This website is now a Fediverse citizen

Sebastian Greger

While Mastodon promises to solve some of the problems of centralized social networking – and may inevitably create new ones in the process – the sudden popularity of the ActivityPub protocol led me to reflect about how I want to partake in that. I ended up connecting this blog to the Fediverse as an experiment.

tl;drYou can now interact with my website via Mastodon and (probably) other Fediverse clients as wellConnect from here

A mass exodus has seemingly started from Twitter, as people leave the sinking ship. I haven’t been active on Twitter in a long time, but with Mastodon/Fediverse gaining some traction I feel the appeal of embracing this “open web”-based way of social networking – I always disliked using the walled garden of Twitter as social glue between websites (while often misinterpreted as a “public plaza”, Musk’s takeover has well highlighted that a private platform can never be “the commons”).

Frankly, I have no interest in yet another “stage”. I have long found my preferred form of presence on the web: my own site, in my style and with my rules (not unlike CJ Chilvers’ “Personal Publishing Principles” that I absolutely love); #indieweb. And while it mostly happens in private, rather than publicly, this website has provided me with a range of genuinely great interactions over the years – minus all the noise, drama and overhead from Twitter.

The “Resources” section ist the public outlet of my otherwise rather private “digital garden”.

Over the past years, a lot of work on this website has turned it into a literal “second brain”; an incredibly efficient tool for my very personalized knowledge work workflow (to a great degree in private). Most importantly the recent addition of my “digital garden”, which I increasingly enjoy over the stream-like blog/journal.

Focusing on centralizing all my web activity on my own “platform” is not least a reflected decision on how I allow technology to shape my self. And with Mastodon essentially being one big feed reader with social features, my approach is to use it that way. And that is not much different from how this site has worked for a long time: embracing Indieweb protocols like Micropub and Webmentions; independent but connected. Yet, while setting up an Indieweb site able to interact with others has quite some friction, the Fediverse – and Mastodon in particular – can be a lot more approachable for some: at least when signing up for an existing instance, it “just works”. Hence I can see value in reaching into that space.

Screenshot of the ActivityPub stream on this website.
It’s no accident that the Fediverse profile page on this site resembles some of Mastodon’s design.

So the way forward remains to first and foremost develop and curate this site; “building my own barn” as a place for myself, and for those who care enough to occasionally come back and maybe even interact. Instead of syndicating (aka. POSSE, “Post on your Own Site Syndicate Elsewhere”), I chose the experimental path of connecting the site “natively” to the Fediverse. If “Mastodon is just blogs”, there is no need to set up another blog there; instead, this blog’s reach should extend into the Fediverse. (As a nerdy side note, it’s also more DRY.)

Let’s see where this takes me. I might even retire the “stream” entirely in the near future, or remodel it to merely be a “change log” for the parts i deem much more relevant: as a writer, I enjoy curating and developing topic-based content so much over dropping “posts” into a chronological stream. It has more value for myself, and ultimately for others as well.

If you already are on Mastodon (or the Fediverse in a broader sense), you should be able to follow me by remote-subscribing here. But you are equally welcome to go the classic RSS way of reading my feed, or check out my (rather dormant, waiting-to-be-resurrected) email newsletter.

I of course did all of that using #kirby CMS. And in case you want to embark on a similar journey, here’s a little write-up:

I documented plenty of resources, along with some of my learnings in – surprise surprise – a living document in my “digital garden”.

This was not trivial, but I learned a lot about these new and coming protocols in the process.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

My occasionally sent email newsletter has all of the above, and there is of course also an RSS feed or my Mastodon/Fediverse profile.