The hardest part about joining Mastodon is finding an instance (aka server)

Mastodon is a decentralized social networking system. Decentralized means it’s not owned by one entity, and several instances are run by individual people who are not wealthy. With little bit of time, not too much money, and some technical skills, you can start your own if you wanted to. But most people find instances to join.

The hardest part about joining Mastodon is finding an instance, also known as a server. Some places to help find instances are:

Don’t sweat choosing an instance too much. You can join one instance and follow people from other instances, And you can also change instances if you don’t like the one you joined. Obviously, as soon as you join, you should follow

Before logging in, most instances let you look at their /about page, and from there you can usually find a ‘Moderated Servers’ section and see the instances they block and why they block them. You can also usually browse a /directory page and see their users – but only those who choose to make their profiles public.

Following is a list of a few instances that my friends might find interesting, and that seem to be open to registration. Since I work at a library, several of these are geared towards others who do so. A few others are technical or progressive leaning

I might start my own instance someday, but for now I’m a member of That is a small instance, and may switch to invitation-only of too many registrants show up. That’s unlikely to happen as a result of this blog post. If you join this instance, consider buying Smeg a cup of coffee, though he doesn’t nag anyone to do so. describes itself as “a general, mainly English-speaking Mastodon instance.” I don’t know much about them, but Santa Clause is a member. They seem like mostly good people is an instance for Christians. They seem like good Christians. They’ve blocked servers for anti-trans and anti-LBGT hate speech is an instance for “galleries, libraries, archives, museums, memory work and records”. They are “hackers, professionals, enthusiasts, and are passionate about life, respect, and digital freedom.” describes themselves as a microblogging network supporting scholars and practitioners across the humanities and around the world. They came up when I searched for “librarians” describes itself as “A Mastodon server friendly towards anti-fascists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, hackers, and the like.” This is the big one. It’s run by the guy who invented Mastodon and has over 200,000 users. In my opinion, it’s better to join a smaller instance. George Takei is on Mastodon! and he’s at (but remember, you don’t have to be on his instance to follow him) is an instance for “Literature, philosophy, film, music, culture, politics, history, architecture.

12/20 – I added the paragraph about viewing /about, moderated servers, and /directory


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