Twitter May Soon Be Irrelevant, Thanks to a Mastodon Version of Tweetbot

It’s a work in progress but almost all the features are there

  • Ivory is essentially Tweetbot for Mastodon.
  • Twitter’s third-party app ban may drive its best users to Mastodon. 
  • Ivory will make the transition smooth for many new users.
Two smartphones laying perpendicular on a wood surface, one displaying the Mastodon logo and the other displaying the app.

Battenhall / Unsplash

Last week Twitter banned third-party apps. This week, one of the best Twitter apps has been reborn as Ivory, and it is already bringing more people to Mastodon. 

There are a few reasons to stick around on Twitter instead of moving over to Mastodon, and until last week, one of those reasons was that Twitter just had better apps. But since the company cut off third-party apps last week, there's one less reason to stay—especially as Tapbots, the developer behind Tweetbot, has just launched Ivory for iOS. This will make many people much more comfortable when they switch. 

"I can't give any higher praise to Ivory other than that it's largely the reason why I'm still using Mastodon today. Before Ivory, I always felt friction when I tried to use Mastodon. I was drawn back to Twitter because it was easier. But when I finally got on to the Ivory beta, it gave the platform much more weight for me. It was as if this client app suddenly gave Mastodon years of experience in one go, and now I was using a seemingly more mature platform," said Chris Hannah, a software developer and social media publisher, on his personal blog.

Twitter, but Not

Mastodon is a lot like Twitter, but is designed in a way that makes Twitter's most toxic problems impossible. Instead of being one monolithic service, Mastodon uses the ActivityPub protocol to allow decentralized connections. You can join any of the hundreds or thousands of Mastodon 'instances' and go from there. If your instance gets bought out by a megalomaniac, you can move to another one and carry on where you left off. 

Since Twitter started to go downhill, people have been jumping over to Mastodon. The problem was that there weren't any apps with the polish, beautiful design work, or features of the best Twitter apps. But that's changing. Tapbots Ivory is pretty much a version of its Tweetbot app, remade for Mastodon.

Right now, it's light on features compared to Tweetbot, but thanks to its familiar interface, and the fact that it comes from a top-tier developer, it's making Mastodon seem like a much more legit alternative to Twitter. And already, just a few days in, the early post-Musk exodus has picked up again. 

"I've been getting a ton of new followers since the release of Ivory," Jeff Johnson, an iOS and Mac app developer, said via Mastodon

As covered in our article about Twitter's third-party app ban, users of paid Twitter apps were the service's best users. Now they have a tusk-shaped carrot in the form of Ivory to redirect them from the stick of having their apps stop working. 

An iPhone with Mastodon displayed on the screen.


Twitter will surely be around for a while yet. Some users with millions of followers won't be interested in the diminished promotional opportunities of a smaller audience. But it's looking more and more like Mastodon is now the go-to place for micro-publishing and chit-chatting on the internet.

Maybe News Would Help

The only thing left for many folks is to have the big news sites touting their feeds over here. Twitter is both a source and a destination for breaking news, and to be really effective in that regard, Mastodon needs to achieve a critical mass of users. 

On the other hand, those sites all publish their stories via RSS, another open internet protocol that lets you follow the latest news from almost every site on the internet. Mastodon rose as an alternative to the trolling and hostility of Twitter, and many people prefer its more friendly, inclusive, and non-corporate fabric. We're learning that piling all of your Twitter eggs into one basket is unnecessary and goes against the internet's essence. 

And for developers like Tapbots, Mastodon is a much better place to be. Nobody can cut off access and ruin their business overnight, and the open nature of Mastodon means that they can build all kinds of features that were never allowed by Twitter's limited access to apps. So it seems that everyone, apart from maybe Twitter, is a winner.

Correction 1/26/2023: Updated paragraph 4 to more accurately reflect the type of service Masstodon is.

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