You can follow us on the Fediverse at: @email@example.com
I’m not usually one to prognosticate about the future of the web, but I am often thinking about how to make our stuff available to our audience, and to give good advice to our students and those just starting out running a business. For years I have been a proponent of the Indie Web and POSSE (publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere), choosing to publish on our blog, then send it out on the web from there. I have never liked the walled garden of social media, which likely stems from the fact that I remember the web before the rise of social media. It was far from perfect, but it was open. We are all products of a certain era, and my ways were set in a time before social media when people published onto the open web.
With the rise of the Fediverse, those days are returning. Whether they flower and bloom remains to be seen, but I am embracing it nonetheless. This blog, and all of our media, is now on the Fediverse. Thanks to the Activitypub WordPress plugin, our stuff can be read and interacted with on the fediverse on such services as Mastodon. I don’t want to get technical as to how it works (if you want that, you can read more here), but just to explain that it does work, and once it is setup there is no extra work on your part. And while Mastodon is likely the one you may have heard of, there are many other parts of the fediverse that replicate almost all of the commercial social media sites. So while it is cool that there are non-commercial ways (ie. no ads, no algorithms, no tracking) to explore the social web, I think the coolest thing about it is that they communicate with each other. In years past when I posted something I would write it up as a blog post, then create separate social media posts that would link back to it. Granted there are tools now that make this much easier, but it is still fundamentally the same thing. Because big social media created a bunch of walled gardens, there was no way for people who saw a post on one social network to see what I had posted somewhere else. Now they can.
The other issue I have with the big players of social media is their algorithms and pay to play attitude. Whenever I post something to big social media, almost none of our followers see it. Unless, that is, I pay to “boost” the post. No thanks.
If you publish to the web via WordPress, I recommend giving the Activitypub plugin a look. It doesn’t cost anything and has to potential to dramatically increase your reach. And if it doesn’t work out as many are thinking it may, it will almost surely be the stepping stone onto the next big thing. And it gives you a central place to interact with the social web. So instead of monitoring comments on a variety of different sites, they are all centralized. On your own real estate. Making digital sharecropping a thing of the past.
Note: if you do put your stuff on the fediverse, leave a comment and let me know where so I can check it out. You can leave a comment on the blog itself, or directly on the fediverse, and all the comments will be aggregated in both places. Did I mention that the Activitypub plugin has made this possible? Well it has. Pretty cool, right?