Visually indicating post types on blogs and microblogs

It’s been a while since I’ve actively read Om Malik‘s blog, but I noticed that he’s using graphical indicators that add some semantic detail about what each post is. It’s a design element I’ve only seen lately out of the IndieWeb community with plugins like the Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress or done manually with emoji in post titles the way Aaron Davis has done relatively religiously, particularly on his “Collect” site.

Om Malik is using some graphical indicators to give quick additional semantic meaning to what he’s posting.

I highly suspect that he’s using the Post Formats functionality from WordPress core to do some of this using a custom theme. Sadly it’s generally fallen out of fashion and one doesn’t see it very often any more. I suspect that it’s because WordPress didn’t take the functionality to its logical conclusion in the same way that the Post Kinds Plugin does.

The way Aaron Davis uses emoji in his posts helps to provide additional context about what is being written about to indicate what is going on in a link before it’s clicked.

I think some of my first experience with its resurgence was as helpful UI I saw suggested by Tantek Çelik on the Read page of the IndieWeb wiki. I’ve been doing it a lot myself, primarily for posts that I syndicate out to, where it’s become a discovery function using so-called tagmoji (see books, for example), or Twitter (reads, bookmarks, watches, listens, likes). In those places, they particularly allow me to add a lot more semantic meaning to short notes/microblog posts than others do.

I do wish that having emoji for read posts was more common in Twitter to indicate that people actually bothered to read those articles they’re sharing to Twitter, the extra context would be incredibly useful. I generally suspect that article links people are sharing have more of a bookmark sentiment based on their click-bait headlines. Perhaps this is why I like so much for finding content — it’s material people have actually bothered to read before they shared it out. Twitter adding some additional semantic tidbits like these would make it much more valuable in my mind.

It doesn’t appear that Om has taken this functionality that far himself though (at least on Twitter). Perhaps if WordPress made it easier to syndicate out content to Twitter with this sort of data attached it would help things take off?

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

One thought on “Visually indicating post types on blogs and microblogs”

  1. What an intriguing term Chris, ‘relatively religiously’. It reminds me of my question as to whether the IndieWeb is ‘ritualistic‘.
    Personally, there were a few reasons I started my ‘Collect’ blog. One was wondering about what a ‘feed’ in a space like Micro.Blogs might actually look like. One of the things that I noticed early on was how clunky my titles looked with ‘Reply to’ etc at the start. I also had concerns about using the identical title of the post I was mentioning. I found emojis an efficient method to indicate what sort of interaction it was and that it was not my own post.
    I still have concerns about emojis in urls. Although many with Micro.Blog sites have arcane urls due to the absence of a title, I like to use the title in the url. One of the catches I found early on was that this added the emoji. I subsequently paste the title in the slug when I copy it from the properties box. I would love to be able to strip this out automatically, but not sure I am at that stage yet.

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