Post Kinds, in depth

Read Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (BoffoSocko)
A WordPress plugin that allows you to easily create a huge variety of social media post types to own your social media life online.

If you’re looking for a detailed guide to Post Kinds, then read Chris Aldrich’s “Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress“. I’ve been meaning to read this article properly for a little while now to help me better understand how to use Post Kinds more effectively on my site.

Now even more IndieWebified

Liked Setting up WordPress for IndieWeb use by Chris AldrichChris Aldrich (BoffoSocko)
I spent some time this morning doing a dry run through setting up a suite of IndieWeb plugins on a fresh WordPress installation. Going off of a scant outline I talked for almost two hours describing IndieWeb functionality as I set it all up. Hopefully it will provide a useful guide to newcomers to t...

I just watched Chris Aldrich’s tutorial on how to configure a WordPress site for IndieWeb use. In other words, how to setup your WordPress site as pretty dynamic hub on the Web using a variety of IndieWeb technologies and plugins.

The tutorial runs to about two hours, but it was worth watching. It certainly helped me figure out how to make better use of the plugins I’d installed.

One aspect of this that really impresses me is the Post Kinds plugin. It’s become so much more useful to me. At the same time, it’s only really useful if I publish posts using the WP Admin dashboard on my site.

I’d love to be able to map selected Post Kinds to WordPress’ default post formats so I could take advantage of more Post Kinds when publishing posts from other WordPress interfaces (such as the mobile WordPress.com app).

Spending more time with MarsEdit

Replied to Jason Dettbarn by endonendendonend (micro.blog)
@pauljacobson I just bought it like a week or so ago. Still have a lot to learn, so I'll share any more tips I find.

I’ve been using MarsEdit for several years, just not particularly regularly. I do seem to fairly consistently underestimate what @danielpunkass has been able to achieve with it, though.

Rethinking Mastodon

Read Im Seriously Rethinking by Brent Simmons (micro.inessential.com)
I’m seriously rethinking being on Mastodon over this. Life’s too short to be affiliated with this kind of mob rule. wilwheaton.net/2018/08/t…

I’ve been pretty interested in Mastodon as a Twitter alternative, at least until I noticed Brent Simmons’ post.

He linked to Wil Wheaton’s post titled “The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it” in which Wheaton described a particularly unpleasant, and unexpected experience on Mastodon:

I thought that if I left Twitter, I could find a new social network that would give it some competition (Twitter’s monopoly on the social space is a big reason it can ignore people who are abused and harassed, while punishing people for reporting their attackers), so I fired up this account I made at Mastodon a long time ago.

I thought I’d find something different. I thought I’d find a smaller community that was more like Twitter was way back in 2008 or 2009. Cat pictures! Jokes! Links to interesting things that we found in the backwaters of the internet! Interaction with friends we just haven’t met, yet! What I found was … not that.

I’m sure that Wheaton’s experience of Mastodon doesn’t describe all Mastodon interactions. The same could be said of Twitter. In both cases, the trollish elements spoil the experience for everyone else.

His experience doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Mastodon as a more civil alternative to Twitter. This isn’t because Mastodon is fundamentally bad, it’s just being used by people who are behaving much the same as other people on Twitter who I’d prefer to avoid having to deal with.

I’ll just stick with my blog, and some sort of Micro.blog hook for now.

Geeking out with IndieWeb and Micro.blog

Nathan mentioned me in a conversation recently that prompted me to revisit Micro.blog. I backed Micro.blog on Kickstarter initially, created my account when it launched, and then didn’t really return to it after initially testing it out.

I took another look today, and noticed that my blog posts have been shared to my Micro.blog feed automatically (I added my RSS feed, then forgot about it). I didn’t have a blog active over there, because I want to have this site as my primary blog.

Still, I poked around a little, and took some time to make more sense of what this Micro.blog thing is all about. Brent Simmons described how he sees Micro.blog fitting into the broader Web ecosystem nicely when he said the following:

Micro.blog is not an alternative silo: instead, it’s what you build when you believe that the web itself is the great social network.

This talk at the recent IndieWeb Summit also offered a nice overview of where Micro.blog is at the moment, and some of the challenges that lie ahead:

While I’m on the topic of IndieWeb, this “State of the IndieWeb” keynote is a great overview of what’s been going on in the IndieWeb community in the last year or so:

How can I do that?

On yet another related note, I came across Chris Aldrich’s reply to a tweet from one of my colleagues. The reply is interesting, in itself, but what I’m particularly curious about is how to create replies like this that publish to the source site, and populate the syndication link fields.

I’ve installed a series of IndieWeb plugins on my site, including –

  • Bridgy
  • IndieAuth
  • IndieWeb
  • Microformats 2
  • Micropub
  • Post Kinds
  • Symantic Linkbacks
  • Syndication Links
  • Web Actions
  • Webmention
  • Websub

The challenge, now, is figuring out how to use them to publish replies that cross-post, and so on. Installing the plugins is only part of the process. I’m pretty sure there’s a degree of configuration involved too to make it all work.

On the one hand, using these tools/extensions will transform your site from a “simple” blog into a pretty interactive, connected hub on the Web. On the other hand, this is not the sort of setup that mainstream users are going to want to configure.

This is where services like Micro.blog fit into the picture. It integrates a number of IndieWeb technologies to produce a pretty seamless experience.

Deleted tweets on Facebook are a reminder about controlling your content

I noticed this story on TechCrunch about how cross-posted tweets were removed from Facebook, along with the conversations that formed around them.

Facebook users are complaining the company has removed the cross-posted tweets they had published to their profiles as Facebook updates. The posts’ removal took place following the recent API change that prevented Twitter users from continuing to automatically publish their tweets to Facebook. According to the affected parties, both the Facebook posts themselves, as well as the conversation around those posts that had taken place directly on Facebook, are now gone. Reached for comment, Facebook says it’s aware of the issue and is looking into it.

Axios published a post clarifying what happened:

Here’s what happened, according to a source close to Twitter.: Twitter had initially asked Facebook for more time to see if there was a way for users to continue joint posting to both social networks, but Facebook said no.

As a result, the Twitter app for the Facebook platform was essentially made useless earlier this month once Facebook officially removed the ability to cross-post. With the app’s sole function eliminated, Twitter decided to delete it from the Facebook platform, having no reason to think that doing so would remove old tweets that were cross-posted. It’s not clear whether Facebook knew this would happen, either.

Those tweets have apparently since been restored to Facebook, so the harm was short-lived. At the same time, this incident serves as an important reminder that you rarely have effective control over your content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

It’s also a big reason why I prefer the POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere),  approach to publishing my content. That said, moves like Facebook’s changes to their API at the beginning of August 2018 have the effect of frustrating this to a degree.

It’s affected people’s ability to publish to their Facebook News Feeds automatically using external services (although you can still publish automatically to your Facebook Page). That said, this just reinforces the importance of having your own space on the Web where you have considerably more control over your content.

A feed reader that lets me comment and like?

I use Feedly to subscribe to sites that I follow. I was just reading through some of the feeds, and I realised that I don’t seem to have a way to give feedback on posts, from Feedly.

For example, if I read something that I like, I’d like to, well, “Like” the post, or leave a comment from my feed reader.

The only feed reader that has this capability is the WordPress.com Reader, and that’s pretty much focused on WordPress sites.

Do other feed readers do this too? 🤔

Should Tumblr be the next Twitter? I hope not.

I can’t help but think that Jeremy Gordon’s call for people to return to Tumblr after abandoning Twitter misses the point a bit.

But on Tumblr, people could go on for at long as they needed to, a valuable tool for posters who could actually justify it. (And I use the past tense here in the context of my own experience; if you’re still doing this, bless you and yours.) Posts could be as short as necessary, but you could also find a historical deep dive, an interesting think piece (and not the kind derisively referred to as “takes”), a photo essay, or simply just a nice blog about someone’s life. The whole impetus behind following people on social media is, “Hey, I like this person’s brain, and am open to spending more time with it.” Tumblrs delivered the full, unrestrained range of someone’s head — funny, serious, and everything else.

Sure, Tumblr is an appealing platform, with a lot of good things to say about it. At the same time, one of the arguments for moving off the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and returning to personal sites is to regain control over your space on the Web.

Tumblr is another centralised, social space that’s vulnerable to the same threats that face its larger competitors.

People seem to be fixated on constraints, whether they are Twitter’s character count, or Tumblr’s engagement models.

Just create a blog of your own, on your preferred platform. I’m a WordPress user (since 2004), and you can choose another if you don’t like WordPress for some reason.

Whatever you choose, make it your space, at your domain, and keep it yours. If you only want to type short missives, great. If you prefer long, photo essays, that’s awesome too.

If you’re going to leave Twitter/Facebook because of the issues you see there, why replicate those conditions in another, similar service?

As Chris Aldrich put it, “support the web we’d like to have instead of the web we’re given”.