My social-media path has brought me from Facebook, Google+, (remember that?), Twitter, Mastodon and Pixelfed to my own server in the Fediverse.

illustration of a vibrant Fediverse community rising like a phoenix with interconnected nodes representing various platforms, set against a starry cyberspace background, symbolizing a welcoming and interconnected online world

Some history

I used to post a lot on Twitter, when that still was a good place to be. I met lots of interesting people, learnt and taught, helped and received help. I have never been, nor wanted to be, any kind leader or influencer, but I felt I was part of a community. I was a part of something bigger than myself. I was a part of the Internet.

Then Twitter started to change. Maybe it did not change, maybe I just started to notice it more.

Still, Twitter was where the people were - it was where I needed to be to keep interacting with so many good people. I was caught by the network effect, and did not want to leave.

I made small forays into the Fediverse, but kept coming back to Twitter. Maybe it was just inertia, maybe it was Metcalfe’s Law, but I stayed. Then, some years ago, I decided to try out something else.

I did not delete my Twitter account yet, but I made a Mastodon account, and I made a Pixelfed account. I did not use them much. I had few followers and followed few people. It felt quiet and lonely, I did not feel like I was part of a community.

Slowly I built up a group of people to follow. It takes a little effort, but it’s not complex. Here, without further ado, is the way to build yourself an interesting timeline on the Fediverse:

  1. Find someone interesting. This is the first and somewhat hard thing to do. I found people by looking at mastodon servers that seemed interesting and following some likely people there. I also found people by looking at the “local timeline” on the server I joined.
  2. Find out who the interesting person is following. This is the easy part. Just click on the “following” link on their profile.
  3. Follow some of those people.
  4. Look at your timeline and interact with people you find interesting.
  5. Mute or block assholes. There are going to be assholes, but you don’t have to listen to them. Don’t be offended if people think you’re an asshole and blocks you. It’s fine.
  6. Repeat.

Don’t worry about whether people follow you - just post things that interest you and be a nice person. If you seem interesting, people will follow you. If you do not, they won’t. It’s fine.

Nobody gets a prize for having followers, that’s not what the Fediverse is about. This is probably my favourite thing about the Fediverse - it does not play by the “eternal growth at any cost” rules of commercial social media. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people.

I had interesting interactions on the Fediverse, and Twitter, at the same time. It was a little awkward, maintaining two “presences”, but it kind of worked.

Things really changed, however, when the current owner of Twitter cum X bought the company and started changing things. I’d had enough, and wanted no part in supporting what that company was turning into, and I no longer needed to be there to interact with people. I left.

The Fediverse

There are many explanations on the internet about what the Fediverse is, and how it works. I will not repeat them here, but I will give a short summary:

When you’re using “traditional” (commercial) social media, you are using a service that is owned by a company. You sign up to Facebook and get an account in their system. Then you tell them who you want to connect with (that’s in their system), and they give you a timeline and ways of communicating with those people.

With the Fediverse it’s slightly different. You still use a service (let’s say Mastodon Social), which may be controlled by a company but usually is a group of friends or a community. You sign up to that service, and get an account in their system. Then you tell them who you want to connect with that’s on the Fediverse, and they give you a timeline and ways of communicating with those people.

The important difference is that the people you can connect with on the Fediverse are not just people on the service you’ve signed up to (Mastodon Social in our example). You can connect with anyone on any number of other services that participate in the Fediverse.

There are many kinds of services in the Fediverse, that provide many different services. Micro-blogging (like Twitter) is the most common, but there are also services for photo sharing (like Instagram), video sharing (like YouTube), and many others.

You’re probably going to set up an account on a Mastodon -server first. Mastodon is a type of server, and there are many different instances of that server (like Mastodon Social). Just like WordPress is a kind of server, and many people and organisations run their own Wordpress -sites using that kind of server.

The magic comes from all of these different kinds of servers communicating with each other. A user on one server can communicate with a user on a different server (just that is kind of cool), even if the two servers are of totally different kinds! This is possible because, whilst the servers are different, they all speak the same language. They all use the same protocol to communicate with each other. This is what makes the Fediverse so powerful.

An example

I have an account on a server called My username there is @tomasekeli, so my full address is My friends over on Mastodon Social can enter that address in their search bar, and find me, follow me and interact with me. And is a totally different kind of server from Mastodon! If Facebook, X and, TikTok and Instagram did this you would be able to follow TikTok users from Instagram and share their videos with your friends on Facebook from your X timeline!

My own server

Another neat part of the Fediverse is that you are not expected to stay on one server forever. You can migrate to a new home on the internet that you like better. I have done this several times: I started on (most people do) before I went to That server was closed down, for personal reasons of the owner and maintainer, and I moved on to, which is a Norwegian Mastodon server. And now, this weekend, I moved over to - which is my own server.

Yes, I am now running my own server, and am in control of what that server does and how it behaves. This means that I can set it up how I want it to be, but it also means that I am no longer using resources on a server that other people pay for. I did donate to the upkeep of the other servers I’ve been on, but now I pay my own way.

This server is not a Mastodon server, but runs something called Firefish. It has a very different user-interface than Mastodon, and has some other features that I quite like.

It is also a very small server with only one user (me), and an admin-bot. This is important to me, as I don’t think I’d make a good moderator of others’ behaviour and speech. If I do let others join it will be restricted to people I trust and know, personally.

And, that’s just it! The Fediverse lets me to do this - I can run my own server and decide on the policies of that server. If I notice that certain other servers contain a lot of assholes (there are neo-nazi servers out there) I can tell my server not to communicate with those servers. I can do this and remain a part of the community in the Fediverse. All the people who followed me had their “follow” automatically moved to my new server, and we can still interact! I am still a part of the Internet. Feels good, man.


I think the Fediverse is a great place to be, and I would like you to join in! I have had enough of free-loading on huge companies that make money by being the funnel i must talk through. These companies are not good companies, and they do not have good intentions - they cannot have, as they are beholden to their shareholders. I want to be a part of the community of interesting people that is the Fediverse. A virtual place where the people are the important thing, not the “engagement” or how many you can reach. And, I want you to join me there.

So, go to and find a server that looks interesting! It’s not massively important to pick the right one, but I’d recommend something other than Join up and find me - just search for and I’ll follow you back and we can have a conversation.

Find your new home in the Fediverse, and I’ll meet you there!