Nicholas Penree

Infinitely Curious

This is the personal weblog of Nicholas Penree.

New Tidbyt App: Mastodon Follows

Several Tidbyt users have contacted me and asked if I could create a Mastodon version of the Twitter Follows app that I released a while back. With more and more people migrating over to Mastodon from the bird site, I'm happy to report that I've submitted a new Pull Request to the Tidbyt Community Apps repository, adding a Mastodon Follows app to the collection.

You can easily and quickly check the follower count of any username on a Mastodon instance without having to navigate through multiple sites or grant access to your account.

Status: Published

Update (1/24): Tidbyt has merged and published the application to the Tidbyt mobile app! Search for "Mastodon Follows" to install it.

When I set out to create this app, I had a few key goals in mind. Firstly, I wanted to enable users to view the follower count of any username on an instance, not just their own. Secondly, I wanted to ensure that users would not have to grant access to the Tidbyt app in order to view the follower count. Lastly, I wanted to avoid hardcoding a list of "blessed" instances into the app.

ℹ️ Developer Note

The Mastodon Followers app is written in Starlark using Pixlet; an open-source app runtime and UX toolkit for highly-constrained displays.

I had the same goals when I first built the Twitter Follows app. However, goal number three presented a bit of a challenge. Tidbyt Inc. does not allow for Community Apps that run on their servers to allow a user to enter an arbitrary URL to make an HTTP Request to.

Mastodon is distributed at its core and federation means anyone can start up their own instance. To maintain some control around the instances that can be accessed, but still keep the directory easily maintained, the app searches for instances registered on

If you don't see your instance, have your instance admin sign up and the instance will show up after the verification process has been completed.


A Tidbyt retro display showing a mastodon logo with the text "31 followers" next to it. A username "" is scrolling underneath.

Next Steps

Hopefully the Tidbyt folks will have some time to review the Pull Request and get the app in the beta stage so it can be tested before hitting the mobile app for everyone to install.

If you'd prefer to run your own version on your Raspberry Pi, you can use the Tidbyt for Homebridge plugin.

Here is an example app config:

    "id": "MastodonFollows",
    "enabled": true,
    "updateOnStartup": true,
    "pushToBackround": true,
    "script": "/home/pi/tidbyt/",
    "schedule": "*/5 * * * *",
    "config": [
            "key": "instance",
            "value": "{\"display\":\"\",\"value\":\"\"}"
            "key": "username",
            "value": "drudge"

You'll just need to change to match your instance and drudge to match whatever username you'd like to display followers for.

I'll update this post as the app goes through the review process. Feel free to follow me on Mastodon for future updates.

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