Strange IndiaStrange India

I miss blogs. Don’t get me wrong: I write professionally for various websites, and I have an email newsletter, but none of them quite give me that blog feeling from the 2000s. The closest thing I’ve found is Mastodon. Maybe it’s the jankyness, maybe it’s the do-it-yourself mindset, but scrolling through Mastodon reminds me of old school blogs.

As it turns out, I can combine my passion for old-school blogging with my love of Mastodon. There’s a simple plugin you can install on any WordPress site to make it part of the Fediverse, which is the network of social networks that includes Mastdon and, eventually, Meta’s Threads. Users of those networks can follow your blog and get all of your posts, right in their timeline.

To get started, you need only install the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress. You can do this by heading to Plugins in your WordPress dashboard and searching for the plugin. Install and enable it and you’re done: your website is now on the Fediverse.

Just install and activate the plugin and you're on the Fediverse. It's that easy.

Credit: Justin Pot

Every user of your WordPress site can now be followed by users of Mastodon and other social networks built on the ActivityPub protocol (collectively called “The Fediverse”). I confirmed this by searching for, and following, my blog from Mastodon.

It's my blog, but on Mastodon.

Credit: Justin Pot

I also followed myself, just to see how it looks. Full posts are available right in the Mastodon timeline, allowing people to follow keep up with my blog without leaving Mastodon. But the coolest thing, to me, is that any reply anyone sends to your posts shows up as a comment on your site.

Someone on Mastodon responded to my blog post. It showed up in the comments section.

Replies from Mastodon and other services show up right in the comments section.
Credit: Justin Pot

You can reply to the comments right in WordPress, if you want, and the user will get the reply the same way they would any other reply. This allows you to blog, just the way you remember, while allowing everyone else to use the tools they prefer.

And you can go even further. If you want to follow people back, if only out of respect, you’re going to need the Friends plugin, which basically turns your WordPress website into a complete ActivityPub social network. You can even set up the plugin to work with Mastodon apps, including Mona, the best app for Mastodon.

That’s just for power users, though. For most people, this is just a simple way to give potential readers another way to read and interact with your blog posts. Setting this up also means Threads users will eventually be able to follow your blog, without you having to use Threads. Other services, including Tumblr, are also working on integrating with ActivityPub. An ecosystem like that just might bring back blogging—at least, I hope so.

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