Jamie Marsland asked me to share my wish for WordPress in 2023 for an upcoming video of his. And with David Bisset asking a similar thing on Twitter now, I’d thought I’d explain it better.
Here’s what I I’d like to see: I’d love to see WordPress become your hub in the digital realm.
What does that mean?
Let me explain.
Imagine that you have that hub on the internet where you can talk to your friends and share things you like. This place is your WordPress site, and it’s all about you! You can put your notes, your stories, your images, really, anything you write there. And the best part is, you can invite your friends to come visit your WordPress site and talk to you there.
Now, let’s say that you and your friends all have your own WordPress sites. You want to be able to talk to each other and share things on each other’s platforms. To do that, you need to use something called a “protocol”. This is a set of rules that lets you talk to each other online. There are lots of different protocols, but two that are important for the kind of websites that you and your friends might have are called ActivityPub and IndieWeb.
ActivityPub lets you share things with your friends on different websites. Even if they’re not on the same website as you. So if you have a WordPress website and your friend has a different kind of website, you can still share things with each other and talk to each other online.
IndieWeb is a bit different. It’s all about having control over your own website and being able to do what you want with it. So if you have an IndieWeb website, you can do things like put your own photos and stories on it. And, you invite your friends to come visit and talk to you there.
So, in short, ActivityPub and IndieWeb are two different ways that you and your friends can talk to each other and share things on the internet. Even if you’re not on the same website. They help make the internet more fun and allow you to own your data.
Much of this is already available in various combinations of plugins you can add to WordPress. Some of it you may need custom implementations for, but a lot is already possible.
The Two Main Components
The two most important components are ActivityPub and POSSE. Let me explain what they are.
The IndieWeb POSSE protocol is designed to promote the use of open web standards and decentralized technologies. It stands for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. POSSE gives individuals more control over their online identity and data, and to allow them to communicate and share content with each other in a more open and interoperable way. Essentially: own your data.
ActivityPub is a decentralized protocol for social communication that allows you to interact with each everyone on the internet in a variety of ways. For example, sharing content, sending messages, and participating in online communities. The protocol is designed to be a simple, open, and interoperable standard. This standard can be adopted by any online service or application that wants to allow its users to communicate with each other.
ActivityPub is based on the idea of federated social networking. Federated would allow different online services and applications to connect with each other. To federate. This will then allow you to share content and information in a way that is open and decentralized. Ultimately, the ActivityPub protocol allows users of one service or application to interact with users of another service or application. Even if those services are not owned or operated by the same company or organization or on the same platform.
Some examples of how ActivityPub can be used are:
- A user on WordPress (or any blogging platform) commenting on a blog post, and that comment being displayed on the original blog as well as on the user’s own blog and on other blogging platforms that support ActivityPub.
- A user on a social media platform posting a message that is shared with their followers on that platform, as well as with users of other social media platforms that support ActivityPub.
- A user on a video sharing platform posting a video that is shared with their followers on that platform, as well as with users of other video sharing platforms that support ActivityPub.
Isn’t that a neat goal?
Part of Core
What I’d love to see is all of this–and yes, I’m aware that $this is rather unclear still–become an integral part of WordPress. If must be via a featured plugin, but most definitely one that gets prioritized as part of the WordPress Project.
Mike McAlister has outlined much of what this would look like in his OpenPress concept. He’s even included designs of what the various pages would look like. I’m a big fan of his proposal.
It’s the practice of posting content on your own site first, then publishing copies or sharing links to other platforms or websites. Again, own your data.
We have a responsibility
Why WordPress, though? Why part of core? Well, I believe we have a responsibility here as the WordPress Project. A responsibility to help further the internet. To help make the internet more independent from big tech and the large social media platforms.
Our current market share is over 43% and that means whatever we do will be seen and get picked up by others. That’s inevitable. A good example of this is how the Gutenberg Editor is being used in lots of places besides WordPress now.
By fully embracing and even expanding the OpenPress initiative, we can push WordPress significantly further in both market share and its mission. Because isn’t that democratizing publishing? And isn’t that exactly what this will result in?
I think it does. What do you think?
Update: Jamie published the video.
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