Facebook messages aren’t so private after all

From the New York Times article, “As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants – The New York Times” –

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.

New York Times

😳

Really Facebook?!

Twitter threads make no sense to me

Twitter threads make no sense to me. I also find then to be pretty frustrating.

I’ve read some really interesting, and engaging Twitter threads (you probably have too). Every time I read one, I ask myself two questions:

  • Why is this person going out of their way to share this story/their thoughts on a format that breaks the flow with every tweet?
  • Why doesn’t this person value their ideas/content/thoughts enough to give them/it a dedicated home on the Web that others can return to?

Sure, Twitter is great for firing off missives on the go. It’s both a real benefit, and the reason why Twitter’s becoming the seedy part of the Web.

It’s also a space that you don’t control, don’t own, and have no guarantee will still respect you in the morning. Taking the time to formulate your thoughts, and share them one tweet at a time, over multiple tweets, reflects a degree of dedication, and a determination to share them with the world.

Why, then, would you do the digital equivalent of carving your thoughts into beach sand, only to see it washed out when the tide comes in?

There are so many opportunities to share your ideas in a more resilient format, such as a blog, or even a collection of static HTML pages on a server somewhere. You can even tweet the link, if you want to get it out to your Twitter followers.

The cost of setting up, and maintaining a blog, are almost negligible. Do that instead. Your future readers will thank you.

Oh, and on a related note …

I occasionally come across tweets that attach images of typed documents. Please don’t do that. See above.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by drmakete lab

Watch this if you’re still on the fence about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg)

If you’re still unsure about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg), it’s worth watching Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word keynote at the recent WordCamp US 2018 event in Nashville.

You can find links to parts of the talk, along with slides, and commentary in Matt’s post, here:

I’ve been using the new Editor almost exclusively lately, not because I work for Automattic, but because it’s actually a pretty enjoyable way to write posts.

I still prefer to write longer posts in my text editor, and then add the posts into the editor afterwards (I’ve always been a little twitchy about my only version of long posts being in an online editor, just in case something goes pear shaped and I lose it all).

The new Editor isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good! It does work a little differently in some respects, but that isn’t a bad thing (necessarily). Also, it’s improving (I can add galleries that work the way they’re supposed to! Yay!) all the time.

Birthday balloons on Twitter 🎈

Some platforms present a little something special on your birthday. Twitter has balloons that float up over your screen when you visit your profile page on your birthday. I get a kick out of seeing this every year! 😁

Feedback that inspires me to be a better blogger

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

I enjoy blogging because I enjoy sharing things that interest me. My blog has a pretty modest following, and I like receiving feedback on posts that resonate with readers.

This evening, I opened Twitter for some reason, and noticed this wonderful tweet from Jamie Rubin, a writer, blogger, and stimulus for my Field Notes obsession:

What makes Jamie’s feedback so much more meaningful is that I’ve followed his blog for a little while now, and I have great respect for his writing just based on his blog. Feedback like this inspires me to be a better blogger, so I can do justice to such kind words.

Jamie’s latest blog post, “Inside My Notebooks“, will give you a terrific sense of what he writes about (if you haven’t read it posts already):

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Adam Jang

MarsEdit + WordPress 5.0

MarsEdit is my favourite blog editor for my laptop. I use it daily, mostly for work-related posts that I publish. It makes it so much easier for me to publish to a variety of blogs (we have a lot of internal blogs at Automattic).

The new WordPress Editor has changed how we write blog posts and pages in the WordPress dashboard. I’ve been using the new editor more and more, lately, and I like it a lot for the most part.

At the same time, I don’t see myself giving up MarsEdit anytime soon. It’s a terrific app that I haven’t appreciated nearly enough.

In the short term I am not planning to add much in the way of block-specific functionality to MarsEdit. As I mentioned above, I think that blocks are going to appeal more to web authors who are managing full-fledged sites, and less to bloggers who appreciate the streamlined workflow that MarsEdit emphasizes.

Daniel Jalkut

I don’t see any reason why MarsEdit fans should stop using MarsEdit with WordPress 5.0 out. For one thing, you don’t have to switch to the new block editor. You can install the Classic Editor plugin, and keep blogging the way you’ve been doing it till now.

The new WordPress Editor is great, but it hasn’t reach feature parity with its predecessor in some respects. One area that stands out for me is galleries. It doesn’t seem possible to create galleries that open into slideshows like the current version of the feature in the Classic Editor.

I just published a draft post using MarsEdit, and I noticed that WordPress will add the post as a Classic editor block (at least on WordPress 4.9.8 – my host hasn’t released the 5.0 update yet).

Given the changes to the editor, and how central this has become to the WordPress experience with WordPress 5.0, it can be worrying if your workflow is dependent on an editor that you’re much more familiar with, and comfortable using. I’ve been hesitant to use the new editor, too.

If MarsEdit is central to your blogging workflow, keep doing what you’re doing. I see the new WordPress Editor as adding another option, not precluding you from doing what you’ve been doing till now.

Daniel Jalkut wrote a post about MarsEdit and WordPress 5.0. It’s worth reading.

I like the new Twenty Nineteen theme, but …

WordPress 5.0 has been released, and with it the new default theme, Twenty Nineteen. I like the theme, except it doesn’t support a sidebar, and all my widgets look like they’re really packed in there when I test my site with the theme.

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo”

I’d love to have a theme that’s pretty close to this one, Independent Publisher 2, and that also supports different post formats. Ideally, I’d like to have a theme that provides better IndieWeb tech support too (such as Post Kinds), but finding a theme that does both isn’t that easy.

If you’re interested in what this release entails, check out the announcement post:

My blog is 14 years old, today, and it’s a big day for blogging

A cake for anniversaries

Today is a Big DayTM For Blogging, but probably only for me. Today is this blog’s 14th birthday! On 6 December 2004, I wrote my first post on this WordPress blog:

Where this chapter all began …

It was originally at a different domain, and has evolved over the last 14 years. I probably have a fair share of somewhat trashy posts, especially from my blog’s earlier years, and I’ve suffered some losses along the way due to rushed or poorly managed migrations from one server to another.

Still, after 14 years, I’m still blogging, albeit it somewhat erratically. Here’s the current state of my blog:

This year has been an interesting one for me when it comes to blogging. My day job as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic is focused on helping our customers build, maintain, and grow their WordPress.com sites. I deal with issues ranging from domain configurations, to custom CSS to tweak theme designs, to a little HTML to help structure page content better, to more involved WooCommerce store configurations, and a lot of troubleshooting in between.

Despite spending all that time focused on our customer’s sites, I’ve only published 148 blog posts of my own in 2018 (including this one). I seem to have surges of activity when I’m not working, or when I have something short to share using the WordPress.com Android app.

Regardless of how much I’ve shared this year, I’m really glad that I have this place of my own on the Web, wherever it may be from time to time. I strongly believe in the importance of having your own space on the Web that you own, and control (as much as you can when it comes to other people’s servers).

This is my home on the Web, weird content choices and all. Thank you for being part of it.