The Lazy Blogger

Wrexit, Fediverse and 'taking back control'


By Sumit

If you are wondering what on the earth is Wrexit, that's my twisted take on moving my blog from WordPress to self hosted, self built static website based on the very nice library called Poet. Last month I quit Twitter and finally was able to join Mastodon and then got to know what is Fediverse. Fediverse or Federated universe is the virtual land of Federated online presence built mostly around the ActivePub protocol. As to taking back control that's another twisted take for moving my content away from VC based big social to smaller self hosted niches.

Taking back control... of my blog

I started blogging in 2007 and was happy when I started with Wordpress. I even built my ElectricEdit app as a Wordpress blog editor to write my blogs offline. Funny side story, I built the app while commuting on train to work. But somewhere between work, robotics, diy and life in general, blogging went south. When I launched Pi of things I wanted a fresh start away from Wordpress, something lighter, so I picked a much simpler platform, partly fueled by my itch to try out NodeJS and partly because I wanted Pi of things to be hosted on an actual Raspberry Pi. So I needed a nice static site generator. Back then I found Poet a nice and simple project that I cloned. It used Jade templates, which I upgraded to Pug in my fork. After going dormant for years, I was happy to see the orignal project got those updates as well. I still maintain my fork and try to keep it updated as much as possible. This blog is now the second Poet powered blog I am hosting. I've taken back control of my blog, after all these years.

I will write a separate post on hosting and setup.

Enter the Fediverse

For years I had envisioned a personal online social place that would be more like an immediate circle of friends and relatives. My previous attempts to join Mastodon had failed because I was trying to join a server that probably didn't want me. When Melon Tusk took over Twitter, there was no way I was going to stay on Twitter anymore. So I took another stab at Mastodon and managed to join one of the bigger servers Only after I joined Mastodon did I realise what Fediverse was. I was so happy to see the concept. This is something I had imagined myself, and wanted to build myself. It was already here, and running and successful. I did a virtual yabba-dabba-dooo Fred Flinstone style). (My poor attempt at building a self-hosted social presence is now going to be archived on Github forever).

Once I joined Mastodon, I quickly found some of the folks I used to follow on Twitter, and within a day or two I was completely at home with Mastodon, all its quirks, warts et. al. In fact I loved the low velocity, peace, of Mastodon and within a week I was preferring the calm and good natured-ness of the Fediverse more than I had enjoyed the chaos and rage induction of Twitter, ever.

Another thing noted was, people who I used to respect and follow on Twitter and had tweeted at in the past were actually responding to some of my toots at them. This was a massive surpise though it shouldn't have been. Twitter probably hid my tweets from them based on which client they were using. I used to regularly miss out on tweets responses from people because they never came up on Tweetdeck, so I had to ocassionally switch over to the rage-machine that was the official twitter app.

Mastodon has a no-nonesense policy towards extremist views specially from the alt-right. It's creator openly calls them Nazis in their face, and refuses to engage with them under any pretext. So, overall, it is a peaceful place for me. Though there are plenty of political triggers, which while easy to ignore, we should all be aware of.

In the end, algorithm free, chronological list of posts from people you follow was a bliss I had yearned for too long

A new beginning... hopefully

The biggest shift for me is actually going back to the old ways, of more blogging, more content creation and more making. Fediverse by itself has a diy vibe. A vibe I used to get from Twitter in the initial days but soon it became a crippling cycle of fomo and imposter syndrome. Time to break free!