Can ActivityPub save the internet?

i hope this article has not been shared here yet. if it has, sorry.

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How interesting… The article mentions that Medium is working with ActivityPub. Does anyone know anything about that?

There’s a Medium Mastodon instance but I haven’t heard of any real integration of AP with their platform. I suppose “working with” could mean different things in different contexts.


Ooh, I didn’t know about the instance, very cool.

Medium’s CEO was very active via Mastodon immediately after the sale of Twitter, and has been very bullish on the prospect of federating via AP. Their Mastodon instance is the first fruit of that interest—AFAIK, it’s available only to people with Medium accounts, and they’re using it, in part, to gauge interest and (presumably) assess whether the fediverse is viable as a driver of traffic. (Which makes me wonder whether account setup is similar to Threads onboarding, pulling from the proprietary account to populate the FOSS account.)


I would love if Medium was federated via ActivityPub. But judging by the shameless modal that pops up begging you for money after just clicking on–not even reading–two articles, I doubt it :laughing:. That wouldnt work if they were to federate.

devil’s advocate, they’re locked into a battle-to-the-death with SubStack, Steady, a few smaller competitors no one has heard of, debatably WordPress and probably soon also X/Neo-twitter. The terms of this battle are basically framed (at least in the industry press) as a battle for whose definition of the “platform” for interacting with your fanclub and less-activated-but-still-paying followers will make the most sense for the most creators long-term, whether those creators be local newspapers, individual writers, or other editorial/curational configurations like record labels, cooperatives, galleries, etc.

If today’s instance-structured fediverse makes sense (i.e., allowing all subscribers of a given producer to have secondary accounts or federation rights on a micro “local-timeline” of that subscriber, or of all medium subscribers and producers, say) then maybe Medium or Steady will actually be the killer usecase for an instance-structured fediverse. No one at these orgs is asleep on the topic, but conversely, today’s Fediverse might just not have a business-case for any of the combatants in that particular battle over a tiny and somewhat forward-looking market…

Perhaps the #indieweb or the more decentralized/crypto-friendly versions of decentralized social web will prove more useful to them? We shouldn’t cast everything we see is a nail just because we’re holding a fediverse hammer. This excellent post from a cranky UX designer makes a more general point about the ways in which lazy and/or VC-funded development has trampled so many of the flowers painstakingly planted to create an open web with accessible and human-friendly UX assumptions… maybe we also need to be thinking, along those lines, about how ANY platform (even a non-commercial fediverse coded entirely in Rust and WASM!) might incentive design/control/agency tradeoffs that make the Web a little less Open…

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