RSS and Mastodon
As someone who approves account requests on Fosstodon, I see a lot of people who are requesting an account to “Follow some person on Mastodon.” I can see where you’d want an account to do that, but if you’re just interested in following someone and not participating by posting, there’s a much easier way.
People are used to closed systems when it comes to social media. If you want to follow someone, you need an account. Mastodon isn’t built on the idea that it needs to rope you in and keep you there. It’s built to share with others. With that in mind, Mastodon has built support for RSS in.
If you want to follow me on Fosstodon, but don’t want an account, you can just add my RSS feed. The feed is simply the URL of the profile with .rss added to the end. So, for me it’s https://firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be followed with any RSS reader. The only restrictions are what the individual chooses to restrict. You’re not going to see their DMs showing up in the RSS feed.
Additionally, you can follow hashtags on Mastodon the same way, just by adding .rss to the end of the hashtags URL. This can be a little weird because hashtags are generic and not specific to an instance. Despite that, the results you get back from one instance may be different than the results you get back from another one. For example, https://fosstodon.org/tags/Mastodon.rss returns different results than https://mastodon.social/tags/Mastodon.rss. You should think about where your interests lie when choosing an instance to provide your hashtag RSS feeds. You don’t need an account so it doesn’t really matter, but one instance may provide results that are more suited to you as an individual.
If you’re interested in posting or you want to follow a public timeline of an instance you’re going to need an account. There’s no such thing as posting to Mastodon without an account for obvious reasons. Public timelines don’t have RSS feeds because on all but the smallest instances it would just be too noisy.
It’s convenient to follow people on Mastodon using RSS feeds. It keeps you from missing posts from your favorite authors and allows you to follow them even without an account.
Day 5 of the #100DaysToOffload Series.
Looking for comments? There are no comments. It's not that I don't care what you think, it's just that I don't want to manage a comments section.
If you want to comment, there's a really good chance I at least mentioned this post on Fosstodon, and you can reply to me there. If you don't have a Mastodon account, I'd suggest giving it a try.
If you don't want to join Mastodon, and you still want to comment, feel free to use my contact information.
Also, don't feel obligated, but if you feel like buying me a ☕ cup of coffee ☕ I won't say no.