In a groundbreaking move, WordPress.com has stepped into the world of the Fediverse by adding support for ActivityPub, a decentralized social networking protocol. This exciting development, now available across both free and paid plans, opens the doors for users to seamlessly join the Fediverse directly from their WordPress.com sites. By doing so, they can interact with content on federated platforms like Mastodon and others, with replies automatically published back to their WordPress.com blogs as comments.
The latest version of the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress, acquired by Automattic in March 2023, allows blogs or sites to have their own ActivityPub profile, expanding beyond individual author profiles. This move is part of an ongoing effort to enhance the user experience and interoperability within the evolving landscape of decentralized social media.
Practically speaking, the new ActivityPub support enables Fediverse users to follow participating WordPress.com blogs from their chosen service and engage with content by leaving comments—synced back to the blog—without leaving their federated platform.
To activate ActivityPub support on WordPress.com, users can navigate to Settings > Discussion, where they can also opt for a custom domain for a more memorable identifier. It’s important to note that the support is available for new posts only and is not retroactive. While there might be a short delay in newly published posts appearing on federated platforms, the overall integration promises a smoother and more connected user experience.
One intriguing user query raised the question of when the WordPress Reader would be able to follow Fediverse accounts. While this feature isn’t currently on the roadmap, it may become a consideration for future improvements to ActivityPub support, indicating that WordPress.com remains committed to evolving its features based on user feedback.
The move to embrace ActivityPub not only marks a significant expansion of interoperability but also aligns with the broader shift towards decentralized social media. Automattic’s acquisition of the ActivityPub plugin and its integration into WordPress.com showcase a commitment to providing users with innovative ways to connect and share content across platforms.
Although adoption of the ActivityPub protocol has been gradual, this move by WordPress.com adds weight to its credibility and usability. It offers a quick and easy way for more people to follow WordPress sites and extends the reach of their content into the diverse and decentralized Fediverse.
While blogging pioneer Dave Winer expresses skepticism about ActivityPub becoming a universal standard, the ongoing support and integration by major platforms like WordPress.com contribute to the protocol’s legitimacy. As the social media landscape continues to evolve, embracing decentralized alternatives like ActivityPub ensures users have more choices in how they communicate and share content.
In conclusion, WordPress.com’s venture into the Fediverse with ActivityPub support marks a significant chapter in the evolving landscape of decentralized social media. As users explore new avenues of interaction and connectivity, this move aligns with the ever-changing dynamics of the online world, promising a more interconnected and diverse digital experience.