If you’re on Mastodon, Friendica and some other Fediverse platforms, you can follow hashtags. This means that posts with a particular tag will start appearing in your normal timeline alongside posts from people you follow.
For example, if you followed the hashtag #Gardening you would start to see posts about gardening appear in your timeline from people you aren’t following. This makes hashtag following a really useful way to discover new people to follow.
To follow a hashtag on Mastodon:
- Log in through your server’s website or using an app that supports hashtag following
- Search for the hashtag you want to follow, then click on the tag to see the results for that tag
- Click on the + icon or the Follow button in the top right corner of the hashtag results page to follow that hashtag. To unfollow it, click the same icon again.
- Posts using that tag will now show up in your home timeline even from people you aren’t following. They will be visible in the home timeline on the website and on the apps.
Which Mastodon apps support hashtag following?
You can follow hashtags through your server’s website, or in third party apps, or on the official iPhone/iPad app.
The official Android app doesn’t yet support hashtag following, so you’ll need to either switch to a third party app like Tusky or Fedilab, or log into your server’s website. Wherever you do the actually following, posts from followed hashtags will appear in the Home timeline of all other apps.
How do I check which hashtags I’m already following?
If you’re on your server’s website, go to your profile page, then click on the ︙ button and then Followed Hashtags.
Third party apps will have various interfaces for viewing your followed tags, usually in the settings menu for your profile.
If you’re on the official iPhone/iPad app you can check your current follows by going to your profile page and clicking on the # icon at the top.
How does hashtag following work at a technical level? How does it compare to groups?
Hashtag following is technically a filter for your server’s Federated timeline. It will only show posts that your server would have noticed anyway.
If you want to make your server notice more posts about particular topics, try joining a group instead. Groups actively share new posts to your timeline, even if your server hasn’t noticed them yet.
Can I follow hashtags through RSS instead?
Yes! You can use a feed reader to follow results for a particular tag feed on a particular server. The feed address format is the following:
(web address of server) /tags/ (hashtag without #) .rss
For example, if you wanted to follow the hashtag #dogs on the server mstdn.social, you would use this address as the RSS feed: