ActivityPub will Rule Social

Network visualization by Alina Grubnyak

I’m increasingly convinced that the ActivityPub protocol will rule the future of social media and user-generated content. Many friends of mine have suggested, myself included, that we should all just go back to RSS feeds and blog posts. We control the content ourselves, we can even control who consumes it, and only people we allow can engage with it through comments.

ActivityPub, the protocol that makes Mastodon work, is basically the same thing. It allows the federation of content from one platform to another, it can pull it down automatically without any user interaction, but it can also push content out for other servers to share, if it is so configured.

I’m seeing a lot of buzz around PixelFed which is an ActivityPub-based media feed similar in intent to Instagram. There are even social music-sharing sites, leaning heavily on Spotify’s model of social playlists, which uses ActivityPub. I’m even seeing a nascent YouTube like platform all using ActivityPub as the glue.

As individual servers become more capable, we’ll see us moving away from these monolithic servers that entirely hold our fates in their unaccountable and inaccessible hands. Me? I fight for the users.

  • November 29, 2022