@DonnaLanclos Absolutely. If you can see a toot from someone you wanna follow, just click the person-shaped icon.
Otherwise, search for the person with their handle and instance (frex you are @DonnaLanclos) and add them.
Complication: some servers shun other servers. I've yet to have this be a problem though.
@DonnaLanclos from a UX pov not much really
think of it like email addresses, there are ones in your org and ones outside it
but you can generally email both kinds
the Mastodon "local" feed is for super-tight communities, best I can tell
Hometown is adapted from Mastodon, a decentralized social network with no ads, no corporate surveillance, and ethical design.