You’re missing something even though you’re right .
In the search field enter a word for a topic you’re interested in - let’s say ‘climate’. You’ll find some accounts and some hashtags (didn’t check, but I’d bet).
Click one of the interesting hashtags to find toots containing that hashtag. If you find an interesting toot, klick on the toot to (if exists) see the thread around it. Click on an author to find out what else s/he writes about.
If you find interesting people, follow them. Read what they write, take part in discussion, start tooting. People will follow you.
Yes, this is the really slow way, but I’ve not been overwhelmed by the amount of information, I had actively to look for people to follow to get opinions I do not share, I didn’t see anything, yet, that really annoyed me.
You can start by following me if you’d like and I’ll follow you .
I had the same question not long ago and now I became really happy not having the local and global timeline.
I started at the beginning of July to touch the topic mastodon using librem.one. Now I follow 81 people and 41 people follow me. Meanwhile I posted 339 toots. I didn’t get the impression, yet, that nobody talks to me.