Woolly introduces a Twitter and TweetDeck inspired Mastodon app

Posted on

Twitter’s slow but steady exodus has spawned a new plethora of third-party Mastodon apps, such as Ivory, Mammoth, and Ice Cubes, connecting users to the increasingly popular open source and decentralized social network. Today we can add one more app to that list with the launch of Woolly, another solidly built iOS Mastodon client that focuses on providing a more customizable home screen, threaded views for reading longer conversations, and a TweetDeck-inspired layout for the iPad.

According to Woolly creator Matteo Villa, the main differentiator between his app and others is the approach he took when customizing the home screen. Woolly allows users to pin things like multiple external timelines, lists, bookmarks, search, hashtags, or even other user profiles directly to the app’s main tab bar, giving them quick and easy access to your favorite content.

You can also customize the icon associated with each pinned section for a more personalized experience.

Image Credits: Woolly

On both iPhone and iPad, the various pinned “columns” can be accessed by tapping their icon, but on iPad the columns are also presented in a TweetDeck-like view.

The latter option may appeal to those who relied more heavily on Twitter’s oft-ignored social media dashboard app, which the company seemingly phased out by dropping the TweetDeck Mac app last summer after dropping the mobile client and Windows support in previous years. (And, of course, it’s unclear to what extent TweetDeck even has a future under Elon Musk’s ownership.)

Image Credits: Woolly

Another notable feature of Woolly’s new app is its support for threaded conversations, which resembles Twitter’s own look and feel, complete with connecting lines between messages to help you track the replies as you scroll down. The feature aims to “provide a better reading experience for longer conversations,” explains Villa, something he especially missed when he switched to Mastodon’s official app.

The similarity between Woolly and Twitter doesn’t end there either. Even the row of icons for interacting with Mastodon posts feels a bit familiar, as the row starts with the reply button on the far left, followed by the retweet (or “boost” in Mastodon parlance) and then the heart icon to mark a post as favorite , like on Twitter.

Image Credits: Woolly

There are also several other nice touches in Woolly, such as a way to filter your timeline to hide boosts and replies, settings that let you specify whether you want links to open in the app or the system browser, a selection of both light and themes in dark mode to choose from, toggles to hide or unhide sensitive media or hide posts with content warnings, plus access to trending posts, links, and hashtags.

At launch, Woolly still isn’t as feature-rich as some other apps, like Ivory, which offers access to things like analytics and more custom timeline filters. However, Woollly comes across as a polished and stable app that also has the potential to make former Twitter users feel more comfortable making the switch to Mastodon.

Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the federated social web has been gaining ground as some former Twitter users began experimenting with other places to socialize online.

Mastodon’s user base has also grown, reaching 2.5 million monthly active users by the end of the year. While some Twitter users have since left, the network still has 1.2 million monthly active users and the wider Fediverse of decentralized social apps has grown to 2.3 million monthly actives. Recently, Mastodon has seen a resurgence as services like Flipboard and Medium started setting up their own servers for use by their own clients. In addition, the owner of WordPress.com just bought a plugin that allows blogs to reach readers on federated platforms. Over time, these moves could potentially grow the number of active users on the Fediverse.

Woolly is available on the App Store starting today and is available as a free download so you can check it out and try it out. But if you actually want to use the app to post on Mastodon, you’ll need to purchase the in-app subscription. Currently costing $0.99 per month or $6.99 per year, it includes the ability to log in to multiple accounts, customize the main tab bar, unlock more themes, and soon include Home Screen widgets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *