The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
I noted yesterday that we had set up a Mastodon account (@VolokhC@liberdon.com), but I also wanted to mention that it was pretty easy:
[1.] I found an "instance," which is to say a place that would host us, and which had moderation rules that we could deal with. For us, it was liberdon.com, "a Mastodon instance for libertarians, ancaps, anarchists, voluntaryists, agorists, etc to sound off without fear of reprisal from jack or zuck." I'm not a libertarian, but I'm somewhat libertarianish and generally libertarian-friendly, so I felt comfortable with using their services and thought they'd feel comfortable with hosting me.
I'm sure there are plenty of users there with whom I'd disagree on many things, but that's likely true in one way or another of most other such hosts, and for that matter of Twitter and Facebook; and I do agree with them about being minimalist as to server-based moderation rules. There are probably lots of instances you can find that are similarly comfortable for you.
[2.] I then set up an account at the host I chose, which was quite easy. The one complication was that it required an e-mail address that wasn't on @gmail.com, @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, or @law.ucla.edu, apparently because it had run into spam problems with those domains. (Not sure how @law.ucla.edu ended up on that list, but there it is.) No problem: I had a @yahoo.com e-mail account that I used (or I could have just set one up for that).
UPDATE: I've heard from two sources that there were problems setting up the Mastodon account from the mobile app. I set it up from my computer rather than my phone, so maybe that's what made it extra smooth for me.
[3.] I then went to moa.party while signed on to my Twitter account and my Mastodon account; I clicked on a few places (which were self-explanatory), and now my Tweets end up on my Mastodon account, and vice versa.
This works particularly well for me because we auto-feed our blog, via its RSS feed, to Twitter, so now all post titles and post links also ended up posted on Mastodon as well.
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As it happens, we currently have over 23,000 Twitter followers, and under 100 Mastodon followers; but we've only been on Mastodon for one day, and we're glad to have any extra readers that we can get—especially since setting up was so simple. And while there might be who-knows-what flareups with various Mastodon sites (whether our host site or otherwise) trying to block us in the future, if they disapprove of our content (just as there might be with Facebook or Twitter), for now it seems to me like a worthwhile experiment for us. Perhaps it might be for you as well.
UPDATE: I updated paragraph 1 to make clearer what I think it's important for the host and me to agree about, and what it's not.