A cartoon of a Mastodon holding a smart phone and winking

The distributed social network Mastodon has grown to 12.8 million user accounts, supporting itself through user donations and a lot of effort by the volunteers running servers. There's no CEO changing the network at whim, no ads and no algorithms that manipulate what you see to increase engagement. Just a scroll of posts by the people you follow pulled from all over the world.

Every Mastodon account has an RSS feed that can be found by going to the user's Mastodon page and adding ".rss" to the URL of that page. For example, the RSS feed for Bonaventure Software is at this address:


The feeds are valid RSS and use the Media-RSS and Webfeeds namespaces.

The Media-RSS content element contains the photo, audio or video included in the Mastodon post, if one is present:

<media:content url="https://files.mastodon.online/media_attachments/files/109/326/769/636/254/303/original/552ebb9fd3f30171.png" type="image/png" fileSize="49052" medium="image">
  <media:rating scheme="urn:simple">nonadult</media:rating>
  <media:description type="plain">Eli Lilly & Co stock performance graph over the last month, showing lower valuations than the one caused by the bogus announcement of free insulin.</media:description>

The Webfeeds icon element holds the URL of the user's avatar:


One potential improvement to the feed would be to add a link element from the Atom namespace to identify the URL of the RSS feed, as in this example:

<atom:link href="https://mastodon.online/@bonaventuresoft.rss" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />

That might not happen anytime soon. Mastodon is a frenetic open source project with 61 open issues and suggestions involving RSS.


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