- ActivityPub connects the site to the open networking protocol with the same name (see ActivityPub on W3C). It enables a username people can use to discover and follow the blog profile. Mine is @email@example.com. That means that if anyone follows that username on the Fediverse and I post new content like this one I’m writing now, they will get it the same way they get messages from accounts hosted on Mastodon, Pixelfed, or others (see apps list on fediverse.party).
- Friends it’s an extra plugin that allows following other accounts directly from WordPress and interacting with them. So far, I have a Mastodon profile (@javierleiva), but if I wanted to get rid of it and do it all using WordPress and the username I mentioned above, in theory, I could. But from what I’ve seen, it’s a different experience, and I realize the ultimate author’s goal might not be creating yet another Mastodon but more of a feed reader with some limited embedded social features.
Issues I found while trying to make Activity Pub work:
- Webfinger endpoint is not accessible. The plugin works out of the box, but there are times when the new profile is not visible on Mastodon. Sometimes the cause is the hosting provider blocking the use of the .well-known path. In my case, I thought that was the issue, but it turned out to be something different: WordPress needs to be installed in the domain root (mine was in a /blog folder, but I moved the installation, which solved it).
- How to update the new profile description: you can simply update the Bio field on your WordPress user page. It will not update immediately everywhere else, but give it some time, and eventually, it will.
- New following requests get stuck as pending approval. Again, give it some time, and it will resolve by itself.
Two of the three issues I described only needed time to process. In other words, I get too anxious and should be more patient when working on this technical stuff. :-/