I’ll suspect she’ll be even more impressed when she realizes that there’s a forthcoming wave of feed readers1,2 that will allow her to read others’ content in a reader which has an integrated micropub client in it so that she can reply to posts directly in her feed reader, then the responses get posted directly to her own website which then, in turn, send webmentions to the sites she’s responding to so that the conversational loop can be completely closed.
She and Lee will also be glad to know that work has already started on private posts and conversations and posting to limited audiences as well. Eventually there will be no functionality that a social web site/silo can do that a distributed set of independent sites can’t. There’s certainly work to be done to round off the edges, but we’re getting closer and closer every day.
I know how it all works, but even I’m (still) impressed at the apparent magic that allows round-trip conversations between her website and Twitter and Micro.blog. And she hasn’t really delved into website to website conversations yet. I suppose we’ll have to help IndieWebify some of her colleague’s web presences to make that portion easier. Suddenly “academic Twitter” will be the “academic blogosphere” she misses from not too many years ago. 🙂
If there are academics out thee who are interested in what Kathleen has done, but may need a little technical help, I’m happy to set up some tools for them to get them started. (We’re also hosing occasional Homebrew Website Clubs, including a virtual one this coming week, which people are welcome to join.)
4 thoughts on “👓 Connections | Kathleen Fitzpatrick”
Chris Aldrich mentioned this reply on boffosocko.com.
My last post, Connections, gathered a fair bit of response — enough that you can see a good example of Webmentions in action below it. There’s a little back-and-forth discussion there that mostly took place on Twitter, as well as a lot of likes and mentions that came from there as well.
One important question surfaced in that discussion: Lee Skallerup Bessette asks how we keep in conversation with one another from our separate domains. Webmentions are one part of that equation, but discovery as François notes is another. One thing that Twitter has been pretty good at, after all, is gathering a sense of what people are reading and talking about, or what they ought to be reading and talking about.
Before Twitter, there was RSS. In fact, after Twitter, there still is RSS, a means of sharing information from one service or domain to another whose possibilities have never felt fully explored. I will admit to having all but abandoned my RSS reader some time back; none of the options after Google Reader were quite as satisfying community-wise, and Twitter was directing me to more than enough to read, so I let it go.
But now, as I find myself withdrawing a bit from Twitter and heading toward more intentionally chosen and cultivated spaces, discovery once again becomes an issue. Happily, a Twitter conversation (yes, I know) between Mark Sample and the folks at Reclaim Hosting led to the addition of FreshRSS to Reclaim’s Installatron, meaning that in just a few clicks I was able to self-host my own RSS aggregator. I transferred my subscriptions from my old feed reader, and was back in business.
In the process, I discovered that a lot of folks I’d been following hadn’t updated in yonks, and that some feeds no longer existed at all. So I’ve done a lot of pruning. But having done so, I’m ready to start cultivating that garden again, so do let me know if you’ve got a feed that I ought to be following.
In the meantime, Chris Aldrich indicates (in a reply to my post, posted on his site, that appears in my dashboard here as a comment but that for some reason is not appearing on the front end) that there is a forthcoming generation of feed readers that will not only gather in content but also syndicate responses to it, allowing replies (like Chris’s to me) to appear both on the comment author’s site and on the site of the original post.
This all raises, as Dorothea Salo notes, some serious questions about spam and harassment. One of the things about the early community of academic bloggers that I’m so nostalgic for (nostalgic enough that I should know to be a little self-critical here) is that it was pretty small, and so could be pretty intentional. And even so, problems arose. Maintaining the care exercised in a known community while remaining open to other voices and inputs is an issue that the next wave of distributed but interconnected communication platforms are going to need to face head-on. The IndieWeb folks are exploring this through Vouch, a protocol for mediating new connections through mutually known community members.
These are real challenges, I think, a few among the many that social media platforms have utterly fumbled: finding ways to be open to the web while safe from harassment; finding ways to maintain ownership of one’s content while being open to discussion; finding ways to develop and extend community without endangering the very thing we’re trying to create. Finding ways to care for one’s plot, in other words, without winding up in a walled garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how a decentralized, distributed, interconnected web might find new ways to approach these challenges.
Blogs are back! At least, they seem to be making a resurgence as we try to disentangle ourselves from the predatory social media platforms that took all the words many of us used to write on blogs. I’ll admit, I started my own tinyletter in part because I wanted to find an audience again that was a little more personal that what gets lost in the algorithmic facebook feed and the firehose that is Twitter. My blog (which is my domain) is kind of an experiment in long-form writing now. I’m working at another Domains school, so we are thinking about how students are using their domains, owning their own data, and writing publicly.
Dan Cohen wrote about going Back to The Blog as well as Going Indie on Social Media: “Meanwhile, thinking globally but acting locally is the little bit that we can personally do. Teaching young people how to set up sites and maintain their own identities is one good way to increase and reinforce the open web. And for those of us who are no longer young, writing more under our own banner may model a better way for those who are to come.”
Mark Sample, on how Facebook Killed the Feed: “Facebook killed the feed. The feed was a metaphorical thing. I’m not talking about RSS feeds, the way blog posts could be detected and read by offsite readers. I’m talking about sustenance. What nourished critical minds. The feed. The food that fed our minds. There’s a “feed” on Facebook, but it doesn’t offer sustenance. It’s empty calories. Junk food. Junk feeds.”
Kathleen Fitzpatrick on Connections and Feeds and Gardens: “These are real challenges, I think, a few among the many that social media platforms have utterly fumbled: finding ways to be open to the web while safe from harassment; finding ways to maintain ownership of one’s content while being open to discussion; finding ways to develop and extend community without endangering the very thing we’re trying to create. Finding ways to care for one’s plot, in other words, without winding up in a walled garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how a decentralized, distributed, interconnected web might find new ways to approach these challenges.”
Chris Aldrich, responding to Kathleen: “I’ll suspect she’ll be even more impressed when she realizes that there’s a forthcoming wave of feed readers that will allow her to read others’ content in a reader which has an integrated micropub client in it so that she can reply to posts directly in her feed reader, then the responses get posted directly to her own website which then, in turn, send webmentions to the sites she’s responding to so that the conversational loop can be completely closed.”
And finally, because it is alluded to in Kathleen’s title, and he says himself that this is one of the best things he’s written, Mike Caulfield on The Garden and The Stream: “Whereas the garden is integrative, the Stream is self-assertive. It’s persuasion, it’s argument, it’s advocacy. It’s personal and personalized and immediate. It’s invigorating. And as we may see in a minute it’s also profoundly unsuited to some of the uses we put it to.”
Sing along to Rainbow Connection to start your weekend!