Fediverse Moving over the Face of the Waters
This is an early edition of Fudge Sunday where we we take a look at moving a newsletter from Substack to Buttondown and from Twitter to Mastodon.
*Record scratch* *Freeze frame*
Yup, that’s my newsletter arriving a full day early. You’re probably wondering how we ended up in this situation.
Subscriber asks: *Why is this newsletter moving? Again?*
Subscriber asks: *Wait, Twitter? Didn’t you* *stop using it in 2017**?*
That’s right. To explain, I’m going to play back a recent thread from my new Mastodon account on my new self-hosted Mastodon single-user instance.
*Today I learned the default sharing link for Substack app does not use my cu$tom domain.😳*
*This design choice is enough to make me reconsider my migration to Substack…. just 6 months after leaving Revue (Twitter).😂*
*Maybe I need to try and roll my own?🤷♂️*
*Or, do I test Buttondown first?🤷♂️*
*Thank you for attending my 500 char TED talk.🤓*
Over several days I would find out Substack URL handling actually was going to involve more time to migrate away from than I understood 6 months ago. Eventually, I made a decision that involved consolidation and investment.
*I think I’m going to punt… on a couple fronts and simplify this.*
*Punt: Netlify blog (**fudge.org**)*
*Punt: Substack newsletter (**sunday.fudge.org**)*
*Plan: Move everything to Buttondown as the new simplified* *fudge.org*
*Migrate: My blog posts (mdx but mostly markdown)*
*Migrate: My newsletter posts to see how awful the export/import turns out to be getting off of Substack or prior archives from Revue, wget, curl, etc…*
So, if you are reading this… the migration was a success.
To get my newsletter migrated and able to post this update I performed the following steps:
- Go to Substack -> Dashboard -> Settings -> Exports -> Create new export
- Wait for Substack confirmation email to arrive indicating the export completed
- Download Substack export (zip file)
- Go to Buttondown Settings Importing to upload the Substack export (I ended up sending a support ticket, YMMV)
- Confirmed successful import
- Completed a Stripe purchase for Buttondown Standard for up to 5000 subscribers 🤓
- Did lots of DNS updates for my cu$tom domain and updated Buttondown Fancy Stuff and wait for propagation (in my case Cloudflare)
- Customized Buttondown Newsletter
- Go to Buttondown Settings Importing to upload the Substack subscriber export
- Wait for Buttondown approvals of the subscriber import
- Played around with drafts, formatting, customizations, etc.
I’ve avoided active use of Twitter for at least 5 years. So, while my account(s) are still up there is no content associated with them.
As I’ve written previously on the topic of Twitter, this wasn’t like I was giving up anything to stop using Twitter. In fact, I missed what Twitter was back in 2007… a bit more civil and a bit less of that old Yogi Berra platitude due to the insufferable bot crowding.
Since I haven’t operated
cuthrell.com as an active web property, it seemed like the best vanity domain to host a single-user instance of Mastodon. Plus, I already had a Linode VPS that was available and up to the task.
To get on the Fediverse I performed the following steps:
- Followed the basic Linode community recipe with personal choices along the way (naming conventions)
- Added back my
.well\_knowndirectory of files for Keybase proofs, etc… to the html root for
- Added my new Mastodon handle to my Twitter profile
- Used Glitch hosted Fedifinder to poll my Twitter Lists, Followers, and export folks
- Used my Mastodon import function from the Fedifinder export
- Waited for others to follow me back or appear over the next 24-48 hours appearing in my timeline
- While I waited it got me thinking about migrating my newsletter away from Substack
And here we are with a few broken links, redirects to be done, and a lot of fun along the way! 🤓
What breaks next in my quest for a Markdown + Email + Blog + ActivityPub?
Until then… Place your bets!
As a reminder, I work at Taos, an IBM Company. If you’d like to learn more about Taos and how we help companies digitally transform, check out this educational video.
I am linking to my disclosure.
At the time I wasn’t planning to attempt this migration before the next issue of Fudge Sunday but here we are. ↩︎
Actually, Gatsby Cloud not Netlify, but I digress. ↩︎
But that’s for another post once I take down
sunday.fudge.orgonce and for all as a site that only performs HTTP 301 until I see traffic fall off completely. ↩︎