Introduction to Mastodon for total beginners like myself.


Mastodon is a communication tool similar to Twitter. You can open an account in the diem25 instance and start using it. Here is how:

  • Go to
  • Fill in your user name (choose one)
  • Enter your e-mail
  • Choose a password
  • Re enter your password
  • Click on get started

You will receive an e-mail to confirm your account and once you follow the link your account will be activated and you will be able to log in. You will see four sections that will be described as we go.

Who reads what?

Type a message in the input box on the left up to 500 characters long and click Toot. For example:

“I really enjoyed taking part in the diemcafe”

Cool, you have tooted your first message. No one can read it yet. Even cooler. 🙂

If you want Ana to read your message you will @mention her (this reads as at-mention). So, if you type:

“Hi @ana, I really enjoyed taking part in the diemcafe”,

your message will appear in the second column of Ana’s screen, “Notifications”. Remember this does not make the message private, it just notifies Ana (Although private messaging is implemented in Mastodon they are not end to end encrypted and this post is about transparency, not privacy).

Anyone who follows you (see below) will see this message in their feed (Home). By the same token, you will see in your Home anything tooted by the people you follow. You can @mention many people in the same toot.

If Ana wants the toot to be visible to her followers, she just has to “boost” it, similar to re-twitt.

To follow someone you have to open their profile (click on their name or picture or type their user name in the search box) and click follow. Even I do not follow you I can see your home timeline if I open your profile. I will be able to see everything you tooted or boosted, and all the threads in which your toots are contained. This is totally transparent.

Classifying information

Information can be classified using hashtags like #diemcafe. Suppose you toot:

“I really enjoyed taking part in the #diemcafe”

All toots which have this hashtag are linked together. By clicking on the hashtag all of them will appear in the far right column. A toot can have several hashtags. If you search for diemcafe, you will find the #diemcafe tag.  Click on it to see all the related toots on your right hand pannel.

Boost, Fav and Reply to thread

There are several thing you can do with someone else’s toot:

  • Reply to thread in order to build a conversation. Once you click on a toot it is displayed on the right hand columns with all toots which comprise the thread.
  • Boost it. Everyone who follows you will see it. It is like a retwitt.
  • Favorite. Toot will be added to your list of favorites so you know where to find important stuff.

Without getting into the details the first column to the left shows everything posted by the people you follow, the second everything that was directed to you, as well as notifications about new followers, and the third one is used for multiple things such as search results, viewing other people’s timelines and so on. Mastodon is a complex tool. If you want more information about the details please refer to the user’s guide ( Just jump in, play with it and then come back to this article to understand how to use it in the DiEM25 context.


The great advantage of Mastodon over twitter, one of them, is that itis not centralised. Anyone can install a Mastodon instance. However, they are all federated, i.e. they are all interconnected and you can connect with people from other instances. this may be usefull in the future, but right now, you are ready to work in DiEM25.