For as long as I can recall, I’ve enjoyed the shiny new things in life. Surely, there’s nobody else out there who can relate to that obsession. Surely. Plop down the new hotness, bonus points if it’s an Apple product, and you’ve just stolen my attention. There’s a sea change happening in the world of social media right now, and it’s difficult to turn away from the noise (which is loud and distracting). My inability to turn away from the shiny things in life leads to perplexing and occasionally anxiety-inducing indecision. Right now, two things are tussling in my mind. Mastodon.


I’ve spent the last few days considering what the two services offer and how they do or might fit into my life. They both offer potential ways to stay connected with the world without potentially sacrificing a part of my soul to some careless tech giant. One potential way to solve this dilemma is to use both of them concurrently, finding an elusive best of both worlds scenario that I’m not sure actually exists.

I have a fraught relationship with social media, and my mind works best without exposure to larger services.1 Posting and replying on is enough of an effort for me, and I’m still not good at it (as you can tell from my lack of presence here). I hardly have room in my life for one service, much less two or more.

But what if ActivityPub is the solution? It has the potential to reinvigorate the notion that the web itself is the greatest social network. Why sign up for yet another disconnected service—what’s the count up to now?—when you can choose a favorite and, through internet magic, stay connected everywhere? Lucky for me, ActivityPub is already built into and Mastodon. Problem solved, right?

Not so fast. This whole thing wouldn’t be necessary to write if that were the case. I hesitate to use the word “blame” here, but it’ll have to do. The blame rests on those self-same services. They have inherently different ideologies which don’t play well with each other:

  •, as its name suggests, is intended to be a blogging-first service with a social media component attached. Communication is the goal, not acquiring followers or likes.
  • Mastodon is intended to be social first, with the ability to publish short posts. Communication is important, but so is promotion.

You won’t find public boosts, likes, or follower counts on, and that’s how it should be. On Mastodon, you won’t be able to style a personal website how you want or write a novel-length post, as intended. The services themselves don’t offer any convincing advantages over each other, especially with ActivityPub involved.

That’s a lot of words without a real explanation for my indecision. What’s the point then? There’s a magnetic force, an inexorable draw emanating from the Mastodon side of this issue. A siren call that I’m finding hard to resist.


One app has been enough for me to consider spinning up my own Mastodon instance and giving that service my all. One app has brought joy to my device usage. One beautiful app with character to spare is the reason for all of this. Unlike the app, Ivory has the two most important qualities of any essential app:

  1. Speed.
  2. Personality.

I’m certainly not a developer of any sort; in this case, consider me more of an armchair critic. However, I know in my bones that Craig Mod was 100% correct when he wrote that fast software is the best software.

When I open Ivory I feel imbued with the spirit of a certain zippy hedgehog. My fingers feel light and nimble. Every swipe, every tap, every thought becomes quick and instinctual. Get into the zone and Ivory might just feel like it’ll start doing things for you. I hardly have to think about what I’m doing when using it.

When I open up the app I feel a brake pedal depress on my thoughts. Certainly, the 3.0 update fixed many issues, but it still lacks the speed and charm of Ivory. With this app, there’s a palpable sense of waiting. Waiting for new posts. Waiting for new screens to appear. Waiting for too much to visibly load. Each tap introduces a few blank moments, and those add up. Additionally, there’s hardly a swipe action to be seen. There’s no on-screen context while replying to someone. There are no quick animations, fun colors, or neat icons, a.k.a. charm.

I think one reason why enough people asked about using Ivory as a client that Manton wrote a post about their interoperability (or lack thereof) is because it’s such a joy to use. If the two apps were on equal ground, then maybe the post wouldn’t have been necessary.

I think there’s a good future for the app. Certainly, there’s nowhere for it to go but up. The number one priority should be speed. Make the thing lightning quick, to the point where it feels like it’s anticipating my every move. The dreaded loading spinner should be avoided at all costs. I want to see it leave Back to the Future-style burning tire tracks wherever it goes.

A white-haired scientist and his young protégé stand atop a pair of flaming tire tracks in the middle of a dark parking lot.

Nail that aspect and everything else becomes icing on the cake. From there I’d love to see swipe actions for common tasks, subtle animations for button presses, long-press context menus all over the place, and maybe even some fun custom app icons. Make the app feel less utilitarian and more like a communication compatriot who likes to party a little bit.

I hope these aren’t new ideas for anyone working on the service and/or app. If they are, then please consider these thoughts my official feature requests. The app has the potential to be just as lively and joyful to use as Ivory. As one of the main methods of interacting with the service, it has an obligation to be. I think it can get there—it’s come a long way—and I’m rooting for it.

  1. Indeed, I’ve not signed up for Threads or Bluesky. I’ve long since stopped using Facebook, Twitter (or X or whatever), Instagram, and the like. ↩︎