Replied to a tweet by Maggie AppletonMaggie Appleton (Twitter)
A great question to be sure.

Define “ours“. “Tweetspace” is only Twitter? Perhaps not all of those at once…

The education space definitely. Many are still in the “old” blogosphere. They use phrases/hashtags like “Domain of One’s Own” (#​DoOO), personal learning networks (#​pln), #​EdTech, #​EthicalEdTech, etc.

Maybe a dash of #OpenScience, along with maybe @LibCarpentry and @theCarpentries?

#​IndieWeb is platform interoperability, along with a smattering of the others but you already knew of that overlap.

Replied to a thread by Mike CaulfieldMike Caulfield (Twitter)
We will remember who did that work Mike. Thank you again for it!

I also remember Anil Dash’s Stop Publishing Web Pages essay in August 2012 and then 4 months later The Web We Lost. Those garden-like pages were definitely something we’ve lost. We need more of them on the higher ground outside of the floodplain of the raging waters of the storming corporate rivers. A few babbling brooks, sympathetic streams, and cordial and comforting creeks would also be most welcome in our landscape.

I’m glad to see that some are pushing back—returning to publish on the web in old, new, and even different ways. Hopefully, as in nature, the gardens and fields flourish after the unrestrained wrath of the storm.

With a lush mountain backdrop, a woman pictured from behind reaches up to suspended rocks and plants hanging from an artistic bamboo and metal structure.
Photo by Fathul Bilad on Unsplash

 

Featured photo by Saikiran Kesari on Unsplash

Creating Internal Backlinks for MediaWiki for Digital Gardeners

I’d spit-balled the general idea of showing backlinks or bidirectional links on a MediaWiki instance last year when thinking about and adding Webmention to one. Tonight I tinkered around and actually set it up on an instance. Within a MediaWiki, one can transclude all the backlinks from other pages to a particular page by adding a line for transcluding content like the following when editing a page:

{{Special:WhatLinksHere/PageName|limit=1000}}

You can see a live example of the practice on my user page on the IndieWeb wiki at https://indieweb.org/User:Boffosocko.com#Backlinks along with the code I used by clicking on the edit tab. The effect is rather nice, particularly when put into columns when there are lots of entries. I’ll have to look into automatically coding something like this into every page now, but being able to do it manually is most of the battle, right?

Doing this along with adding display for external webmentions quickly vaults MediaWiki to a solidly first class web-enabled digital commonplace book/digital garden/Memex/zettelkasten tool that can communicate with other similarly enabled tools. (Now if only Webmention were supported natively on MediaWiki… but there are definitely ways around this in the meanwhile.)

To go the extra mile, I know there’s the ability to interlink wikis with some custom syntax or even to show hovercards within a wiki. Both MediaWiki and Wikipedia already allow this after enabling page previews using hovercards in 2018. (I’ll have to check out if one could do hovercards across wikis as well!?!)

I’ve slowed down some of my experiments with my personal MediaWiki in preference to using Obsidian lately. Perhaps, for working in public, I’m going to have to resume some of my experiments and/or figure out a way to mirror the content?

Sister Heather Kristine in knowledge-management discord for Obsidian () for re-sparking idea.

Quoted by Jeremy KeithJeremy Keith (adactio.com)

I love my website. Even though it isn’t a physical thing, I think it might be my most prized possession.

It’s a place for me to think and a place for me to link.

A stark statement to make about one’s website. I feel exactly the same way.
 
 

Thoughts on Jeet Heer’s Can We Bring Back Blogging?

Jeet Heer recently wrote a piece (on Substack) entitled Can We Bring Back Blogging? where he waxed a bit nostalgic for the old blogosphere.

This makes me wonder: did blogging die off because the tools changed?

Everyone had their own space on the internet and the internet itself was the medium which opened up the conversation. I could use WordPress while someone else might have been on Blogger, Moveable Type, Live Journal, TypePad, or something they made in HTML themselves.

Now it’s all siloed off into tinier spaces where content is trapped for eyeballs and engagement and there’s not nearly as much space for expression. Some of the conversation is broken up into 280 character expressions on Twitter, some on Instagram, and now people are aggregating content inside Substack. Substack at least has a feed I can subscribe to and a free form box to add a reply.

I appreciate Jeff’s comment about the “flywheel of social media”. We’re definitely going to need something like that to help power any resurgence of the blogosphere. I also like to think of it in the framing of “thought spaces” where the idea of a blog is to give yourself enough space to form a coherent idea and make an actual argument. Doing that is much harder to do on a microblog where the responses are also similarly limited. It just feels so rude to post 250 words in reply to a sentence or two that probably needed more space to express itself too.

I suspect that if we want a real resurgence of thought and discourse online, we’re going to need some new tools to do it. As Friedrich Nietzsche famously conceded to his friend Heinrich Köselitz “You are right — our writing tools take part in the forming of our thoughts.”

It would help if we could get back to the bare metal of the internet in which to freely operate again. Substack at least feels close to that, though it could be much better.

Can we have a conversational medium that isn’t constrained by a handful of corporate silos that don’t allow conversation across boundaries? Can we improve the problems of context collapse we’re seeing in social media?

I’d like to think that some of the building blocks the IndieWeb movement has built might help guide the way. I love their idea of Webmention notifications that allow one site to mention another regardless of the platforms on which they’re built. Their Micropub posting tools abstract away the writing and posting experience to allow you to pick and choose your favorite editor. They’ve got multiple social reader tools to let you follow the people and content you’re interested in and reply to things directly in the reader. I presented a small proof of concept at a recent education conference, for those who’d like to see what that experience looks like today.

Perhaps if more platforms opened up to these ideas and tools, we might be able to return, but with a lot more freedom and flexibility than we had in the nostalgic blogosphere?

Yet, we’ll still be facing the human work of interacting and working together. There are now several magnitudes of order more people online than there were in the privileged days of the blogosphere. We’re still going to need to solve for that. Perhaps if everyone reads and writes from their own home on the web, they’re less likely to desecrate their neighbor’s blog because it sticks to their own identity?

There’s lots of work to be done certainly, but perhaps we’ll get there by expanding things, opening them up, and giving ourselves some more space to communicate?

Domains at Domains

I mentioned it as an anecdotal observation in my talk, so I went back and counted the appearances of online identifiers on the 159 re-mixable badges for the OERxDomains 21 Conference. I counted 91 twitter handles, 15 domain names, and 1 Instagram handle.

There were a couple people who used email addresses. A few people listed multiple twitter handles, and one enterprising person (not me!) listed three domain names.

Because the badges were customizable, people (or their animals and a few organizations) had the individual choice of what text to put on their personal badges.

Hopefully we’ll do better on using domain names at the next domains-related conference. 😜

RSVPed Attending Webmentions Beyond Webmention.io
Webmentions haven't really been revisited in some time (and with the advent of people leaning to Webmention.io). This is a chance to see what's been really wanted, what hasn't worked and where we can go with it. Let's webmunch on the riddle of webmentions. How can we get more people hosting their own webmention sending, receiving, and validating? How can we prevent Webmention.io from being the beginning and end of IndieWeb participants' use of webmentions?

A Twitter of Our Own at OERxDomains 2021 Conference

The Association of Learning Technology and Reclaim Hosting hosted the OERxDomains 2021 Conference last week.

They’ve just opened up the entire conference program with links to all of the sessions and videos for those who’d like to watch them.

You’ll see my presentation video embedded above. If you’d like you can also watch it in the custom player made for the conference, though I notice that it doesn’t replay the live chat.

Due to scheduling issues beyond my control just before the conference, I had to shorten my hour-long workshop down to a 20 minute talk. I intend to do a couple of separate hands-on workshops at upcoming Domain of Our Own meetups so that people can implement the moving pieces I demonstrate into their own websites. Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know when they’re scheduled.

I’m hoping that when the next conference rolls around at least some of us can participate using our own domains and not need to rely on Twitter’s infrastructure.

I posted a link to the slides last week if you’d like to follow along that way and have links to some of the resources. (You should also have access to some of my notes/rough transcript as well as alt-text for some of the images included.) The slides still have some context and links to portions of the original version that got cut out.

For those unaware of the conference or topics, it was two days of great presentations about the topics of Open Education Resources (OER) and A Domain of One’s Own which is focused on giving teachers and students to websites and underlying technology of their own for daily personal and professional use. Those interested in the IndieWeb may particularly find the Domains track enlightening. Others interested in teaching, pedagogy, and publishing will get a lot out of the OER tracks.

Slides for A Twitter of Our Own from OERxDomains 2021

As promised at the conference, you can find the slides with convenient links and other resources for my talk A Twitter of Our Own at OERxDomains21 on Google Slides.

They are also embedded below:

Read Social Attention: a modest prototype in shared presence by Matt Webb (Interconnected, a blog by Matt Webb)
My take is that the web could feel warmer and more lively than it is. Visiting a webpage could feel a little more like visiting a park and watching the world go by. Visiting my homepage could feel just a tiny bit like stopping by my home. And so to celebrate my blogging streak reaching one year, this week, I’m adding a proof of concept to my blog, something I’m provisionally calling Social Attention.
You had me at “select text”…

If somebody else selects some text, it’ll be highlighted for you. 

Suddenly social annotation has taken an interesting twist. @Hypothes_is better watch out! 😉
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:03AM

How often have you been on the phone with a friend, trying to describe how to get somewhere online? Okay go to Amazon. Okay type in “whatever”. Okay, it’s the third one down for me…
This is ridiculous!
What if, instead, you both went to the website and then you could just say: follow me. 

There are definitely some great use cases for this.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:05AM

A status emoji will appear in the top right corner of your browser. If it’s smiling, there are other people on the site right now too. 

This is pretty cool looking. I’ll have to add it as an example to my list: Social Reading User Interface for Discovery.

We definitely need more things like this on the web.

It makes me wish the Reading.am indicator were there without needing to click on it.

I wonder how this sort of activity might be built into social readers as well?
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:13AM

If I’m in a meeting, I should be able to share a link in the chat to a particular post on my blog, then select the paragraph I’m talking about and have it highlighted for everyone. Well, now I can. 

And you could go a few feet farther if you added [fragment](https://indieweb.org/fragmention) support to the site, then the browser would also autoscroll to that part. Then you could add a confetti cannon to the system and have the page rain down confetti when more than three people have highlighted the same section!
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:18AM

I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library. 

A great thing to want on a website! A tiny hint of phatic interaction amongst internet denizens.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:20AM

What I’d like more of is a social web that sits between these two extremes, something with a small town feel. So you can see people are around, and you can give directions and a friendly nod, but there’s no need to stop and chat, and it’s not in your face. It’s what I’ve talked about before as social peripheral vision (that post is about why it should be build into the OS). 

I love the idea of social peripheral vision online.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:22AM

streak: New posts for 52 consecutive weeks. 

It’s kind of cool that he’s got a streak counter for his posts.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:24AM

Hypothes.is as a comment system: Receiving @​mentions and notifications for your website

I’ve wanted @mention/Webmention support on Hypothes.is for a long time. I had URL hacked my way into a solution a while back but never wrote about it.

I was reminded today that one can subscribe to an RSS/ATOM feed of annotations on their site (or any site for that matter) using the feed format https://hypothes.is/stream.rss?wildcard_uri=https://www.example.org/* and replacing the example.org URL with the desired one. Nota bene: the /* at the end makes the query a wildcard to find anything on your site. If you leave it off you’ll only get the annotations on your homepage.

If you’re using Hypothes.is in an off-label use case as a commenting system on your website, this can be invaluable. I recall Tom Critchlow and CJ Eller trying this out in the past.

To go a step further, one can also use this scheme to get a feed of @mentions of their Hypothes.is username too. If I’m not mistaken, based on some preliminary tests, this method should work for finding username both with and without the @ being included.

These are a few interesting tidbits for those who are using Hypothes.is not only for the social annotation functionality, but as a social media site or dovetailing it with their own websites and related workflows.