Come Join Me On Mastodon, Folks

A how-to guide for joining the rapidly-growing social network

Clive Thompson
9 min readNov 6, 2022



Now that Elon Musk is thrashing around inside the Twitter headquarters, many Twitter users are joining Mastodon — jussssst in case Twitter goes down in a flaming wreck.

I’m on Mastodon myself: I’m! I’ve been using it on and off for several years, and much more intensely in the last week.

Are you interested, too?

Read on and I’ll explain how you can try Mastodon yourself. Here’s my quick primer on The Most Simple Basics of Mastodon …

1) There’s no one big “central” place. Mastodon is lots of little places

Twitter has only one big server, which everyone logs into.

Mastodon doesn’t work that way. The way it works is you join a Mastodon server, and get an address at that server. Then you can follow people at nearly any other Mastodon instance. You and your followers don’t need to be on the same place!

When you see my Mastodon address, I signed up at, a Mastodon server run by a Twitter friend of mine. On that server, I picked the name @clive. So my full address becomes



Clive Thompson

I write 2X a week on tech, science, culture — and how those collide. Writer at NYT mag/Wired; author, “Coders”.