The platform was founded in 2016 by Eugen Rochko and has all the features you would expect - like hashtags, lists, GIFs, videos, and images - while offering an added bonus of content moderation. Instead of having all users on one server like other popular social networks, each Mastodon server is run and moderated independently, giving users more control over which rules are enforced.
When signing up on Mastodon, it's important to choose the right server and include your full identity with the server name. For instance, if you sign up at Mastodon.social, then your address should be @[your username]@mastodon.social. It's also a good idea to fill out your profile with plenty of information about yourself and a picture, or avatar so others can identify you. It's also a good idea to introduce yourself to the community with a post about your background and interests.
One of the main advantages of Mastodon is its ability to help users manage fear of missing out. By allowing users to move their relationships with them when they switch servers, Mastodon encourages users to find the server that best fits their needs. Users can also take advantage of its native post scheduling, although Buffer doesn't yet offer scheduling for Mastodon.
However, setting up a Mastodon account takes more effort than some other platforms, such as Twitter or Instagram. And since messages aren't encrypted and server admins can see them, Mastodon may not be the best choice for sensitive or important business matters. Additionally, finding a server can be tricky, and servers may have to resort to membership fees or fundraising campaigns to cover costs. There can also be tension between longtime users and newcomers over content warnings, hashtags, and post visibility.
Overall, Mastodon presents an exciting new way to explore social media. With its independent servers, content moderation, and post-scheduling, Mastodon offers users the potential to find a platform that suits their needs. But it's important to remember that setting up an account takes more time and effort and that users need to be aware of the risks associated with posting sensitive information on the platform.