First, this is the completionist solution. The goal of this is to read (or at least see) every toot from everyone you follow. This is based on a draft I made many years ago on how I use twitter (with Tweetbot, RIP) which I never published, but now with Ivory it felt relevant again.
There will be no magic algorithm deciding what you see from a large pool of toots. This means you will need to be selective of whom you follow. There are plenty of people who post interesting things occasionally and then post a lot of other things. Luckily, there is a way to keep up with them also, lists, I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Now, the second thing you need is an app that syncs your timeline position and supports lists, and has the ability to sync the position on a list. Most apps sync the timeline, but lists aren’t well-supported. If your app doesn’t support it, then give Ivory a try. The end goal is to get to the top, glancing at every toot, and when you’re at the top you’re DONE for the day.
DONE? On a “social media” platform. Yep. One of the goals with this method is to avoid doom scrolling as much as possible. If you don’t have time to get to the top, just leave it and return another day.
The downside here is that you won’t see “things as they happen”, you might see a toot a day later when the discussion already stopped. That’s right, and I consider it a good thing, today’s world could use less quick replies and more slow thinking. But that’s just my opinion.
Anyway, lists. The rule of thumb is, anyone who toots too frequently, moved to a list and muted on the main feed. Again, what “too frequently” is depends on how much time you want to spend on mastodon per day. If you notice you’re falling behind, then you probably need to move more people to lists. When you have extra time, you then go check your lists. Sometimes I have a list for only one person, as that makes skimming it faster. Usually people have a few categories of toots, the ones about corn and other things and the ones with tips on effective GPO policies.
This is not optimal, but until apps figure out something like “show only toots with more than X favourites from this person” it works fine. And looking at the explosion of new mastodon clients, I’m very optimistic that we will soon get better ways to do this.
Because there are some interesting people who toot a lot who you want to stay up to date with, but if you put them on your timeline you’ll fill it up
Lastly, there is of course no “right way” to use mastodon. I liked this approach, but the fediverse is much more diverse than twitter ever was, and there are countless ways to consume or use it. I encourage you to try out different clients, and even non-mastodon clients using RSS.