“Greetings from the Federation . . . “

Mastodon is the hot social media platform that journalists, (and many others) are fleeing to, now that the great #TwitterMigration is accelerating.

This quick-start guide is here to help you get started with the best possible chance of success on this strange, but very robust new platform. It only takes a few minutes if you follow these steps in order.

Mastodon is not a commercial social media app. It was coded by a 29-year-old German developer to work exactly as a dependable Anti-centralized social network. No one person can own Mastodon. There are no ads. There is no algorithm, no sudden new owner coming and making new rules.

Follow this guide to make a verified journalist profile on Mastodon.

Forget MetaVerse, with Social Media sites laying off tens of thousands of workers, the future looks more like the internet’s past, a federal network of connected servers, rather than a monopolistic centralized one. And that is a good thing with regards to press freedoms, freedom of speech, privacy, and a whole lot more.

First watch the video tutorial “Mastodon Tutorial for Journalists” and then follow the steps below.

Step One – Choose a server (your local community)

A lot of people are confused by this. Servers with a lot of users are slower. The smaller and medium-sized ones are a pleasure. Ultimately it does not matter which server you choose, because you can always move to a different server and take your followers with you.

Compare the profile directories between these two servers hosting #journalist accounts.

newsie.social has 14k active users – “journalists, news-people, journalism educators and comms professionals”journa.host has 2.7K active users and calls itself “a reliable home for journalists on Mastodon.”
https://newsie.social/directoryhttps://journa.host/directory

I chose newsie.social as my server because it is Administrated by Jeff Brown at fourthestate.org. This server is run by journalists, for journalists. That’s working for me right now.

Sign up here with my invitation link to bypass the waiting list.


Step Two – Complete your profile

At a minimum, this means a mugshot photo of yourself and some links of Websites where your work is published.

Robbs Verified account on Mastadon

Note those little green checkmarks in my profile are lit up because I have verified that those are indeed websites where I publish my work.

This part is easy if you have code-level access to a site like your blog or journalism profile page with your media outlet. You only have to add one like of code to get the verification.

Rel tag in html code

When you edit your Mastodon profile, you will see the HTML code snippet that you need to copy and paste on your linked page to verify your account.

Now, Some people don’t like the fact that it automatically creates a hyperlink called “Mastodon” that links to your profile page. OK. You can delete the word “Mastadon” and keep the <a> tags like this.

HTML Code snippet <a rel="me" href="https://newsie.social/@mojo"></a>

In addition you can register with PressCheck.org and be verified as a credentialed journalist.

https://www.presscheck.org/journalists/robb-montgomery

When you add your verified link in your profile, you will also see a green check.


Step Three – Protect your password

You will want to harden your account with some basic cybersecurity. If you enable 2FA (Two-factor authorization) you will have access to your account in case there is a password leak.

Click on your setting preferences and navigate to your Account pane and select Two-factor Authorization.

Use your phone. Follow the steps and be aware that the confirmation code expires really quick! Although a new one pops up quickly. Still you will need to be quick.

The two-factor pane in settings
This helps prevent someone from stealing your account.

Step Four – Introduce yourself

After you have selected a server, a new username, and completed your profile, you are ready to make your first post. Below is my first #Mastodon post. It is known as an #Introduction and should include a short bio with your primary interests #Hashtagged.

Here is mine.


Step Five – Get the MetaText app

The MetaText app is my favorite way to use Mastodon with an iOS mobile device.

You can easily switch between the three primary timelines at the top (Home, Local and Federated) and you can find your bookmarks and everything for search and notifications. Clean, like a dream.

It will take you some time to find others to follow, but don’t rush and try to game the process to gain a zillion followers overnight. This is like 2004 all over again (For those of you who remember the Visual Editors social network I launched in 2004, or for those who joined Facebook that same year, or Twitter in 2007)

This site was coded to work in many familiar ways, but also in some very different ways, that seem to be in our favor.

Make of Mastodon what you will, it seems like this reboot may be what we all needed after the last six years of algorithm-fuled gruel.


Step Six – Support the Admin, Jeff Brown

Fourth Estate is here to support the best of what journalism is and what journalism does.

For the moment the newsie.social server is run by Jeff Brown of FouthEstate.org. and the way the community has grown so fast, Jeff is getting stuck with the bills, so if you like the vibe there, support the cause with your donations. It is the least we can do to get control over our newsfeeds and keep the unwanted parties away.


Step Seven – Follow a few of your favorite journalists

Jeff add the following tip . . .

Here is a very nice list of journalists on Mastodon

This is where your Local Mastodon feeds become suddenly interesting.


Step Eight – Invite your peeps with a personal invite link

Oh, and if you want to save time in building up your followers and people to follow, just send the invite link from your account settings page to your pals.

Follow me with this invite and get approved on Newsie.social in no time.

Invite link in account settings
Your personal invite link to onboard your followers and friends.

Beware of Fake accounts

After I published this guide a remarkable thing happened. My servers went down because of a spike in traffic AND It turns out that that Reuters profile was fake. The admin swooped in and knocked em off the site.



Social Media for Journalists

A brief #History #SocialMedia for #Journalism.

1) I launched the #SocialNetwork for #Journalists in 2004 – #VisualEditors.

2) Joined #Twitter in July, 2007.

3) Joined #Mastodon in April 2022.


More tips

After you get on-boarded I recommend you take a deeper dive with more great insights provided at the fedi.tips site.