Do you believe in karma? If Elon Musk does, he might regret cutting off third party Twitter apps in such a disrespectful way last week. The makers of one of the very best Twitter apps, Tweetbot, have thrown their considerable weight behind Mastodon – and their app, Ivory, is fantastic. If you've been put off by Mastodon's web interface, Ivory for iOS will delight you.
I've been using Ivory in beta, and as you'd expect from the makers of Tweetbot it feels very much like Tweetbot. And that's a good thing: it's like using Twitter, if Twitter wasn't full of rubbish ads, nazis and a home page that tried to show you everything but what you actually wanted to see. It's brilliant, and it's in the App Store now.
What is Mastodon and why should you care?
As we explained previously, Mastodon feels very like Twitter did in its early days before we started routinely calling it a "hellsite". Unlike Twitter it's decentralised, so it can't be bought and changed by a single rich man, and because many of the people who built it were fleeing online abuse it has hate speech protections built in to most of the servers. The ones that don't act on hate speech tend to find themselves blocked.
I've been on Mastodon for years but I've only really got into it in the last few months, and it really does feel like a breath of fresh air compared to Twitter – particularly now that the elastic band appears to have broken at Twitter HQ and the site appears to be losing basic, essential functions such as notifying you of replies.
One of the few issues with Mastodon for many potential switchers was the lack of decent apps for it. There are more now than there were a few months back – Mammoth, currently in testing, is wonderful, and there are plenty of excellent apps for other platforms too – but for me the arrival of Ivory feels significant. That's because its predecessor Tweetbot helped popularise Twitter by rounding off its rough edges and making the user experience much more pleasant and customisable. And now Ivory is doing the same for Mastodon.
Mastodon is part of a much bigger picture, a "fediverse" where content isn't controlled by corporations and where people have the power. And with app developers of this calibre getting serious about it, I think Mastodon's future is currently looking very bright.