If you’re a huge nerd who is always online and follows open source projects religiously, you may have heard of the social media platform Mastodon. What makes Mastodon different than other free alternative social media platforms is its use of a protocol called ActivityPub. Unlike social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and others, which have proprietary code bases and develop their own internal protocol, ActivityPub aims to make the social web behave more like a decentralized service like email. That is, with multiple competing providers that all implement the same standards. The decentralized nature of email is what has made it so ubiquitous and long-lasting as a means of communication. If ActivityPub is succesful, we couldhave an equally robust open system for the social web.
ActivityPub services are still in their infancy, and mostly used by software developers and members of niche internet communities, but I believe they have a lot of promise, potentially on the timescale of five to ten years from now. I wanted to experiment with running my own server using an ActivityPub-compatible software, Pleroma. Pleroma is similar to Mastodon, but lighter-weight, so it’s much easier to deploy and has a simpler interface.
Using Pleroma is very similar to using Twitter, just with a much smaller audience, but also no brands or ads. You can follow users on the same Pleroma instance, or follow any user on any instance of a service implementing ActivityPub, the most popular of which is mastodon.social.
Right now, my instance is invite-only to cut down on spam. If you’d like an invite, reach out to me via email or on another social media platform and I’ll send you an invite. You can view public posts at social.alexwennerberg.com.