Elephants all the way down

I’ve been trying to follow discussions about a return to blogs as a preferred, personal publishing tool, and how they could integrate with Mastodon. One technology that comes up as a possible way to connect blogs to Mastodon is WebSub (formerly PubSubHubbub).

I read a bit about using Bridgy Fed to do this a while ago.

The Mastodon in the room

I’m curious if there are easier ways to connect a blog to something like Mastodon, and have status updates flow between the two.

One of the people who I try to keep up with (albeit superficially), is Kevin Marks. It’s worth reading his thoughts about Mastodon and Twitter that he published last year: “Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24“.

One of the challenges is that the “fediverse” model is somewhat more complex and nuanced than the model we see in Twitter and, to a large degree, in Facebook. On Facebook and Twitter, we tend to have a binary choice: follow or don’t follow.

In a fediverse model, there are more layers, potentially:

The structure of Mastodon and GnuSocial instances provides multiple visible publics by default, and Mastodon’s columnar layout (on wider screens) emphasises this. You have your own public of those you follow, and the notifications sent back in response, as with Twitter. But you also have two more timeline choices – the Local and the Federated. These make the substructure manifest. Local is everyone else posting on your instance. The people who share a server with you are now a default peer group. The Federated public is even more confusing to those with a silo viewpoint. It shows all the posts that this instance has seen – GnuSocial calls it “the whole known network” – all those followed by you and others on your instance. This is not the whole fediverse, it’s still a window on part of it.

This sort of model may be a little more effort than most people would be comfortable with.

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