yeah, it's pretty huge. That's why on the biggest instances, this timeline is moving really fast.

If you have a scrolled one of your column a lot, no need to waste your time scrolling back at the top. Just click on the header, it'll bring you back at the very beginning.

Did you see the little symbol at the top right of most column's header? It's actually the column menu!
From it, you can set various things and pin/unpin the column (I told you we were going to talk about that at some point). The columns don't all have the same options, so feel free to take a look by yourself!

Last but not least, the preferences panel. To access it, click on the little gear-shaped icon at the top of the composition column.

You can configure a variety of things from the settings panel: your default language, Mastodon's theme (because yes, there are various themes!) and also your display name and avatar.
Most of the options here are self explanatory, so you shouldn't have too much trouble making Mastodon behave just the way you want :).

Before I leave you, I thought it would be better to give you some more resources.
Here is the "What is Mastodon?" official video. It explains in the simple way some of the key concepts behind Mastodon. Also, it has cute animations (and that's rad).


I hope this tutorial have been useful to you. Have fun using Mastodon and see you around!

@Sylvhem Hi, I just created my mastodon Account and found your tutorial. It was a great help to get started . Many thanks :)

@mickey83 Hi! I'm glad you found it useful! I hope you'll enjoy your stay on Mastodon :).

@Sylvhem Is there a way to change your settings so that CW stuff is always shown rather than hidden by default?

@Sylvhem From a technical standpoint it's just clearly better than "the other guys".

@Sylvhem Hi! I prefer to have one account but now I have several on different instances. Is there an easy way to follow the activity on another instance or should you just get an account there?

@torinemard There is no way to follow all the activity on a different instance, but you can follow people from a different instance and you'll see all their toots.

@Sylvhem Thanks for all the detailed info. Are you just a fan or a developer working on it?

@kerriepants Just a fan ^^. Although I made some contributions to the project (French translation, white theme…).

Inscrivez-vous pour prendre part à la conversation
Eldritch Café

Une instance se voulant accueillante pour les personnes queers, féministes et anarchistes ainsi que pour leurs sympathisant·e·s. Nous sommes principalement francophones, mais vous êtes les bienvenu·e·s quelque soit votre langue.