Guide for ActivityPub users

This collaboratively-edited guide provides information on how to become an ActivityPub user. Adopting ActivityPub as a user can be a great way to start putting a more people-centred Internet into practice.

Find and join a Fediverse site

The easiest way to get started with ActivityPub and the Fediverse is to join a site and start participating.

Finding projects

If you’re looking for alternatives to specific corporate social media sites, switching.software is a great place to start. They offer a set of “ethical, easy-to-use and privacy-conscious alternatives” handily arranged according to the corporate site or software you’re looking to get off, such as Facebook or Twitter. While not all software alternatives there are ActivityPub based, it includes a great selection of ones that are.

Another good place to start is Fediverse.Party. This site offers a ton of information about Fediverse software projects, many of which support ActivityPub. You can find information in two places:

  • The home page has links to a curated list of Fediverse projects. Click on each to find very detailed information on the projects.
  • A list of more apps has more basic information on a bunch of other projects. On this page you can filter to see only apps that support ActivityPub.

Discovering instances

Unlike corporate social media such as Twitter or What’s App, where there’s a single website that all users sign up for, a Fediverse platform is usually more than a single site. A project like the Mastodon microblogging platform has multiple sites–called instances. First you find an instance you want to join, then you join it.

While this model means an extra step of selecting an instance, it has a lot of advantages. You can find and join an instance that reflects your values, interests, and commitments.

The various instances are federated, meaning they communicate with each other in ways that allow users to share information and connections across instances.

Many people start by joining the most prominent instance of a particular Fediverse platform. For example, for Mastodon, the mastodon.social site is the one hosted by the Mastodon founders. While this may be a great place to start, it’s also worth taking the time to look for an instance that is a specially good fit.

The Fediverse.Party home page listings include links for each project on how to find instances; see the “Join the network” section on project pages.

Using ActivityPub in your organizations

If you are a member or staff of an organization like a nonprofit, community group, school, or business, the Fediverse and the various projects that make it up can provide a common platform for your collaborative and outreach projects.

Depending on your organization’s capacity and resources, you could consider hosting a dedicated instance of a Fediverse software. The Fediverse.Party home page listings include a link for each project on how to host an instance; see the “Contributing” section on project pages.

Going further

Besides joining Fediverse sites, there are lots of other ways to participate and contribute.

The Fediverse.Party home page listings include links for each project on how to contribute; see the “Contributing” section on project pages.

Help moderate an instance

Many Fediverse instances have volunteer moderators. You may be able to reach out to the administrators of an instance and offer to help out.

Contribute to documentation or translations

Most projects welcome help with documentation, translation, and similar needs.

Tool up

Besides Fediverse sites, there are also a set of tools and approaches that can help you use the Fediverse effectively.

  • If you have a profile on other sites, or a website of your own, link there to your Fediverse profile(s).
  • If you are a cel phone user, start using a Fediverse client such as Fedilab to access the Fediverse.

Spread the word

The most effective way to promote a decentralized internet is by using it and encouraging others to do likewise.