I mentioned last week that I’ve installed the SemPress theme to take advantage of IndieWeb features like microformat labeling to enable parsing in webmentions, a kind of new-era trackback but better. Well, it’s more than just that. As I’m sure most people reading this are aware, there’s been a lot of activity in the world of social media in the past month or so. A new owner at Twitter, people moving to different platforms, and Elon Musk having a bit of a meltdown. All of this has gotten me thinking about the future of my own online presence and has encouraged me to look into revving this blog back up and using it as a hub for my own content of all types.
To that end, I’ve also been experimenting with the ActivityPub plugin by Matthias Pfefferle. One thing has built on top of another and I’ve now federated, or connected, this blog to the so-called fediverse, of which its most media-covered platform Mastodon is just a part. That allows this blog to be searchable from Mastodon or any other part of the fediverse. You can check it out for yourself by searching for @mikewmerritt. A second plugin called Friends by Alex Kirk turns the platform into a feed reader of sorts, allowing for curation of content from all over the web. It’s recently made some changes and collaborated with the ActivityPub folks to allow two-way friending: People on the fediverse can friend you and you can friend them.
It’s now at a point where I can use this blog as its own fediverse instance, just as some people have by installing Mastodon on a server. I can create new content, reply and like other content, and sync it elsewhere. I ensure ownership of my content so it’s safe if some platform shuts down or my account gets banned. It’s not a perfect replacement. I’ll still likely need account on social media platforms for social content discovery and there are still some features missing, but the capabilities are developing quickly!
The blog will develop over the course of the next several weeks and months as I decide how best to integrate some additional features to make it fediverse-ready.