Replied to a post by willtmonroewilltmonroe (
@daveymoloney I like what you've done with your WP site using the Autonomie theme to implement IndieWeb principles. If you don't mind, I have a couple of questions for you that I couldn't quite figure out. First, how are you able to selectively post from WP to I know that allows a user to publish feeds from other sources. But you mentioned that you "some of what you post on your Microblog Statuses timeline" is also posted on I'd love to know how you do that! As you know, Bridgy allows you to choose which posts to syndicate to sites like Twitter. But I've seen no way to accomplish the same thing with yet. Second, how did you create the Microblog Statuses timeline using Autonomie? I know that Autonomie, Indepdendent Publisher and other Indieweb-friendly themes allow for "post kinds" show up on separate pages. But you seem to be combining several "kinds" on the Microblog Statuses page. I'd love to know how you did this. My overall goal is to combine my "stream" page with my main website. But until now, I haven't seen a good way to accomplish the kind of control over my short-form posts that you have. Thanks for such a great example!

@willtmonroe You may have discovered this already, but since it went unanswered, you’ll likely find more help in the IndieWeb WordPress chat, but quickly there are some plugins for WordPress listed at

@daveymoloney’s microblog status page is most likely done by his having a page and menu link that displays the WordPress Post Format type “status” posts. (Incidentally you already have that page on your site, you just need to put it in a menu somewhere: I’d suspect that he took the RSS feed from that page and piped it into as well. Since you’re using Post Kinds plugin, you can do something similar using a URL format like,photo,like,listen/ or for porting to using a similar feed URL like,photo,like,listen/feed/. You’d just need to put the names of the types you want to use/have in the list separated with commas.

Let me know if you need more help!

Narwhal Microblog Plugin for WordPress: Quickly Posting Notes to your IndieWeb Site

This morning, after reading a brief, but interesting snippet in the IndieWeb WordPress chat from last night, David Shanske made me think about an old itch I had to have a quicker and more stripped down posting interface for notes on my website. I immediately thought of WordPress’s P2 and 02 themes/products which had a built-in simple posting interface reminiscent of Twitter’s UI. 

Screencapture of Twitter's simple posting interface

Not wanting to wait to see what David might come up with before the next couple of IndieWebCamps, I thought I’d at least do some research to see what was hiding in the good old WordPress repository. I found a few old plugins that were roughly the sort of idea I was looking for, but they were last maintained about 8-10 years ago. 

Then I came across the Narwhal Microblogging plugin from Billy Wilcosky, which is being actively developed/maintained and has almost exactly what I’m looking for!

Screencapture of the Narwhal microblogging plugin user interface

Apparently the plugin itself had an early simple start before the developer came across Jon Smajda’s plugin Posthaste which was apparently repurposed for the Prologue/P2 code that WordPress used for that product/theme. He’s since rewritten a large chunk of it based on Posthaste’s original code and added in some basic formatting options and the ability to add media, so one can post a quick note along with a photo.

Settings for the plugin are hiding in Settings << Writing admin interface (or at the path /wp-admin/options-writing.php on your website) which includes the ability to choose which pages to display the “widget” and allowing one to hide the title, tags, categories, draft seclector, one’s Gravatar, and the Greeting and Links. I’d personally pare my version down to just provide tags, categories, and the draft options to keep the interface as clean as possible.

Screencapture of the settings for the Narwhal plugin

Finally the developer notes that within the user interface “if you leave the ‘Category:’ box at its default setting it posts to your default category. However… If you have a category named ‘asides’, it will put posts with empty titles into the ‘asides’ category even if you do not explicitly specify the ‘asides’ category in the dropdown. You can then style them as asides.”

This is the view of the posting interface on my site after paring it down to my personal bare minimum.


I’ve already discussed some of the immediate benefits for easily and quickly posting directly from my own website. Just below I’ll add a few others.

Most importantly for me at the moment, the plugin works with the Classic Editor in WordPress. The interface also only shows up when one is logged into their website, so visitors won’t ever see it.

Titleless posts

The plugin automatically takes the first 40 characters of your note and posts that into the title field, so you don’t have to bother with it. Sadly, this means that feed readers and other services will take your status updates and give them a title. (Though in the wild, most feed readers do something like this anyway. I am hearing strong rumors that Inoreader is about to have better support for social media-like posts soon.) For those using the plugin for IndieWeb use and prefer to keep their notes/asides/status updates titleless, you can spelunk into the code pretty easily and make a quick change which the developer kindly documents in his support page:

But, if you want to modify the title character limit it is easy to do.

  1. Go to this plugin’s folder and open the narwhal-microblog.php file.
  2. In this file you will see a line for this max character limit and you will see the number 40. You could just increase it to something like 100, 3500, or 999999. Depending on how long you are willing to let your titles get.

In my case, I think I’ll just decrease the character limit to 0 and then rely on the Post Kinds plugin to add it’s customary pseudo-title to the admin interface on my back end so that I can distinguish my posts in the posts pages.

UI suggestions

The category chooser could be a little cleaner and provide a dropdown of all my pre-existing categories with the ability to select multiple ones. I suspect that somewhere in the WordPress universe there’s a way to do this even if it means swiping a snippet of code from core’s editor.

The basic text box for entering text could be a bit smaller on the page to accept 2-4 lines of text since it’s meant for short posts. As it stands now, it defaults to 10, but it also smartly already has a slider that appears when you type more than the available number of lines and it also has a handle in the corner to allow you to increase the boxes size.

I’ve mentioned doing natively titleless notes above, but to make things a bit more user friendly, it would be nice to have the ability in the settings page to enter a number for the text excerpt, so that users could configure it without needing code. I suspect that most in the IndieWeb space would set the title excerpt to zero so as to not have titles on their notes.

It will take me some time to dig into it, but it would be nice if the developer had some notes about the CSS classes used in the plugin so that one might more easily style the display of the output on one’s website. Fortunately the defaults to match one’s current theme seem relatively solid.

At present, there isn’t any UI for including syndication targets to external services like Twitter, Mastodon, etc. It would be nice if there was some tie into syndication services or functionality like that provided with Syndication Links plugin and publish or fed if those pieces are present.

The last dovetail that would be nice to have, particularly within an IndieWeb framing, would be to have better direct integration of this plugin with the Post Kinds plugin. This could extend to auto-setting the post kind to “note”, which should in turn allow the automatic setting of Post Formats to either “status” or “aside”.


In sum, this plugin is really fantastic for allowing a simple and lightweight means of posting quick status updates or notes to one’s WordPress website! It’s the next best thing to using any of the variety of Micropub clients, particularly when you already happen to be at your own site.

I suspect this plugin is the sort of thing that many within the IndieWeb and WordPress communities will love using–and at least one person in the chat has already said they think it’s a great find. There are currently less than 10 active installations of the plugin, but I think it deserves a magnitude or more. Let’s see what we can do about that!

Have you tried it? What do you think of the idea?

Testing out Malcolm Blaney's relatively new Unicyclic feed reader. Very clean and simple! I love that it handles Twitter feeds in a much more natural way than any of the big corporate feed readers out there. Of course the fact that it supports micropub is also a major bonus! IndieWeb tools FTW!

Read Tinkering by CJ Eller (
This post is part of Blogging Futures, a collaborative self-reflexive interblog conversation about the future of blogging. Feel free to join the conversation!

To make conversations more weblike than linear, more of a garden and less of a stream, to create “a broader web of related ideas”.
These sentiments from Chris Aldrich resonate with me. But how do we achieve this?

He doesn’t link directly to it, but this post directly follows one of mine within the blogchain. Here’s the original:
–November 17, 2019 at 02:33PM

The fact that there is no “silver bullet” is the exciting part.

I’ll agree that there is no silver bullet, but one pattern I’ve noticed is that it’s the “small pieces, loosely joined” that often have the greatest impact on the open web. Small pieces of technology that do something simple can often be extended or mixed with others to create a lot more innovation.
–November 17, 2019 at 02:35PM

Read Blogging Futures Prompt 3 (


This is the last week of Blogging Futures!

The final prompt is looking back on the conversation that has grown on the blogchain...

What have you learned from reading or participating?

Primarily I’ve been heartened to have meet a group of people who are still interested in and curious about exploring new methods of communication on the web!
–November 17, 2019 at 02:41PM

Is there a particular project you want to pursue?

Though I joined late, the course has spurred me to think about the concepts of mixing blogchains with webmentions, and resparked my interest in getting wikis to accept webmentions as well for building and cross-linking information.
–November 17, 2019 at 02:42PM

Comparing Inoreader’s user interface for their internal tweets versus RSS tweets

For a long time I’ve been consuming the majority of my Twitter feed within various feed readers. My most frequent feed reader is Inoreader, though I’ve been experimenting with and using some IndieWeb influenced microsub-based feed readers for quite a while.

Earlier today I thought I’d try out Inoreader’s Twitter integration and subscribe to some of my twitter lists using that instead of importing feeds directly from outside services. (I’ve been a big fan of using Ryan Barrett’s Twitter-Atom and related tools.) One of the things that had always bothered me about third party RSS feeds into most feed readers is that the author of the post is in such tiny text and there is no avatar indicator of who wrote the post. As a result I’m stuck spending a lot more cognitive load trying to discern the author of a tweet before or after reading it. It just boils down to less than optimal user interface.

Fortunately Inoreader seems to have a slightly better method for doing this (since they control the user interface and are presumably using the Twitter API). Within their reader, Tweets look a tad bit more standard with respect to the usual Twitter client and include an avatar and the name of the author in larger font. Sadly, though they have control over the UI, they’re still including a bolded version of the the text of the tweet as a title and thereby needlessly duplicating some of the content. It would be far better for notes, status updates and other content that typically doesn’t have (or need) a title if they would simply just leave it out. They could then use the extra space to have a larger font for reading the short status update. In fact, most of the IndieWeb-based feeds I read in Inoreader have these unnecessary titles included which typically not only look bad from a UI perspective, but they again needlessly duplicate content I don’t need.

Below I’m including screenshots of the two different methods of reading Tweets via Inoreader. I’m also including a screenshot of how Tweets look like in Monocle when fed in via the same Atom feed that was used in the Inoreader case. In Monocle’s version, it’s got a nice larger and easier to discern author name, but it too is missing the author photo (or avatar), in part because the feed doesn’t include it as a default. I suspect that if the feed included it, Monocle would display it properly though the Inoreader version probably wouldn’t. The Monocle version also includes a copy of the photo in the Tweet twice because the feed adds it in a second time as an enclosure.

UI example of a tweet within Inoreader using their native Twitter support.
UI example of a tweet within Inoreader imported using a third party RSS-based client.
UI example of a tweet within Monocle imported using a third party RSS-based client.

For completeness, I’m including the text of the Atom feed for this particular tweet so that we can see what is or isn’t being included in the Inoreader and Monocle versions.

 <name>Big History Project</name>
  <title>In an ideal world, you’d have 1-on-1 time with every student to discuss every...</title>
  <content type="xhtml">
  <div xmlns="">
In an ideal world, you’d have 1-on-1 time with every student to discuss every aspect of every writing assignment. With BHP score, you come close. <br />
<a href=""></a>
<a class="link" href="">
<img class="u-photo" src="" alt="" />
  <link rel="alternate" type="text/html" href="" />
  <link rel="ostatus:conversation" href="" />
      <link rel="ostatus:attention" href="" />
      <link rel="mentioned" href="" />   <activity:verb></activity:verb>
  <link rel="self" type="application/atom+xml" href="" />
      <link rel="enclosure" href="" type="image/jpeg" />

In sum, I generally like the UI of the Inoreader version, though they could still do with removing the redundant and unnecessary title. The Monocle version is likely the best, but I’d need to find a feed method that also includes the avatar to have a better representation of the original Tweet. Even with these differences, I think I tend to prefer Monocle at the end of the day because it also automatically includes Micropub functionality which means that I can post my reactions (likes, reposts, or comments) directly to my website and syndicate copies directly to Twitter. (This is also in consideration of my previously having set up some separate functionality for forcing Inoreader to allow me to post some of this same sort of data to my website by other means.)

Has anyone found better/prettier or more useful ways of consuming Twitter in third party means while allowing one to own their data?

I’m subscribed to a handful of subs on, but I’ve noticed after having been away for a while that the number of subs has nearly tripled! This is great, but I’m curious if there’s a way to get notified of new subs that I might like to follow in the future. I’ve taken a stab at subscribing to the subs page at using microformats in hopes that I’ll see new subs pop up.

I’ll try creating a discovery sub and we’ll see what happens?!

On Blogging Infrastructure

I’ve been reading through a series of essays on Blogging Infrastructure that are part of CJ Eller’s Blogging Futures. There are some interesting ideas hiding in there including the idea of a blogchain, which appears to have originated on Venkatesh Rao’s site Ribbon Farm. As best as I can tell it amounts to linking series of blog posts by potentially multiple authors into a linear long form piece. It reminds me of the idea of a webring, but instead of being random (though some may have historically been completely linear in nature), they’ve got slightly more structure, and instead of linking entire websites, they’re linking posts on a particular idea or topic. 

I’ve also seen some tangential mentions among the Blogging Futures crowd of Webmention, which is essentially a standardized web technology that allows notifications or @mentions between websites on different domains and running completely different software. I know that Tom Critchlow, who is a memeber of the blogchain, has recently set up webmentions, so I’m curious to hear his impression of what a blogchain means after he’s begun using webmention. (Difficultly, he’s using a static site generator, which will tend to make his experience with them a tad more fraught compared with services that have it built in or available by simple plugins.) To me there’s more value in combining the two ideas of Webmention and blogchain wherein each post is able to webmention the other posts within a particular blogchain and thereby create a broader web of related ideas. 

Of course this is all very similar to ideas like IndieNews and Kicks Condor’s aggregation hub which allow users to post to them by means of Webmention. In some sense this allows for a central repository or hub that collects links to all of the responses for those who want to to participate. These responses could obviously be sorted by topic (aka tag/category), author, and even date. Naturally if each post includes links to all the other pieces in such a blogchain, and all the sites accept and display webmentions, then there will be a more weblike chain of discussion of the topic rather than a more linear one.

I’m not aware of it being done, but I’ve always sort of wished that someone would add webmention support to a wiki platform. Many has been the time I wish I could have added a link into the See also section of the IndieWeb wiki simply by linking to a particular page and sending a webmention. Lots of my online documentation references that wiki and it would be wonderfully useful for links to my content to automatically show up there. Later, others could add some of my content back into the wiki in a more fully fleshed out way, but at least the references would be there. Imagine how the world’s knowledge would be expanded if a larger wiki like Wikipedia had the ability to accept incoming links this way!?

I’ll mention that both the aggregation hubs and the wikis can help to serve as somewhat more centralized means of discovery on the web, which also helps to fuel idea and content production.

All the people I know who have added Webmention have generally fallen in love with it as a new means of posting into and interacting within a rejuvenated blogosphere. There’s more power in posting to one’s own website while still being able to interact in a more social sort of way. 

Replied to a tweet thread by John Mark TroyerJohn Mark Troyer (Twitter)

Framing things as just using a “blog” in reverse chronological order is a tough one. I might recommend having a website that does much more. It could be a business card, have a blog, have a portfolio, it could have collections, series, etc. The real key at the end of the day is having a website you own and control to put on it what you’d like. This way you can decide not only how to represent yourself on line but how you communicate.

Perhaps another interesting place to start thinking about this is Mike Caulfield’s post The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, which also looks closely at wikis as a separate framing?

Other than a blog, another common pattern is to have a /Now page which describes what you’ve been up to lately. (The problem with this is keeping it up to date on a frequent basis, and you might get back to the problem of having a blog which hasn’t been updated in a while.)

Of course, why not take back control of all of your social presence and put that on your site too? That way your social stream on your site will more frequently be up to date. This is roughly what I do on my site at /blog. It’s not just a stream of longer articles, but of all my social posts, photos, checkins, and other interactions. Of course if you just want the longer form stuff, that’s available too.

For some examples on portfolios, perhaps try the IndieWeb wiki which has some examples and links to other resources.

I like John Mark Troyer’s idea of mini-ebooks and collections of projects. I’ve got a collection of some of my IndieWeb experiments with WordPress that touches on his idea, but eventually I’ll roll some of it up into a book of some sort.

I’ll also indicate another idea being that of having a site that acts like a digital commonplace book, which is roughly how I use my website. I keep a lot of the content primarily for myself, but it does have some social interest for those who may appreciate that I’ve aggregated it in one place.

While the conversation has (temporarily?) shifted to social platforms, I don’t think that it’s always going to stay there. The barriers and issues with owning, controlling, and maintaining a website are coming down every day. Why would one want/need dozens or more social sites to communicate when they should be able to do it in one place–on their own site? Just like I can use my phone and phone number with AT&T service to call you on your phone number with Sprint service, I should be able to use WordPress on my domain to chat/@mention you on your domain running any other CMS. Eventually social media will decentralize, though there still may be a place for aggregation hubs for discovery. I’ll mention passingly that individual websites can also act as stand-alone members of the Fediverse. While not the prettiest thing at the moment because of limitations of the Fediverse, you can follow my website here from Mastodon and other Fediverse instances. Simultaneously feed readers are improving to better allow users to read what they want without relying on social services to control it for them.

In the past, many people have indiscriminately syndicated material from one social site to another, but it generally never looks good unless it’s done very carefully. Naturally none of the corporate silos make this type of syndication easy because it’s not in their financial interest to do so–they’d rather you used their services exclusively. This is part of what makes it look like one is dropping off fliers. However, I would suggest that with a more IndieWeb approach that syndicating via POSSE and using appropriate backfeed via webmention, that one can have not only a reasonably organic experience, but you can add a lot more to a much bigger (and hopefully more substantive) conversation. POSSE is a temporary bandaid until we’ve been able to reshape the web the way we want to consume it rather than being forced into consumption on social media services’ terms.

Hopefully this post itself is an example of a response to a larger stream of content that provides a bit more space than Twitter’s 280 character limit would have otherwise allowed. This post might also indicate that a conversation online doesn’t need to be so forced and linear or crammed within Twitter’s restrictive confines. Twitter forces us into a stream as a means of getting us to scroll endlessly rather than think, mull, and respond. It’s not unnoticed by me that the tweet that started this thread has branched off into half a dozen different, but related conversations. This makes even Twitter’s UI difficult to navigate and respond to appropriately. We definitely need (and deserve) something better. If they won’t do it for us, then why not take the means of production and do it ourselves.

You’ve asked some excellent questions. I can’t wait to see your experiments and what you end up making John.

Replied to Ditching Event Platforms for the IndieWeb by Jamie TannaJamie Tanna (

Recently there's been a big shift to move away from as a platform.

Something that may come as a shock to most attendees of events is that organisers have to pay for each of you to be part of the Meetup group, even if you are just there to keep up to date on events, but don't attend anything.

Some organisers just don't fancy spending the money on it, and some are outraged by the news about new monetisation strategies that Meetup may be looking at moving to.

These issues have led many groups to investigate the alternatives that we can pursue, but unfortunately many have decided to build their own instead of pooling resources with the existing Free or Open Source platforms, of which there are many.

Jamie, your post reminds me about which was a social site that got bought and sold several times becoming a corporate controlled silo, but was relatively recently bought back by the founder and relaunched with some of the old and missing data. (It has been open sourced on GitHub by the way.) They’ve been slowly been iterating on it to add additional functionality and have considered being IndieWeb friendly.

One of the pieces that makes so valuable is its centralized nature as a one-stop-shop for every locale. To better disrupt the space and still provide that value, perhaps an open source version that could be very IndieWeb friendly might attempt to act as an aggregation hub and provide some of the services while still allowing people to post their events and RSVPs to their own sites, but still provide the clearing house to bigger communities. This could be a service like or but it would work more like IndieWeb News or Kicks Condor’s

The resulting workflow would look like roughly like this:

An organizer posts an event with details to their website and then uses webmention to syndicate a copy to the hub event site. The hub then parses the basic data and allows it to be displayed on pages that were sortable by date and city (at a minimum). People could then have their one-stop centralized location for events, but then RSVP directly to the original on their own sites as you indicated. 

To take things further, additional useful services could be added by the hub in the form of a micropub client that organizers could use to input all their event data and then publish it to their micropub capable website. (Quill already has the ability to post events like this as an example in the wild.) Similarly, for individual attendees, the hub could have a micropub client to do RSVPs to both the attendees’ websites (and/or the events’ site) as well. 

Naturally this presupposes that a benevolent actor(s) could serve as the hub and handle the maintenance and overhead of that piece.

I was already partway there, but following on Ryan Barrett’s excellent suggestion, I spent a few minutes today and added several of my favorite Twitter lists to my feed reader. I spend less and less time in Twitter because all the notifications come to me via my own site and webmentions. I’m not unfollowing people to completely clean out the timeline just yet since there are a few people who have private accounts and I’d need to refollow or do something unique to cover them.

I do wish someone had a simple method of following the one or two people who have blocked me (I’m presuming they did so accidentally or I’ve been rolled up in a larger block list and they weren’t aware.) I was half-hoping that some API and list workarounds would work, but I’m stuck with creating another account and following separately or manually revisiting their feeds at scheduled intervals. I don’t need to interact with them so much as I have to read their excellent work. If anyone has ideas to fix this, I’m open to suggestions.

Later today, Jared Pereirah will be interviewing me about my website as part of his course Learning with Personal Websites within the Hyperlink Academy.

Join us this afternoon on a live stream at 3PM EST / 12PM PST to chat and ask questions about my website, how I use it as a digital commonplace book, and the IndieWeb movement.

RSVP and Zoom link here:

My website is closing in on 17,000 posts (this one will make it 16,998), so I was looking at the gargantuan size of my database. When you’ve got this many posts and 17,160 comments, I’m thinking that just my Akismet (anti-spam) meta data is somehow actually larger in size than some people’s  entire blogs. I’ve backed it all up and am going through and cleaning out some unused digital exhaust to give me some room to grow.

Who knew that in owning your own data you could accumulate so much of it?!

Replied to a post by Jörg WurzerJörg Wurzer (
I’m struggling with I have tried it since it was stsrted after the Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately it’s not possible to get in contact with people or to reach any audience. I thnk the conceptual problem of is, that I can’t search for interesting people and posts. Maybe it’s time to say good bye to My hope was to have an alternative to Twitter, without censorship and manipulation.

@jwurzer I recall that @macgenie had a good piece called Where Discover Doesn’t Help that may also be useful to you. I had responded to it with some related ideas around Micro Monday. Another good place to find people is to visit the profile pages of people you do find interesting and then click through the “Following XYZ users you aren’t following” to see people who may be similar.

To some extent, just like you did with Twitter and all your other social networks, you’ll likely have to (re-)”build” and “discover” your audience and people you want to interact with. The nice part about it is that it’s built on open protocols, so as more and more sites and services support them, you’ll be able to interact from one place instead of the typical 4 or more.

Personally, while I highly leverage m.b. and its many discovery aspects, I do it with my own feed reader where I pick and choose who I follow (whether they’re on Twitter, Instagram,, or their own site) and then read them all there. Then I’m using my own website to collect, write, respond, and interact. It’s taken me a while to reframe how I use the social layers of the internet, but ultimately I find it much more healthy and rewarding.

Podcast discovery, Huffduffer, and listen feeds

As I was reading through some of the subscriptions in Aaron Davis’ well-curated blogroll which I’m subscribed to via OPML Subscription in Inoreader, I was reminded that I should be following my own Huffduffer Collective. This is a feed of audio that comes from all of the accounts I’m following on Jeremy Keith’s awesome Huffduffer audio service. For those looking for a great method for discovering new and interesting audio content and podcasts, this is by far the best discovery service I know.

While finding content which others have bookmarked is an excellent discovery mechanism, I think that finding it by means of things they’ve actually listened to would be even more powerful. By saying you’ve listened to something, it means you’ve put some skin in the game and spent some of your own valuable time actually consuming the content and then separately posting about it. I wonder how Huffduffer might incorporate this sort of “listen” functionality in addition to their bookmarking functionality? I can’t help but thinking that more audio applications should have Micropub functionality for posting listens.

Here I’ll remind people that my website provides just such a feed of my own listens, so if you want to hear exactly what I’ve been listening to, you can have your own feed of it, which I call my faux-cast and you should be able to subscribe to it in most podcatchers. I do roughly the same thing for all the things I read online and off as well. I may bookmark something as interesting, but you know it was even more valuable to me when I’ve spent the time to actually listen to or read it from start to finish.

Do you have a listen feed I could subscribe to?  Perhaps a Huffduffer account I should follow? How do you discover audio content online? How could this be used in the education technology space?