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How about if, instead of ditching Twitter for Mastodon, we all start blogging and subscribing to each other's Atom feeds again instead? The original distributed social network could still work pretty well if we actually start using it
114 replies and sub-replies as of Aug 19 2018

Make it happen and let me know if you need help. The trick will be to make it as convenient or better: more convenient. People are spoiled and used to to swiping now. You do jot even have to pull for information anymore, you get notified, feeds automatically refresh on open etc.
IMO ActivityPub > Atom. It solves things like ghost replies and is a better fit for the social types of content creation and curation we do these days. It's super exciting to see a new protocol like this take off!
Got any good examples of personal sites that are publishing an ActivityPub feed? Good clients I can try out? seems to be half–way to that… @simonw
You could try scuttlebutt, it’s a decentralized feed based protocol and apps.
And you can blog on it
Yeah, discovery and exploration in a unified space is the big issue. And a feed reader really isn’t a good fit. I like the way twitter works, when it does.
Although, I am of course now writing ActivityPub support into my @habari install to play with it. Once I have it up and running, I’ll build a native iOS app to play with that. We’ll see.
“I like the way twitter works, when it does.” That is the problem. Twitter does not fix bugs (e. g., jumping cursor in the edit twit field), and most of its development is in forcing algorithm-chosen content upon us. And we can't really switch because there is oligopoly.
They are working off a spec it seems and building competing implementations and innovating at a fair clip (all of which I’m finding very refreshing to see).
Blogging takes a lot more effort and thought than microblogging. Mastodon is at least activitypub based, so interops with other things.
That highly depends on your use of the regular blog. The early blogs were more like daily collections of microblog posts (some still blog that way). The thought out, longform blogpost is more common today, but not obligatory.
Although to be fair, nothing says it always has to be long form.
I am all for this and do. I think many struggle with, myself included, of overthinking how formal a blog post is vs smaller updates. Maybe microblogs address this, but I have yet to see it.
Agree with the overthinking bit. Nothing stopping me from short blog posts, and I appreciate short succinct posts from others, yet I rarely do it myself.
Yeah I have the same problem - that's one of the reasons I tweet more than I blog. I need to redesign my own blog to support smaller posts better.
feedly is pretty awesome. I tried it for a week and then forked out the money for the paid plan.
is your friend and try "fresh RSS" if self-hosted is your way to go :)
I have similar issues - I think the “blog redesign” has to also include *creating* short blog posts. So much easier to just open the Twitter app (or a Mastodon app) and type in something short and simple. Harder to do that with my main blog sites.
Combine small posts with trackbacks to create “threaded discussions”. Auto-post to Twitter/Mastadon/Facebook for notifications & awareness, but long dwell (and respond) within the blogs
One can always write a small post on a regular blog. Sometimes I've just put out a link on my blog, without even any associated text (although not done it for a while, should start again). I also do that on Twitter sometimes. Can save time too, if you have ...
... nothing to add to that particular link's topic.
I never stopped reading my long-form Atom/RSS feeds. I just come here for the mentally ill drama.
I never stopped :-)
I kept my blogs but have few readers.
and how about we re-create "friendFeed" using the Tornado library that the ff team developed and fb open sourced:
You can do both - mastodon users have h-feed markup and atom too. What mastodon does well is the integrated reader and posting, which we're still working on for indie readers.
Can someone do a primer for us Muggles? ;-)
Not all of it is muggle ready yet, but happy to help you get more of it set up
Wait gash that means I have to write a blog again? I was so unsuccessful the last so many times :(
Social networking jumped the shark with :D
Very good idea. The kind that seems obvious in hindsight, but it takes someone to say it.
What reader do you recommend? I use Dreamwidth (an old LiveJournal competitor), but it's not primarily for RSS/Atom, and feels that way.
Can I set up my own blog with the same ease as a twitter account? Complete with friends, friends of friends, search, replies? If there is nothing, then maybe that’s a gap in the market.
Except it’s Wordpress and WAY too complicated. Let’s not get started on my technical objections.
Yes, it has been simpler years ago when before a lot of the feature bloat, but it then already had all the features requested here.
With comments I assume?
Blog: long form essay FB: WTF meme Twitter: Me go wee wee!
That's...kind of what Mastodon is though :) IIRC you can get feeds from people's public profiles. Guess I need to check.
No judgement here, because I like the idea (and by extension things like, but I think people are underestimating how good the actual user experience has to be for something to replace Twitter. This isn’t just a technology problem.
Totally agree with you - but since people(at least in my circles) appear determined to ditch Twitter I'm trying to point to something that used to work really well
It does make me wonder if is the better place to start. Seems like Mastodon has all the momentum right now.
Never heard about but it seems not to be really open. Not possible to create an instance execpt paying. You can install your own mastodon for free if you have a server. And you can talk with Peertube and Pixelfed and many more application is totally free if you host your own blog. It only costs money if you have it host your blog for you.
Now that's the best thing I've read in a while about the whole "distributed" thing. I wish we all just realize that Internet is already distribute :)
I have been suggesting this for years but no one listens! #RSS
I'm pretty jealous of the number of likes here. 😋 Blogging never had a relationship model. Its identity model is broken, too. Not to mention no way to (meaningfully) encode presentational intent (I know that's debatable, but would you accept raw html?)
Put another way, privacy is one small facet of a social network, but an important one. Answering how to build that in, while retaining accessibility and usability of the core system, will imho result in something not dissimilar to activitypub or smtp.
Except you needed a cloud to handle Slashdot. Today you need to handle Nazis.
But HRC ran her email from a blade in a bathroom. Maybe Moore's Law fixed the Slashdot Effect. (Trying not to LOL.)
I didn’t even bother adding rss to my rewrite of my blog. Do people still use rss readers?
Some do. Mostly geeks. It rocks for integration though with stuff like IFTTT.
I’d love it to become a thing again, but I think when Google shut down Reader, that pretty much felt like the end of the line.
Probably, it is the end of life of web feed reader programs, but local programs are actually more fast and convenient. I use one daily. A lot of web sites publishes feeds. For example, StackExchange publishes a question feed for every tag.
Of course it still exists, but then so does usenet. Having us geeky fellas say “sure, that still works” is like having my College Computing teacher tell me that Punched Cards are a wonderful thing. We need a more “average” sampling of voices for this one.
Part of it is that we don't have the tools to find each other any more. I am doing monthly "href hunts" to find blogs out there. If you have a blog, please send me the link!
I remember reading your posts a long time ago. The web was a better place then. I miss the era of protocols and RFCs, of open implementions and open/distributed architectures. I think that moving our content to proprietary apps and monopolized platforms was a really bad idea.
Yes but certainly valuable in that we're now aware of how badly wrong things can go.
Because us non bloggers don’t like blogging nor do we have the time. We like short snippets of thoughts.
Nothing at all hinders you to do exactly that with a blog. Blogposts do not have to be 10 trillion word essays.
Completely in favor as well, tbh.
And with a cloud provider won't kill your RSS reader.
I’m still salty about google reader.
Me too. I stopped following blogs because of it. Miniflux brought that back for me. I put it on a free Heroku Dyno.
this. Whats lost of most normals ... is that we've moved away from owning our own production. Blog+feeds+discovery would be a much better world.
Trackbacks forever ❤️
But then there isn't a walled garden that gets to attempt to monetize everything you say or do on their platform?! ;-)
cc: @timbray That would be wonderful.
The original social network for me was BBS then Usenet..
During Twitter's early life, a bunch of folks were working on extending that "distributed social network" to include the new use-cases that now define "social network". That sort of work moves slowly, but Mastodon is one of the fruits of that, >10 years in the making.
I've gone back to rss (using feedly) for (my choice not some algorithms) information in the past year or so
Simon! So yes, but RSS doesn’t have Like and Retweet/Share. Those might fix it.
Because this feature does not belong to RSS, it belongs to feed readers.
Frankly I never stopped blogging.
Feeds are not powerful enough, with buggy workarounds instead of features. Identical posts downloaded from different sources. No replies. Unfortunately, modern “distributed” social networks imitate Facebook and Twitter instead of blogs.
Considering the ease and low cost of self hosting on a VPS, and the possibility to ignore data when there are no profits, it might even reduce the issue of a few huge companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter) profiling all of our interests.
Other platforms were developed, because RSS feeds aren't "social".
You can subscribe to Atom feeds of people’s Mastodon accounts 👀
Discovery? I love reading random tweets, as imperfect as Twitter's algo may be
Maybe XFN’s time has finally come
This?… Maybe! I notice that my atom feed actually redirects to feedburner. There was probably a reason for that but I don't remember what it was. Still works though
Yeah it was the future in like 2003
hCard + XFN was a very strong open model for identity and relationship. Didn’t have any privacy mechanisms as far as I can recall sadly
Didn’t feedburner have a button the counted how many people were subscribed to the feed? That’s why I used it 😀
I'm sure @t and the @indiewebcamp folks will welcome you with open arms and last I saw had some very nice tooling for this
Webmentions are a thing too
And websub, and microsub
I agree, but discussions in blog comments still don't work well at all, as there is no single place to look for replies to my comments in the 100 blogs I follow. I still consider this a bit of problem.
What's the technical equivalent of a retweet or a boost in that context? Publishing their feeds on your domain with a 302 redirection to their feed?
The problem with atom feeds has always been discovery, which social networks solved in an easy and relatively transparent way..
been thinking exactly that for ages. was thinking I could build a one-click installation of a Facebook wall on gh-pages. The script could use the FB api to ping your friends and offer them the same installation...
...but there may be more reasons why we stopped. Could have been simplicity of publishing (need to do Ubuntu updates)? Maybe a change in the audience (more work stuff getting into perso stuff and it getting weird as the sphere matured)? Or it might have simply been comment spam?
Managing spam is sort of a killer app for walled gardens but the greedy stuff has now migrated into evil and greedy stuff so that didn't work... Defo agree it's time to re-discover re-explore the alternatives
The original distributed social network is called email :)))
Yes! I recenly restyled my blog to add a micropost post type after discovering @on_P4 and really liking the platform but wanting to self host. Long form posts are fine, but sometimes you just want to jot down some quick notes.
Pretty much what I do already. Only on Twitter to follow people like you who use it :) And unlike Twitter, you actually know how many people see your content, it's yours forever, and you can edit it as you please. I think "social seo" is largely smoke and mirrors.
Atom feeds? Why not RSS feeds?
Atom feeds is what Mastodon is...
Only if you and @blaine make a reader