Zapier to Mastodon Solution

I mentioned the other day that I spun up a small docker container to pass an RSS feed from my link blog to my Mastodon account.

I’ve now been able to retire it thanks to a helpful post I found at that walks through setting up a Zapier webhooks action for posting to a Mastodon instance.

This makes use of a premium Zapier feature so you’ll need to have a paid subscription in order for this to work. Zapier is something that saves me a ton of time so I’m happy to pay for it but other solutions might work better for those with a little more coding prowess.

If you’re interested in how this stuff works check out my video called “owning your content” that shows how I have adopted Indieweb principles for my written content.

Twitter Bans Mastodon Links

This morning I was posting a link back to my Mastodon account on Twitter and got this message: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”

It looks as though this new ban applies to most if not all of the major Mastodon instances that are out there. This means that any link to a Mastodon account or a post on those instances are not even allowed to be posted on Twitter.

This comes in the wake of Elon Musk banning the “Elon Jet” account that was keeping track of the whereabouts of his private jet using publicly available ADS-B data. ADS-B data comes from a transponder required to be installed on most aircraft that transmits the airplane’s tail number, position, altitude, etc. These transmissions can be picked up on the ground with cheap hardware and free software as I demonstrated in this video (tune in at at the 8:53 mark).

Musk says that realtime doxxing (publicly posting private information about a person’s whereabouts) is not allowed and that any account doing it will be removed. He also extended the ban to accounts that link to that information elsewhere. Twitter took this action after Musk says a car carrying his young child was followed home from the airport and potentially blocked by a stalker. Musk posted a video of the alleged stalker along with the alleged stalker’s license plate but did not file a police report as of the time of this writing.

The question to be asked here is whether or not those owning and traveling in private jets have a reasonable expectation of privacy – especially as the position of those aircraft are broadcast unencrypted to other aircraft and stations on the ground.

This move runs counter to the “free speech” direction Musk says he wants Twitter to take. Additionally it appears to be counter to the free market principles that Musk purports to believe in. They could have blocked individual Mastodon links to the Elon Jet account as opposed to restricting any links to the entire fediverse – a competing network that is attracting many Twitter users.

Learn more about Mastodon here:

All About Mastodon

My latest video is an overview of what I’ve experienced so far on the Mastodon social media “federation.” I say “federation” and not “network” here because Mastodon is designed to work in a decentralized manner that no one directly controls. You can find me on Mastodon at

Mastodon’s federation consists of a growing number of servers located throughout the world that host users and their content. Servers share that content with each other, allowing a user on one server to follow content created by a user on another.

The result is an experience that feels similar to Twitter but does not have a single decision maker or management team moderating content. Each Mastodon server is run by volunteers or a single owner, and those server administrators have total control over who does what on their servers. In other words you could get kicked off a server on a whim, or your server owner could decide to shut everything down one day when they’re sick of paying for it.

Another issue involves the federated network itself. If a group of server owners decides they don’t like the content coming out of a particular instance on the federated network they can choose not to carry content from that server. So while you can still have a presence, the reach of that presence could be significantly restricted. This is something Anil Dash discovered on the instance he chose to plant his flag on :

So choosing the right server to start on is an important decision point. While it’s possible to export your content to another one it’s definitely a pain point for the fledgling network.

I decided to start on which is managed by some followers of the Indie Web movement. I picked this server because I’m passionate about independently produced and hosted content and this community is all about that. So on my server I can converse with people I may not know but share my passion for independent content while also having a broader experience with the rest of the “fediverse.” You can see how that works in the video.

Some users are opting to choose to run their own servers, but the cost is certainly much higher (and more complex) than running a simple WordPress instance. And of course this is a heck of a lot more complicated than signing up for a Twitter account.

I see a lot of potential with Mastodon especially as it seems to be attracting many new users lately. I think they’ve added more in the last couple of months than they added in the last several years. Can it scale to the size of a Twitter or Facebook? That remains to be seen – especially given the burden of cost that will be put on the server operators to support the users and content.

Over time we may also see multiple federations that are completely walled off from each other for various reasons. Mastodon’s code is open source so there’s nothing preventing this from happening.

Mastodon’s decentralization is a fascinating approach to social media and it’ll be interesting to see how this federation of independent servers operates and scales. I expect a lot of bumps in the road ahead and it’s questionable if the non-techie public will adopt a platform that is more complex than a centrally controlled corporate platform.

RSS to Mastodon Solution

I spun up this small Docker container called Feediverse on my Synology NAS that grabs an RSS feed of my YouTube channels and link blog and posts to Mastodon each time a new item gets added. I have the Bazqux reader aggregate the four feeds into a single one.

All of the options are set in the environment criteria so you don’t need to map anything storage-wise. Just be sure to adjust the date variable each time you start the container up so it doesn’t post too much at once!

What the heck is RSS and what am I talking about? See my video on RSS here and get a list of all of my current feeds here.

Mastodon & Why a Blog with RSS is the Best Way to Decentralize Yourself

With all of the talk of this decentralized platform called Mastodon I decided to set up an account myself. I went with the “instance” as I have an interest in reviving the independent web. You can find me at

Mastodon is not a centrally controlled social media platform, rather it’s a network of federated servers that all communicate with one another. You plant your flag on one of them and you’ll have access to all of the users on all of the other federated servers. To some degree this reminds me of how the bulletin board system (BBS) network FidoNet has worked for decades.

But Mastodon has a few weak points. First, can their federated network scale at the volume of Twitter with hundreds of millions of users? That remains to be seen.

A big problem I see is that if your instance goes *poof* so do you. Migrating to a new instance without losing your identity requires the old one being available to release you to the new one according to this post. If your originating instance disappears one day it’s not clear if you have a way of importing your presence elsewhere without having to start over.

I’m also struggling with automating ingesting my content from elsewhere into Mastodon. For example I’m using Zapier to automatically post my YouTube content and blog posts to other platforms, but Mastodon doesn’t work with Zapier at the moment.

My advice for those looking to “cut the social cord” is to get a blog with an RSS feed. You can control it, own it, and because RSS is still largely the connective tissue of the modern internet it’s relatively easy to link it to other things.

That’s why I set up as my base of operations. Everything from here feeds into other stuff like my email newsletters, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You can learn more about this effort from a video I did a few months ago.

It’s funny how we really solved this federation problem back in the early 2000’s with content management systems and RSS. It’s how podcasts work to this day. And yet we’re still trying to reinvent the wheel every time a centralized platform has a crisis. There is no need to reinvent the wheel IMHO – we just need to make it easier to get started and federate!