Twitter is just getting worse each waking hour and is making the move to Mastodon so alluring. Elon Musk forced engineers to build a system that boosted his tweets to be more visible on the For You page which annoyed tweeps. The Twitter CEO who purchased the platform last year for $44 billion has been pushing the engineering team to make his tweets appear on people’s timelines even if they are not following him.
The ego-centric mogul has been posting controversial tweets, pushing his workers on his new Twitter 2.0 work ethics and firing close to 5000 employees which includes top executives and eliminating its communication team. This is alongside killing off third-party apps and the main website and app having outages as Elon pushes for revenue-based features such as Twitter Blue.
All these frustrations have made users switch to alternatives with the most popular one being Mastodon.
The decentralized(aka federated), ad-free and open-source microblogging platform founded by Eugen Rochko in 2016 has gotten so popular hitting around 300,000 monthly active users, close to 10,000 instances with almost 10 million accounts as of early February. In comparison, Twitter and Facebook have 237 million users and 2.9 billion users.
One huge difference between Mastodon and Twitter is that the former has several instances or servers located on different websites where its administrators have to run them as opposed to a central hub.
Mastodon has an interface similar to Twitter even its elements including retweets, timelines, favourites, bookmarks, replies and hashtags. The platform is mature and has its content moderation and technicals figured out – sort of. Check out our definitive explainer here.
So now that you’ve joined, you’ll soon find out that Mastodon first-party apps(iOS and Android) and web clients are pretty barebones which is fine for newbies but if you want to get the most, then you have the choice to use a third-party app and this platform is swimming in them.
Mastodon’s Android apps have a multitude of features lacking in their iOS versions.
My favourite is Tusky which has features like:
- Seeing federated timelines
- Replies are shown below the original posts
- Ability to switch between accounts and multiple instances
- Shortcuts to either reply, favourite or boost using another account
- Replies are shown with the oldest on top
- Ability to toggle the inclusion of boosts and replies in the timeline
- Dedicated UI for messages
- Support for server-side content filters
- Seeing edit history of edited posts
- Creating Lists, viewing and removing them
It is free and you can download it from the Google Play Store here. It is exclusively available on Android as there’s no iOS version. Here’s how it looks:
Another Mastodon android app I’ve been fiddling with is Trunks. It’s new but still ticks off most features listed above and more. Unlike Tusky, there’s no dedicated UI for direct messages and you can’t see edit history of edited posts.
In my opinion, Trunks has a more pleasing general user interface as seen in the image below. Download it here.
There’s a handful of Mastodon iOS apps. Ivory is a favourite among iPhone users. It is made by Tapbots who made Tweetbot, a favourite Twitter app among tweeps. The two-person team make other excellent iOS and MacOS apps.
Ivory is a paid app and there’s no Android version which is sad but understandable. It makes more sense to develop apps(paid) for iOS, especially for small developer teams.
You can download it here for free but you need a subscription to post.
But if you want a free Mastodon app for iOS, then the best option is Metatext. You can easily switch between your feeds and the direct messages category has a dedicated tab.
My favourite has been pinafore.social. This is a progressive web app with a simple interface and is more accessible as it supports screen readers. Its simplicity will lure users from Mastodon as the native web client is complicated.
Foer toise wondering, it has similar interface to Twitter’s as seen below:
Another web client I have to love is Elk. It’s pretty slick and still copies Twitter’s interface as well which navigation tabs on the left. It is built with Nuxt and it is free.
Another web client worth checking out is Cuckoo. It isn’t feature-packed at the two mentioned above. Access it here.
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