A new microblogging strategy.

Why I want to use Mastodon communities instead of IndieWeb. For now, at least.

This is a part of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

I run SmallCamp as well as participate a ton on Fosstodon. They’re both Mastodon communities, and based on ActivityPub.

What’s ActivityPub?

ActivityPub is an open, decentralized social networking protocol based on Pump.io‘s ActivityPump protocol.[1] It provides a client/server API for creating, updating, and deleting content, as well as a federated server-to-server API for delivering notifications and content.

Wikipedia, as on 2021-03-06 IST

Mastodon is simply one (and the most popular) implementation of the ActivityPub; SmallCamp and Fosstodon are just two communities among hundreds or thousands of others. All of them talk to each other (sorta). There are already 44 lakh (4.4 million) people on the Mastodon network as per the official website at this point!

In addition to the two Mastodon/Hometown communities, I was running a microblog on my own site, with which my goal was to post on my own site, and syndicate to Fosstodon and Twitter. This is an IndieWeb principle, and it’s called POSSE in short: Post (on) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

The eventual goal was to be platform-agnostic and use my own site as the source of truth for all my Fosstodon and Twitter posts. I didn’t mind having my feet in two camps in the interim.

The current state of things.

Coming back to the present, there were things I posted on my website’s microblog that were more thoughtful than a toot, but less so than an article. More casual posts were made directly on Fosstodon (no IndieWeb integration with SmallCamp, deliberately).

All this said, my workflow was far from delightful even with this partial commitment.

Here’s a typical flow:

  1. Open Celestial (or any other Micropub client).
  2. Login and go through the IndieAuth authorization flow.
  3. Write a post, hit publish.
  4. Wait for it to go live, watch Vercel’s deployment logs…
  5. Open Telegraph (and log in with IndieAuth if I am not logged in for whatever reason)
  6. Request that the post be syndicated to Fosstodon.
    • Moa.party would syndicate automatically to Twitter from Fosstodon.
  7. And, finally, check that everything went well…
    • …and get mad if I made a typo somewhere.

That’s not a comment on IndieWeb. I personally did find it to be complex, and hope it will mature a lot with time. I don’t know if I’ll try the WordPress plugin at some point. Maybe?


My new strategy is to use SmallCamp and Fosstodon as I already am, and make them my primary microblogging targets. This simplifies things — whether when I’m thinking about writing something…

  • Does this need me to login to my site?
  • Or Fosstodon?
  • Maybe my code editor?
  • Or no, perhaps SmallCamp?

…or actually writing something.

This also goes back to the platform fatigue I recently spoke about. This clean-up is me wanting to focus my limited energy on fewer platforms.

On Mastodon, there wouldn’t be a clear distinction between notes, likes, reposts, and so on — but it’s quicker, still open-source, still decentralized, more natural, and most importantly, easier.

And that’s what I need right now.


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