I’ve tinkered with ActivityPub a bit, so my WordPress website supports portions of it. Though it’s not “perfect” yet, you can subscribe to it at @chrisaldrich@boffosocko.com. Are you working on Mastodon or something similar?

Almost all modern social platforms have integrated readers, though they’re also almost exclusively proprietary to their own platform. Because people are forced to use those interfaces, there’s little, if any, competition to make them better, prettier, more user friendly. As long as social platforms have vaguely standard feeds (RSS, atom, JSONfeed, h-feed, others?) why shouldn’t one be able to use a reader to subscribe to almost any website on the net? Feed readers can then give users a lot more control over what they choose to see, how it’s filtered, how they choose to be notified. These are just some of the reasons that a solid feed reader can be important. Readers give people control that social services don’t or won’t give them. (Remember those great early days of Twitter where there were dozens and dozens of Twitter reader clients and you had choices? I miss those days…)

Further, giving people the ability to compose their replies to content in a reader and publish to their own website by means of Micropub allows them to own their own content. Then individual sites or social silos can provide Webmention notifications to allow site-to-site communication. I’d give my left arm if Mastodon supported sending Webmentions. (For more details on this, see my A List Apart article Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet.)

In practice, I think Micro.blog is one of the few social services that provides a complete .json output of all the people I’m following on it, so that I can input https://micro.blog/feeds/c.json into a feed reader and immediately have all that content I’ve subscribed to on their platform. I wish I could do this with other social platforms.

Micro.blog is also one of the few “social readers” that will allow you to subscribe to accounts in other platforms. I think it’s currently got support for both Mastodon and Tumblr.

I could go on (the benefit of posting from my own site instead of a social silo), but think about some of this for a bit and then go build the best reader the net has ever seen. We desperately need it!!

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