If you take a look at my Buy Me a Coffee page, you’ll notice that it is basically a timeline, just like many other social media sites. In my case, perhaps because I talk a lot about it, many of the supporters are Fediverse users. Regardless of the reason, they don’t have access to certain features available to other social media users. Although this is an issue that can be easily fixed with some tweaks to the site, why stop there?

11 Million Possible Supporters

Imagine for a second that Buy Me a Coffee has adopted the ActivityPub protocol and now provides you, as a creator, with a Fediverse feed and address. Probably something like @vladcampos@buymeacoffee.com or @vladcampos@buymeacoffee.social. Or even @vladcampos@bmac.social, to shorten it like Medium did.

In any case, anyone using an ActivityPub-compatible service, like Mastodon, Flipboard, and so many others, would be able to follow your username and see and reply to all your posts from the ActivityPub service they are already using.

It means that creators who are not part of the Fediverse because they believe it is too complicated or who are not familiar with it would be exposed to 11 million users immediately. Since everything is connected, millions of users would not need a Buy Me a Coffee account to follow and engage with the posts of the creators they love.

And there’s no need to change how non-Fediverse users have access to the current Buy Me a Coffee site. For example, my blog is compatible with ActivityPub, but anyone on the open web can read the posts just like they would on any other blog.

As for the creators who are familiar with the Fediverse, they could, for example, use tools to cross-post to their Buy Me a Coffee feed. Another option would be to start using Buy Me a Coffee as their main way to interact with the rest of the Fediverse. That by itself would indirectly promote Buy Me a Coffee to other people on the Fediverse, as everyone would be seeing the company’s URL.

For some creators, this would be their first experience on the Fediverse. Others would probably move their followers to Buy Me a Coffee. In any case, being able to bring your followers with you anywhere is what makes people on the Fediverse move around and try different services. Currently, I’m a Mastodon user, but, I have already moved a couple of times and my followers always came with me.

Restricted to Creators

But instead of letting all users create ActivityPub accounts, I think Buy Me a Coffee should limit them to creators. Running an ActivityPub server is not cheap, and it comes with all sorts of moderation problems, which have caused many companies to give up. Not to mention that there’s no need to open the account creation to supporters since they can use their current Fediverse accounts to follow the creators.

First Steps

This is not a simple project, but it would certainly help Buy Me a Coffee stand out while also helping creators.

However, there are several small changes that can be accomplished with less effort. For example, show the Mastodon icon when the user sets an account on the social links. Another good practice would be to add Mastodon as an option to the “share on social media” feature. But why not create a Buy Me a Coffee Mastodon account or server to start sharing content and interacting with users there? This was the strategy adopted by Medium and Flipboard to get a sense of how things work differently on the Fediverse.

And of course, as I have already mentioned to Jijo Sunny in a recent conversation, many of the above suggestions also apply to Voicenotes.

Anyway, as I said before, I’m biased, but Mastodon is the only social media app I keep on my phone, as there are no ads or algorithms trying to make me addicted to it. I tap the app’s icon and look at my chronologically ordered feed to see and enjoy what people I choose to follow are sharing. In other words, this is the perfect environment to follow and interact with creators I support.