Get Your Blog Posts on Mastodon

Here’s a full list of steps to get your blog posts on Mastodon:

  1. Install and activate the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress

That’s it! Thank you for following along.

OK, I’d actually like to say a bit more. When I first installed the plugin, I was trying to figure out how to connect it to my Mastodon account. If you’re using WordPress, it’s straight-forward to get your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn thanks to Jetpack (I work for Automattic who makes Jetpack, but I don’t work on Jetpack). Jetpack works by connecting to those sites’ APIs with your account, and then posting to your account. I assumed that the ActivityPub plugin would work similarly.

But Mastodon isn’t like any of those other sites. Since anyone can run a Mastodon server, and Mastodon speaks the ActivityPub protocol, the plugin turns your blog into a server in the ActivityPub network (the “Fediverse”). You don’t need another account, your WordPress account is your account.

So how do you actually see your blog posts on Mastodon?

That part actually tripped me up. You have to go to /wp-admin/profile.php to see your Mastodon ID. I don’t know where I read that, but it wasn’t obvious to me. At the bottom it tells me that my ID is @georgehotelling@g13g.blog so I searched for that on my Mastodon server and was able to follow my blog. The format seems to be [username]@[hostname] but you should check your profile page just to be sure.

Wishlist

There are a few things I’d like to see from this plugin in the future:

  1. Remote Follow. I’d love to be able to create a remote-follow page for my blog, similar to how Mastodon has a remote follow page. The Social Icons block in Gutenberg already has a Mastodon logo, but it would be nice to be able to link to a page that lets you subscribe, like on Mastodon.
  2. Customizable Feeds. Another thing I’d like to see is the ability to create and name feeds for posts that match a WP_Query. First off I could have a shorter ID like @blog@g13g.blog or something. I could also use it with Custom Post Types to have short links (like Waxy or Kottke) on one feed, maybe photos on anther feed for Pixelfed.
  3. Replies as Comments. If someone replies to my post anywhere on the Fediverse, I want the option to include that in the comments section.

Oh, and about Mastodon…

I have said it elsewhere but I love my Mastodon instance. It reminds me of BBSs back in the day, or maybe the local Livejournal group. It’s cozy with a lot of familiar faces. 90% of the content on the instance is marked “followers only” for privacy, so if you’re interested be sure to follow people you see mentioned.

Mastodon, like blogs and RSS, is also one of the last places on the web where you don’t have an algorithm choosing what you see. No one is optimizing tho software for engagement metrics. That alone is pretty valuable to me.

Panoramas and [vr]

Automattic, the company I work for, has released Jetpack 4.5. It includes the [vr] shortcode that my team mates worked on. The extent of my effort was modeling for some 360º shots so here is my contribution: panoramas!

First we have my favorite panorama. It’s a little lower res – shot with Dermandar on an iPhone 4 – but it’s the subject matter I love. The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum:

Jenny and I stopped at a rest stop on our drive home from North Carolina and found this magnificent display purely by chance.

Next is an abandoned-ish building on the Belle Isle disc golf course:

The Belle Isle Conservancy. Also on Belle Isle but less abandoned and less tolerant of flying discs:

Finally, a panoselfie with my brother on Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette:

Ultimately this post has been an excuse to brag to everyone. Yes, I’ve visited the Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum. Keep sharp, be sharp, act sharp, stay sharp, look sharp.

Notes from Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup, January 2017

Last night I got downtown for the Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup. As an aside, there is a fun art installation downtown called LuminoCITY. I spotted it on my way in and recommend you check it out after dark.

The meeting topic was Productivity Tools & Workflows, with 4 quick talks:

I took notes, but the talks are pretty well documented by Andy Melichar on his blog and Eric Malcolm on the Meetup’s blog. If you didn’t make it out, read those to get a good recap. I do have some thoughts though.

Anthony’s getting started tips were great. He uses a Flic with IFTTT to tell RescueTime to lock him out of time-wasting site and disable notifications. e uses a dedicated voice recorder to remember things. I’m interested in the implication that single-purpose devices lend themselves to higher productivity. I have been reading more since I got my Kindle. I wonder how much of that is tech novelty and how much is from having a dedicated device.

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Eric’s presentation on Trello was eye opening. I know people love Trello but never had much luck making it a part of my workflow. Seeing someone use it helped me understand what it’s capable of. I’ll also have to check out the recommendations for Trello’s blog and their inspiration page.

I am going to try to adopt Eric’s process of having boards for each “project” in his life as a backlog and then moving those things onto a board with daily columns to schedule his day. It might work well with the 1-3-5 system Anthony advocated.

The other talks by Deborah and Amit were great too, so great I don’t really have anything to add. Next month is Quarterly WordPress Q & A Workshop, come on out!