User Tools

Site Tools


Twitter, the concept, is a wonderful idea: your user profile is a timeline of posts and you can build your own news feed of other people's posts. No stories, no complicated “about” pages, everything is chronological, blah blah blah.

Pleroma tries to get back to Twitter's roots by presenting a simple (chronological) timeline, no ads, and offers many decent mobile & desktop apps that are free and open source. However, even better than that (and what makes it distinct from rival services such as and others) is that it is part of a decentralized network with thousands of servers and millions of users. We have talked about the advantages of decentralized networks before in our series of matrix articles, but to briefly recap, decentralization is preferred by the admins in the “homebrew” side of the internet – a network with many servers offers more privacy, more control, and more resiliency than dependency on a single server hosted by a single entity.

Pleroma, Mastodon, and similar software in this network are building a “federated universe” – for short, fediverse. Come give Fediverse a shot and kick your Facebook addiction!


TL;DR: it's a decentralized Twitter clone with a number of advantages:

  • You don't need a phone number or email address to sign up.
  • Posts can have up to 5000 characters.
  • The service is decentralized.
  • There are “whole known network” feeds and “public timeline” aka brickshop's public posts.
  • There's no censorship or ads.
  • Content warnings and advanced filtering tools are built in
  • There are more privacy features

How do I sign up?

Signing up for the Brickshop Microblog service is very painless. To begin, point your web browser to our Registration page. You'll be prompted to provide the server with several pieces of information:

  • Username: similar to Twitter, a user on “the Fediverse” is identified by a @username. Unlike Twitter, a full username looks a bit more like an email address in the form @user@website . You don't need to worry about this too much, but when sharing your username, it's best practice to share either a URL (like ) or the full address (like ). For better opsec, try a short, simple username that you have never used anywhere else (something like “acab” is better than “pdxkopkiller1312”)
  • Display name: this is the name you want to present to the world. You can change it as often as you want and can include stuff like emojis.
  • Email: you don't need to enter a working email, but you can enter in an email if you worry about getting locked out of your account. In that case we can send you a password reset link.
  • Password: pick a good one that you'll remember.
  • CAPTCHA: To prevent spam and automated abuse, you will need to enter a captcha during registration. If you have problems with CAPTCHA (visually impaired or something else) please reach out and we'll just make an account for you.

Now finish setting up your profile by either clicking the menu button and tapping the wrench in the top right (mobile) or by clicking the wrench to the right of your avatar (desktop). From here, you can set an avatar and header pic. You can also add additional privacy settings here: hiding your profile from search engines, hiding your followers / following list, making your account “private” (must manually approve followers), etc.

If you need content warnings, go to the other settings menu (indicated by a gear) and scroll to the section that says “Timeline.” The second option, “collapse posts with subjects,” is what you're looking for.

I would suggest scrolling down to the bottom of the main settings menu and clicking the box that says “enable web push notifications” – this will give you alerts when people engage with you 8-)

How do I use this?

We can largely divide use of Pleroma into two parts, “reading” and “writing”


Now that you've finished signing up, you should see a screen that looks something like this:

This is called the federated timeline (or “the whole known network”) and is one cool thing that sets apart Fediverse from Twitter and other traditional social networks. Every public post in the network that our server “sees” will automatically pop up here! If you don't see anything interesting on your feed, go over here and you might find someone cool to follow.

There are some other timelines you should look at:

Public timeline is a list of all public posts on our server. This is a bit like the federated timeline in that it's an easy way to find new people to follow or see some chatter when things are slow. Until our server picks up momentum, though, it's probably going to be a bit quiet.

Timeline is the regular feed we're all used to with Twitter and Facebook: it's simply a list of posts and reposts from people you follow. This is probably where you'll spend most of your time.

Hashtags are a special kind of filtered timeline. They operate kind of like a chatroom on a given topic. We recommend including a #hashtag often in your public posts when relevant to help people find stuff – maybe things like #pdx, #sea, #alerta, #blog, whatever.

The worst part about federated networks is that when they're young, there's very little content available locally. The good news is that if you happen to find that a friend is using another server, you can follow them, and their posts will start showing up in the feed as well as “friend of a friend” content.


Pleroma's authorship model is closer to Facebook than it is Twitter. Although posts resemble tweets, there are some key differences:

  • Privacy is better. When authoring a post, there are 4 options for the intended audience: public, which is for everyone everywhere to read; unlisted, which is public but won't show up on the public or federated timelines; private, which is only available to your followers; and direct, which is only visible to people explicitly mentioned. Being able to change privacy settings as-needed reduces the need for cumbersome “private” accounts.
  • There's markup. In short, that means you can do bolding, italicizing, making links, and so on. This allows posts to more closely resemble blog entries than tweets, which takes us to the second point….
  • The character limit is much longer. Right now, users have 5000 characters per post, in contrast to Twitter's limit of 280 characters. This is more than 15x the amount of room to express yourself! A major pitfall of twitter is the cramped post size; this can lead to people misinterpreting each other or oversimplifying things.
  • The attachment limit is increased. Multiple videos or videos can be attached, as well as PDFs, zip files, whatever. I believe the current limit is 16 media entries per post, but it may be higher.

And here's our final word of advice: a Pleroma <--> Twitter bridge exists that allows every post you make on Twitter to be backed up to Pleroma, and every post you make on Pleroma is likewise posted to Twitter. This is handy if you have concerns about getting banned by Twitter or simply want your content to reach as many people as possible.

How do I use this on my phone?

Just the same way you use it on desktop! The mobile website is awesome by default.

You can try instead if you'd like.

Android apps:

Apple apps:

Who should I follow?

Any nifty tricks?

Oh yeah hella.

When posting ….

  • Every post can have its own privacy setting. This makes posting more Facebook style than Twitter style: you can make some posts that only your followers can see and others that the whole world can see. There's an in-between, “unlisted” (open lock button) which people viewing your profile or following you can see, but it doesn't show up in the public timeline or federated timeline.
  • Content warnings can be added for sensitive topics as a polite gesture
  • Sensitive images can be marked “sensitive” for the same reason
  • You can change the format type. This is pretty cool; Markdown can be used for writing blog posts (it lets you make hyperlinks, do bolding and other formatting, etc etc) while BBcode lets you do forum-style markup.
  • Pleroma <--> Twitter bridge makes your Pleroma and Twitter accounts share their posts

User profile settings (wrench):

  • You can hide your profile from search engines
  • You can hide your follower / following count
  • You can export and import your “following” list and blocklist

Site settings (gear):

  • You can enable CW feature (collapse post with topic)
  • You can enable notifications
  • You can customize what notifications you get
  • You can “mute” certain phrases / words, minimizing the post until you un-minimize it.
  • You can change the theme to look however you want! Any colors, any fonts, even the “roundness”.

Mastodon / Tweetdeck frontend Find the Pleroma look kind of, hmm, stale? An alternative frontend is built in that looks like Tweetdeck on Desktop, and simply a different approach to twitter on mobile. You can get to it at and login with your same password. This is cool on Desktop because you can add new columns for news sources / hashtags you wanna follow.

pleroma.txt · Last modified: 2020/07/03 16:55 by acab