Mastodon Clients Could Do So Much More

Originally published at: Mastodon Clients Could Do So Much More - TidBITS

Current releases of Mastodon clients look and work essentially like apps for Twitter, with a chronological timeline of posts. Can Mastodon’s open architecture let clients advance beyond the Twitter paradigm?


There’s already some degree of manual categorization possible. You can follow a hashtag and view just that hashtag. You can organize your contacts into lists and view just one list. On the iPad, Toot! shows all of these options in the sidebar, I think.

I do think there’s a strong case for client-side algorithmic sorting or highlighting of certain posts.

I think that what will be more interesting is not Mastodon per se but the fediverse as a whole. Right now there are various fediverse projects that mimic Youtube, Instagram, Goodreads, etc. And just yesterday, it occurred to me that rather than setting up separate accounts to use each of the services that interest you, you should be able to have a home account on one instance that provides utility services (user authentication, contact management), and hook in those other services as something like plugins.

What radically new approaches would you like to see in a Mastodon app?

I would like to schedule sending posts akin to how works.

This different enough for you? GitHub - quadrismegistus/mastotron: Different interface to mastodon

1 Like

Some clients can do that, e.g. Tusky for Android.

What about groups/communities, like they have in FaceBook, or Reddit, or in my community software (remember WebCrossing?).

That provides a community feel, and and easy way to leaf through old discussions, and store and find resources.

Not consistent with fleeting social network like Mastodon?

Some sources say users are declining from a peak of 2.5 million to 1.4 million.

Thanks for the article! You brought a few things into focus for me. I almost stopped using Twitter a few years ago because of the problems you discussed. That was long before Musk entered the picture.

I will add Mastodon to my tool set and give it a try.

I think you have made the Fediverse very small by wanting to take apart Mastodon and put it back together differently. Mastodon is way different (and imo better) than Twitter under the hood. Its ok to want to make Mastodon better, but recognize it as a singular expression and approach to the vastness of what can be built on the activitypub protocol. There are literally a hundred different projects right now, all capable of interacting with other fediverse apps, including Mastodon: Forums, book clubs, photo sites, video sites, booking marking, events, blogging, long form writing, pod casting, contact pages, and so much more. Unlike Twitter, anyone is allowed to build on this platform. But to free your full creativity, stop thinking of it as merely Mastodon. | The bespoke fediverse guide.

1 Like

The issue for me is time suck. All social media tends to do just that, unfortunately.

Limiting your time is OK, but ultimately you can spend 10 mins reading unimportant stuff or the same time reading something of interest/use – the problem is finding it amongst the plethora of fluff, regardless of which social media network you’re using.

Good point, and I guess you could make a list for each individual to simulate what I was suggesting.

Oh, that’s interesting. I’ll have to ponder that.

Whoa! That’s very cool. Just diving in now. I’m not sure it’s useful, but it’s fun to watch.

I think that’s a fine idea, though I don’t have a sense of how to accomplish it with what I know about Mastodon right now, and it feels like it might need more than client-level capabilities.

That’s a fair point, and I’ll admit near-complete ignorance of what’s possible in the Fediverse. However, what sets Mastodon apart, I’d suggest, is the network effect. Features are important, which is why I was focusing on them, but there has to be a compelling group of people for any Fediverse service to survive.

There are a couple of implementations of groups on top of Mastodon. The general idea is someone sets up a group account, people follow the group account, and the group account broadcasts anything sent to it back to all the group members.

8 posts were split to a new topic: Who pays for Mastodon servers?

FWIW, I just tried this and hated it because posts that contain the followed hashtag show up in my Home feed, which is patently not what I want. That just increases the clutter, rather than letting me see what’s being talked about with #ChatGPT, for instance. (This is in the Mastodon Web client; I don’t know if other clients handle following hashtags differently.)

Yeah, following a hashtag is just like following a person, and that’s happening at the back end—if you follow a tag, it’ll be in your timeline regardless of client.

Near as I can tell, there’s not a canonical way to set up a hashtag as a “saved search” so that you’ve got quick access to it but it’s not in your timeline.

I’m looking forward to what Mona or Ivory may do with this going forward. One thing that both allow (and is not standard Mastodon behavior) is adding a user to a list and then removing that person from your home timeline, replicating what Twitter allows (i.e., add a Twitter account to a list without following the account.)

I have the TestFlight Ivory client for Mac, as well as the Mona beta for Mac. Both are already great IMO. (The Mona beta for MacOS is here.)

As for the topic of the thread - frankly, what I want from Mastodon is to do what I used to do in Twitter in a third-party client. That’s the way that I see the service right now. The one thing that I am missing so far is federation-wide search of posts. Hashtag search is fine, but I’m looking for all posts or, I guess, (toots :roll_eyes:) that mention my town, for example, as a way to see what’s going on in my town.

Several folks have figured out which developer had the idea about treating Mastodon more like Slack and connected me. And, his Ebou app is now available in TestFlight. It’s very early days, but it’s an interesting approach.

The Mastodon developers made an intentional decision not to allow full-text search out of concern that it would be used to target marginalized people. I know of one opt-in search engine.