Secure DMs on ActivityPub

I’ve been up and down on ActivityPub – the concept is fantastic, I’ve been wanting something like this for decades. You’d just have this online identity and you could use it to blog or post pictures or do whatever across any platform that supported the protocol – it’s like far-future magic.

But federation is HARD. You can’t just click a button and have a federating website. And there are scalability issues – for example, if you run a small Mastodon server, and some of your users follow high volume accounts, it gets to be a lot on your server. There are ways to deal with this but they’re not as robust or easy as one might like (though I expect them to get there).

As the protocol develops and as more people start building stuff with it, I’m getting more and more optimistic.

And I’ve just heard there are multiple independent projects working on secure messaging. My immediate family uses WhatsApp a lot, which is lovely to use but comes with a lot of baggage. It’s particularly nice because it sidesteps the Apple/Google war of incompatibility and lets you send high quality images and video even if your recipient uses a different phone OS. And Signal is nice but I’ve had no luck getting anyone in my family to use it.

If we can get secure DMs on ActivityPub, that might be an easier pill to swallow. I’m particularly interested in Sup from Daniel Supernault, who built Pixelfed, because Pixelfed is a pleasure to use and I suspect Sup will be as well.