When starting a brand-new server, the best approach is to follow _one person._One active user on a different server who you want to see; that’s all it takes. […]
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow two or three people!
The way your network grows is through follows and reposts. Your Fediverse feed is the collection of all users people on your server follow, and all the content they’ve reposted.
This is efficient. It contains only the posts you and your users want to see. It’s cost-effective, user-friendly, but it takes time. Like planting a seed, you have to give it the right environment and wait.
This is how I built out my follows after setting up a Mastodon instance in summer 2021. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.
I would also recommend routinely checking your server’s Profile Directory page and Explore tab — I do this about once each month. Unfollow some people that are no longer posting or that aren’t quite as interesting as you initially expected and follow some new people.
Over time you’ll craft an excellent home timeline and you’ll have more opportunities to discover even more new users through your new follows’ boosts.