1 Thing A Week 1 Thing
A Week

Why is Mastodon so much easier to automate in the Shortcuts app than Twitter or Instagram

Week 277.0 — 13th February '23

A simple question from me this week; how is that Mastodon has a far more useful set of Apple Shortcut integrations than Twitter or Instagram?

With the threat of Twitter's APIs being shut down for free use, I decided to build a simple shortcut that would post content across Mastodon, Twitter and Instagram in 3 simple steps.

OK, it's never that easy... I first had to fetch the title so that I could make the posts more than just a link and for Instagram, I need to fetch an image to post. All in, it wasn't a horrendous number of steps but way more than 3.

But that's the least of my worries. Mastodon does a great job of letting you choose the account as part of the action. There is no other step, the content is supplied in the shortcut and Mastodon posts. Twitter brings up the compose window and if not already selected, you can change the account. The UI is not intuitive at all. I've tried before and only now realise that clicking on the avatar lets you change the account you're using. But you have to change it each time.

Instagram is just awful. For Twitter and Instagram, it's pretty obvious to me that you might want the option of which account to use each and every time. If my personal account was the last used in the app, sometimes I am given the option to choose an alternative one but I've never seen it show me all of my options. If my last account is a secondary one, then the there's no guarantee there will be any options but I could make that work if it was reliable enough. Problem with that last scenario is that there is no context as to who you're posting as. Gets infuriating fast.

So my question may be rhetorical, but it really should be so much better than it is to post to these social networks via a Shortcut.

I hadn't checked until yesterday, but LinkedIn offers nothing at all.

I think the Twitter API is still in action, for now. At some point though I'll either need to swap it out for something more robust or I'll just have to give up posting there.

More from 1 Thing A Week
« How do you track what to watch next? Web Development History Update 4 for SkeletonCSS »



Quick links and commentary on interesting articles, videos and more throughout the week.

  1. 277.2 – Tuesday
    1. Electric car road trips are perfectly doable — if you plan ahead axios.com
  2. 277.5 – Friday
    1. Futura as an 80s Dark Fantasy Film Tenzin Tensor on youtube.com

Jump to notable items for Week #276, Week #278 , view the notable archive or my favourites.

About 1 Thing A Week

A website curated by @cchana bringing you 1 Thing A Week, delivered every Monday morning.

You can find a list of all articles in the archive, or read the most popular.

Find out more about 1 Thing A Week or read the privacy policy.


Visit the market and support 1 Thing A Week.

You can find 1 Thing A Week on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Reddit