Ghost, an open source alternative to the Substack newsletter platform, is considering joining fediverse, a social network of interconnected servers that includes apps like Mastodon, Pixelfed, PeerTube, Flipboard and, most recently, Instagram Threads. According to a post from Ghost founder John O’Nolan, the company (which is structured as a nonprofit) is considering syndicating Ghost through ActivityPub, the social networking protocol that powers the Federation Universe.

O’Nolan said the most requested feature over the past few years has been syndication of his software. “There seem to be a lot of potential ways to do this. Would love to know how you’d like it to work?” he asked in a post on Threads, which is syndicated to Mastodon via Threads’ own integration with ActivityPub.

The survey asked users if they use an ActivityPub platform such as Mastodon or Threads, and how they would like ActivityPub functionality to work in Ghost, if added. It also asked how syndication would benefit Ghost users individually. Survey respondents also have the option of providing an email address if they would like additional input in the future.

While launching an investigation isn’t necessarily a commitment to unite Ghost, it’s another signal of the broader web reshaping currently underway.

After Twitter was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk, online users experienced the negative effects of trusting centralized platforms: With the transfer of ownership, Twitter was reinvented into a different kind of platform called X , and revised ethics and long-term goals. (Musk wants X to be an “everything” app covering transactions, creator content, video, shopping, and more, as well as take a more hands-off role in content moderation.)

For those dissatisfied with Musk’s changes, having a portable social network identity suddenly seems like a more valuable idea. That said, if you don’t like the way the Mastodon servers (or other syndication services) run, you can choose your profile and move it elsewhere, along with your followers.

However, with Ghost, the idea might be to syndicate the accounts of authors who publish content using Ghost. Their posts will also be published on the web and to their newsletter subscribers, and may also exist in the Federation universe, where others can read, like, and reply to posts through their favorite apps. It’s also possible for these replies to be syndicated back to Ghost, where they can exist as comments.

Assuming Ghost goes this route, it would be similar to WordPress joining forces with ActivityPub after acquiring the ActivityPub blogging plugin. When enabled, WordPress blogs can be followed by users of apps like Mastodon and other apps in the Federated Universe, and then receive replies in the form of comments on their own site.

After seeing O’Nolan’s post, Mastodon CTO Renaud Chaput reached out for help with ActivityPub integration, and O’Nolan accepted.

Ghost has gained attention in recent months as a Substack competitor for the same reason some people are fleeing X: people are divided over how the platform should be regulated. Substack has been working to promote free speech, as Musk did with X, but this has also led to the platform being used by pro-Nazi publications, as The Atlantic reported in detail late last year.

As a result, one of the more well-known writers in Substack, Casey Newton, formerly of The Verge, left Substack and migrated to Ghost instead.

“I don’t know of any major U.S. consumer internet platform that doesn’t explicitly ban glorifying Nazi hate speech, let alone welcome them to set up shop and start selling subscriptions,” Newton wrote at the time.

In addition to Newton, other famous Ghost users include 404Media, Buffer, Kickstarter, David Sirota’s The Lever and Tangle, etc.

Today, Ghost has over 3 million installs, making it a healthy addition to the wider Federation world and its approximately 13+ million total users, of which there are approximately 1.5 million monthly active users. (This number does not include Threads’ more than 130 million monthly active users, because it is not yet fully integrated with ActivityPub.)

#Open #source #Substack #competitor #Ghost #join #Federation #Universe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *