ActivityPub and Friends Plugin by WP
When Elon Musk destroyed Twitter and its functionality, people struggle to find new social networks. Decentralized platforms like Mastodon, Threads, and BlueSky became popular. To join in on the Federated platform trend, Automattic (WordPress) bought the ActivityPub plugin.
ActivityPub works like the WordPress reader, where users can read the RSS feed from their favorite WordPress blogs. ActivityPub allows users can follow other blogs from their own sites rather than WordPress.com. People can follow sites that are not WordPress installs. ActivityPub also allows users to follow Mastodon accounts. Comments from Mastodon will become comments on a post.
I installed ActivityPub and the Friends plugin on my websites. It took a bit to figure out what I was doing because I have a WP Multisite install. I had to choose one site to be my Friend Profile site (illyaking.com). I added the Friend and Subscribe bookmarklets to my bookmark bar by dragging the icons form the Available Tools section in the dashboard. Then I visited my favorite blogs and subscribed. When I subscribed, my site asked me to create a virtual user for the subscribed website. Doing this creates an RSS feed for that blog on my website.
I created new user accounts and made them admins of my subsites. I then “Friended” those accounts. To friend my main account, I needed to log into my new accounts and activate the ActivityPub and Friends plugins. I had the option to have multiple authors for my multisite but opted instead for each site to be the profile for the new admin users (I hope that makes sense). If I just want to read feeds from other sites, I can create a user account that just collects feeds. Once you create a “collected-post” account and add RSS feeds, the account will populate that data as private posts on my Friends page.
Visitors who visit my site can visit my Friends page. But only my friends can see what is on my Friends page. Otherwise, there is a statement for visitors to request me to follow their websites.
ActivityPub and Friends plugins remind me of the old Webrings in the late nineties. The reblogging features of the Friends plugin is like the reblog choice in Tumblr.
I am interested in having a decentralized network based on my websites. Social networks are great, but they are go-to platforms when people just want to binge content. It would be good if I got more traffic instead of Facebook or other networks.