18. August 2023

Automating your Mastodon

“Dirk, how do you consistently share your podcast episodes, blog articles, and videos on Mastodon? Plus, you have an automated podcast promotion bot. Sounds complex! How do you pull it off?”

If you came here you may have a similar question… It’s easier than you might think 🙂 The secret sauce? Merging the power of RSS with some basic Google Sheets scripting.

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a web feed format designed for the publication of frequently updated digital content. This could be blogs, news articles, or podcasts. Users can easily subscribe to these feeds and receive automatic updates via RSS readers.

Although RSS might seem like yesterday’s tech, you’d be amazed to know how many platforms still support this efficient information-sharing method. Even your profile on Medium, for instance, has an RSS feed. To access it, simply append “/feed/” between the ‘medium.com’ and your username, like this: https://medium.com/feed/@dprimbs

Next step from here involves scripting within Google App Script (GAS). GAS is Google’s way to allow you to automate much of their infrastructure. These Scripts are typically linked to documents like spreadsheets. You can also set up triggers that execute the code at regular intervals. That is precisely what I do.

I use a spreadsheet integrated with a script. This spreadsheet contains tabs for storing my Mastodon login details and another one for tracking the feeds I want to monitor.

Every 5 minutes, my script is triggered, takes the feeds and details out of said sheet and scans these for new items. When it identifies a fresh piece of content, it then automatically generates a toot on Mastodon.

And for added user convenience, I’ve integrated certain configurability options into the script. All of this, accompanied by step-by-step instructions, is compiled into a handy template that you’re welcome to replicate. Try it out for yourself here.

But, remember, I’ve kept this quite minimalist, so it might have a bit of that “crafted in a jiffy” feel to it. Also, I won’t be available for tech support; consider this a fun DIY project without any guarantee or promise! Finally: Please make sure to use this responsibly. If you create a bot, say so in your profile. If your Mastodon instance forbids automatic posting, don’t do it!

And now: Enjoy! 😉

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *