Mastodon is is the 5th or 6th social media platform I've engaged with in a serious fashion, but it's been awhile since I had to start a profile from scratch. In the process I have relearned the one constant truth of all social media -- until you have accumulated at least 300-400 connections, the flow of information is going to seem skewed and limited, and you are going to wonder whether it is worth your time and effort.

Thus, echoing what others have said, you need to do more than just set up a profile and lurk, thinking an algorithm will direct information your way. You need to peruse the "Following" and "Follower" lists of people whose contributions you find interesting, then connect. Start with your local server and its Group and Profile directories (much easier to do from the web instance). Look for people you have followed on other platforms, and then look through their connections. The distributed nature of the fediverse (the so-called siloes that seem to cause a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from people still clinging to twitter) can make it a bit more difficult to find and connect to people quickly, but patience will be rewarded. Take the time to dip into other people's timelines, and connect to those that maintain interesting and active feeds. You will quickly notice a perception of increased 'quality' in your newsfeed once you have a few hundred links.

To further enrich your newsfeed, make use of the 'Domain Subscription' tool available under 'Follow and followers' selection at the lower left of your Profile page. If a bunch of people you follow have their profiles on another server, chances are that the local community is home to others sharing their interests. By entering a subscription to their server, the local newsfeed they receive will be shared in your feed. Over time, you will then be able to pick out others to follow and correspond with.

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Placing a list of hashtags of interest in your profile keeps them conveniently located for future use, but they won't return your profile to someone else's search using those same terms. If you want people to find you through your common interests, then you will need to place that hashing list inside a post, like so.

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Try this. Copied from Sharon Bairden
To help make connections: name 5-7 things that interest you but aren't in your profile, as tags so they are searchable. Then boost this post or repeat its instructions so others know to do the same.
#politics#Therestispolitics #economics #news #thenewagents #currentaffairs #heritageRailways #crimefiction #history

@mrgeoffshumba In my early days with , I worked hard at hashtagging everything, but the ability to do full-text searches made it feel redundant for the way I tend to interact with these networks. However, you are absolutely spot on with their importance on . I'm going to need to relearn some old habits, and develop some new ones, e.g. figuring out the best instances for unlisting replies so as not to clutter threads unnecessarily.

@jeffdean It was just advice passed on to me that I found very useful & productive. Mastodon is different, slower, but very rewarding. The wheat is harder to harvest, but the chaff is much less!

@sidhra Here's what it looks like in my web client looking at my instance in

@Drgandalf Character limits are significantly larger on Mastodon, but I don't know if limits are uniform across all servers. I this case, I just kept writing to a logical conclusion. Definitely an advantage if you want to have a thoughtful exchange.

@jeffdean Not that easy, if you can’t see Following and Follower lists of people from different servers.

@jeffdean Find 30-40 people who post about the stuff you really care about and you're set. Fedi is about quality, not quantity, in many ways.

Says the dude with more than 30-40.

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