Today we’ll be looking at how to connect the protocols powering Mastodon in the simplest way possible to enter the federated network. We will use static files, standard command-line tools, and some simple Ruby scripting, although the functionality should be easily adaptable to other programming languages.
First, what’s the end goal of this exercise? We want to send a Mastodon user a message from our own, non-Mastodon server.
So what are the ingredients required?
A fresh new release of the federated social network software is here, and while the primary focus of it has been on fixing bugs and improving performance, it brings a couple of notable new features to the board.
Delete & Redraft There are legitimate reasons why social media platforms rarely, if ever, have an editing function. In an environment where content spreads like wildfire in a matter of minutes, you could easily conceive of nefarious misuses such as creating a post about something agreeable and positive, and, once it reaches critical mass, changing the content to something malicious.
Deep down you always knew it. On the edge of your perception, you always heard the people who talked about the erosion of privacy, that there was no such thing as free cheese, that if you don’t pay — then you’re the product. Now you know that it’s true. Cambridge Analytica has sucked the data so kindly and diligently collected by Facebook and used that data to influence the US elections (and who knows what else).
The development of the next version of Mastodon coincided with the reveal of Vero, yet another commercial social network silo backed by millionaires with a shady past. Vero has struck a chord, at least until people caught on to its background, and it wasn’t just because of its unlimited marketing budget. It has struck a chord because it promised an alternative to Instagram, which started getting progressively worse for creators after being acquired by Facebook.
This article assumes you’ve read my previous two blog posts, here and here. Why not give them a quick read if you haven’t already?
To balance out the doom and gloom of an internet wholly under the thrall of corporate interests and fed through single channels devoid of competition, it’s worth being aware of just how pervasive and powerful an idea decentralization is in the 21st century.
The structure of things now are remnants of the way things have always been done: we trust in a singular authority to manage everything behind the scenes so that our experience on this side remains seamless.
Isn’t it a bit strange that the entire world has to wait on the CEO of Twitter to come around on what constitutes healthy discourse? I am not talking about it being too little, too late. Rather, my issue is with “instant, public, global messaging and conversation” being entirely dependent on one single privately held company’s whims. Perhaps they want to go in the right direction right now for once, but who’s to say how their opinion changes in the future?