How to Get Started in the Fediverse

(And why you should bother.)

Fedi Curious?


If you’re feeling burned out by traditional social media, welcome. You may have heard Flipboard and others talking about a better solution on the open social web — also known as the fediverse — where you can connect with anyone, on any service.

Seems interesting, right? But the thought of creating yet another social account and starting over in this new ecosystem feels exhausting. We get it.

The thing is, the fediverse represents a kind of freedom from the status quo. Imagine an interoperable world where you can share on one service and people on other services can see and interact with what you’ve shared, your followers stay with you no matter which platforms you’re on. Imagine a community-driven place free from the whims of a single company, where you have more control over your data and privacy settings, your feeds, and your experience as a whole.

That’s the promise of the fediverse.

As this Digiday video explains, the fediverse is a way for people to be able to communicate with each other without being on the same platform. It’s like how you can be on Gmail and get an email from someone using Yahoo Mail — but for social posts.

It can be a maze knowing where to start, so we’ve tried to help by boiling it down to some simple next steps.

1. Explore platforms currently available in the fediverse. Each has its own unique features and community.

There are also mobile and desktop apps and clients, like Mammoth and Tusky, that let you log in with your account to view your timeline, find people and follow feeds across the fediverse.

2. Choose a server or instance. Your instance is your home in the fediverse. Each instance has its own name, moderators, and code of conduct. Choose one that aligns with your interests and values. Here are a few we’d recommend or browse the Fedi.Directory for other suggestions.

If your Flipboard account is federated, this is another way to create a presence in the fediverse, with no extra work. Learn more about Flipboard Federation and if you’re interested in federating your profile, apply here. (Please note: we are currently only federating creators and curators who have two or more active Magazines and no trust and safety issues.)

3. Create a profile. Wherever you decide to call home, create an account on that service. Add a picture, short bio and other relevant details so people can get to know you.

4. Follow and interact. Don’t be afraid to follow others, start a conversation, and send a positive signal by starring or boosting a post. You just might be delighted by the people you encounter in the fediverse.

A good way to find accounts to follow is via Fedi.Directory or the Flipboard Federated Directory; see who others are following or boosting; or peruse accounts tagged during #FollowFriday. For example, our Art & Photography Desk on Mastodon recommends a quality set of profiles for people who love art and photography almost every week:

Anecdotally, we’ve seen higher quality and engagement than your standard social platforms.

*Note: In the fediverse it’s common to introduce yourself when you join, using the hashtag #introduction or #intro. Here’s an example.

Another good tool for discovering new people and content is our Flipboard Magazines fediverse account. Follow it to get a steady stream of high-quality Magazine recommendations. (A Magazine is a collection of curated stories, organized via Flipboard.)

5. Get involved. Many of these platforms and projects are open-source and community-driven. (Mastodon is primarily funded through Patreon donations.) Whether you are an individual contributor, part of a community, or a developer, all of us now have the power to shape our social media experiences for the better.

The fediverse is still in its infancy, but it is a hopeful harbinger of what author John Battelle calls “the internet we deserve, not the one that we have.”

To learn more about the fediverse from the leaders shaping its future, check out Mike McCue’s podcast, “Dot Social.”

To learn about what Flipboard’s up to in the fediverse, sign up here.

Got questions about the fediverse? Let us know! We’re writing a biweekly newsletter about the developments unfolding in this space. Subscribe on LinkedIn or follow us on Medium to never miss a post.



Fedi Curious?

News for our time, personalized for any interest. Available in any app store and on the Web at