Tumblr will add support for ActivityPub, the open, decentralized social networking protocol that’s today powering social networking software like Twitter alternative Mastodon, the Instagram-like Pixelfed, video streaming service PeerTube, and others. The news was revealed in a response to a...
Tumblr will add support for ActivityPub, the open, decentralized social networking protocol that’s today powering social networking software like Twitter alternative Mastodon, the Instagram-like Pixelfed, video streaming service PeerTube, and others. The news was revealed in a response to a Twitter user’s complaint about Mastodon’s complexities. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg — whose company acquired Tumblr from Verizon in 2019 — suggested the user “come to Tumblr” as the site would soon “add activitypub for interconnect.”
The ActivityPub protocol, its website explains, provides a client-to-server API for creating, updating, and deleting content as well as a federal server-to-server API for delivering notifications and subscribing to content. In practice, this means that Mastodon users can interact and follow users on other instances (independently run nodes), as well as with users on other social apps (like PeerTube), which also support the implementation of ActivityPub. It makes for a web of social networks where users can find and follow each other without having to set up new accounts on each new service.
This is the opposite approach to today’s “walled garden” social networks, where a post on one platform can’t be viewed by those on others, unless you re-upload or repost the content directly or share a link to the other site where the content can be found.
If Tumblr were to add ActivityPub support, it means users on Mastodon could follow Tumblr users’ posts from their own Mastodon instance — without having to use the Tumblr app. It could also provide Tumblr users with an entry point into the so-called “fediverse” without having to face some of the complexities that are involved with signing up for Mastodon for the first time.
Having recently joined the Fediverse myself, and really finding the Tumblr UX to not be to my liking, this is exciting, creating other gateways into Tumblr, and creating a more familiar gateway into the Fediverse for Tumblr users.