Using WordPress as an ActivityPub instance

ActivityPub is a W3C standard, I mean recommendation. And WordPress supports it! Not by default, but for now, with a plugin. So, what does that mean? And why should you care?

With the ActivityPub protocol you can publish posts and automatically send notifications to people who follow your blog. People can also comment on your posts. Lots of platforms support it, including Mastodon, Pleroma, MissKey, Calckey Firefish, and others. And there are rumours that more networks will support it soon: Tumblr, Threads by Instagram/Facebook/Meta?

The power of ActivityPub is that any system can use it and also talk to other systems. So people can follow your WordPress posts on Mastodon. It’s kind of like subscribing to a RSS feed, but with the possibility to comment. This is often called the Fediverse, although some people say that the Fediverse is broader than just ActivityPub.

Most implementations have a Twitter-like feel, but there are systems that have a different use case:

  • Pixelfed, for photos/images (like Instagram).
  • WriteFreely, for writing.
  • Lemmy, for links (like Reddit).
  • Mobilizon, for events (like Facebook Events or
  • PeerTube, for videos (like YouTube).
  • Owncast, for live streaming (like Twitch)
  • Funkwhale, for podcasts and music (like Spotify).

The WordPress plugin is mainly focusing on the publishing part of the protocol. Reactions are handled like WordPress comments. It’s not intended to follow other accounts. The plugin is under active development, so the functionality might change over time. For now, you can only follow individual authors. So subscribing to all posts by different authors is not possible. But a solution is in the works.

If you want to keep up-to-date, I recommend following the ActivityPub plugin creator You can contribute on GitHub, if you want to help to improve the plugin.

So connect your WordPress site with the Fediverse and install the ActivityPub plugin. Be aware that some webhosters might (partially) block ActivityPub. Detected issues will show up in the site health dashboard inside WordPress.

This site supports ActivityPub. You can follow posts I’m still trying to learn how to use this thing. Watch this space for updates.