👓 The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. | Wil Wheaton

Read The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. by Wil Wheaton (WIL WHEATON dot NET)
As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network tha…

As I read article this I find myself wondering why Wil Wheaton was looking for a new social media platform? Hasn’t he realized yet that he’s already got one–his very own website?!!

While Wil maintains it more like an old school blog with longer thought pieces and stories, there’s certainly no reason he couldn’t use it to post shorter thoughts, status updates, or notes as he might do on Twitter or Mastodon. It’s also an “instance” which no one is going to kick him off of. He has ultimate control. If people moan and complain, he can moderate their complaints as he sees fit.

This particular post has 410 comments, most of which seem relatively civil and run a paragraph or two–at least enough to convey a complete and coherent thought or two. At some point he decided to cap the commentary for mental health or any other reason he may have, which is certainly his right as well as the right of anyone on their own website. Sadly most social services don’t provide this functionality.

I also notice that instead of trying to rebuild a following on someone else’s platform, he’s already got the benefit of a network of 3,689,638 email subscribers not to mention the thousands more who visit his site regularly or subscribe via RSS. I suspect that those subscribers, who have taken more time and effort to subscribe to his website than they did on any other platform, are likely a much better audience and are far more engaged.

So my short memo to Wil: Quit searching for an alternate when you’ve already got one that obviously seems like a much healthier and happier space.

If you feel like you’re missing some of the other small niceties of other social networks, I’ll happily and freely help you: set up some Micropub apps to make posting to your site easier; add Webmention support so others would need to post to their own websites to @mention you across the web from their service of choice; add a social media-esque Follow buttton; set up Microsub service so you can read what you choose on the web and like/favorite, reply to, bookmark, etc. to your site and send the commentary back to them. Of course anyone can do this on their own with some details and help from the IndieWeb.org community if they wish…

 

👓 How I send webmentions to Micro.blog | Eddie Hinkle

Read How I send webmentions to Micro.blog by Eddie HinkleEddie Hinkle (eddiehinkle.com)
If you use Micro.blog completely from the native apps, everything works smoothly. If you communicate via the IndieWeb through webmentions, everything (mostly) works smoothly. But there is a big hiccup that is still being worked out when you communicate via Webmentions to Micro.blog. The current functionality is described here, however it's not exhaustive and it doesn't work 100% of the time. Some of the issues are documented on this GitHub issue, and eventually we'll work out the best practice use case. So what if you don't care about best practices and just want to communicate with Micro.blog through Webmentions? I have a working solution on my own website. Typically in a Webmention you have a source (your post) and a target (the post you are replying to) and the Webmention endpoint used is retrieved from the target. However because with Micro.blog sometimes the target post is on Wordpress or an externally hosted blog instead of Micro.blog. This causes an issue, because if you are wanting the Webmention to be received by Micro.blog but the target post does not advertise the Micro.blog Webmention endpoint, your post will never make it in to the Micro.blog system for an externally hosted post that you are replying to. What I do is I essentially do a "cc/carbon copy" Webmention. First I do the standard Webmention sending procedure, and then I check if the target Webmention endpoint was Micro.blog's endpoint (https://micro.blog/webmention), if it is not then I know Micro.blog did not receive the post and I send an additional Webmention. The CC Webmention contains the source as my post, the target as the post I'm replying to, and it gets sent to the Micro.blog Webmention endpoint. Micro.blog does a couple of things upon receiving the Webmention. First, it checks to see if the source post is coming from a URL that belongs to a verified Micro.blog user. Second, it checks if the target post exists already in the Micro.blog system. If both of those checks go through, then it will add the new post and link it up to the correct Micro.blog user as a reply to the correct Micro.blog post. This is not necessarily an easy thing to add in most Webmention systems and is not the intended final destination of cross-site replies. But if you want it to work today, this useful hack will get it working for you.

A useful layout of the technicalities, particularly for those running their own sites and syndicating into the micro.blog network.

Reply to Facepile for webmention does not link to source

Replied to Facepile for webmention does not link to source · Issue #208 · pfefferle/wordpress-semantic-linkbacks (GitHub)
For testing purposes I created a new post that links to another of my own posts. This creates a new comment, through webmention I guess. When I approve it, it only shows the / my icon in a facepile...

Here’s a good example: http://v.hierofalco.net/2018/08/23/weird-indieweb-idea-of-the-day-guestbooks/
There’s a mention from https://ramblinggit.com/ in the comments, but it’s incredibly difficult to find that mention or what it contains, because there isn’t a linked URL on the avatar that goes to ramblinggit.com’s (Brad Enslen’s) content. In this particular case, it’s probably the most important piece of content on the page because the post itself is about a theoretical idea or “blue sky”, while the mention itself actually puts the theoretical idea into actual use and provides a great example. Sadly as it stands this value is completely hidden because of the UI. In some sense hiding the mention is also potentially contributing to unnecessary context collapse within hierofalco’s post’s comments and lessens the value of the mention itself.

While I appreciate the UX/UI desire to limit the amount of data displayed in one’s comment section since it is rarely, if ever, used, there’s a lot of value in the bi-directionality of webmentions and how they’re displayed. I’ve suggested before that newspapers, magazines and journalism sites (not to mention academics, researchers, and government sites) might benefit from the verifiable/audit-able links from their material to the reads, likes, favorites, and even listens (in the case of podcasts). If the comments sections simply have an avatar and a homepage link to the original, some of this (admittedly) marginal value is then lost. What about when Webmention is more common? Sites could simply display avatars and homepage links without actually linking to the original location of the webmention. They might do this to imply an endorsement(s) when none exists and the viewer is left with the difficult task of attempting manual verification.

I do love the fact that one can facepile these reactions, but why not simply have the facepile of avatars with URLs that direct to the original reaction? To me these should ideally have a title attribute that is the sending account’s name wrapped with the URL of the original webmention URL itself. While these are seemingly “throwaways” for likes/favorites, I often personally post “reads” and “listens” that also have notes or commentary that I use for my own purpose and thus don’t send them as explicit replies. If the facepiles for reads & listens are avatars that link back to the original then the site’s admin as well as others can choose (or not) to click through to the original. Perhaps the site administrator prefers to display those as replies, then they have the option in the interface to change the semantic linkback type from the simple response to a more “featured” response. (I’ve documented an example of this before.)

The issue becomes even more apparent in the case of “mentions” which are currently simply avatars with a homepage. There’s a much higher likelihood that there’s some valuable content (compared to a like certainly) behind this mention (though it still isn’t a specific reply). Readers of comment sections are much more likely to be interested in them and the potential conversation hiding behind them. As things stand currently, it’s a difficult and very manual thing to attempt to track down. In these cases, one should ideally be able to individually toggle facepile/not facepile for each mention depending on the content. If shown as a comment, then, yes, having the ability to show the whole thing, or an excerpted version, could be useful/desirable. If the mention is facepiled, it should be done as the others with an avatar and a wrapped URL to the mentioning content and an appropriate title (either the Identity/name of the sending site, the article title, or both if available).

For facepiled posts (and especially mentions) I’d much rather see something along the lines of:
<a title="Brad Enslen" href="https://ramblinggit.com/2018/08/new-guestbook/"><img src="https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0ce8b2c406e423f114e39fd4d128c31d?s=100&amp;r=pg&amp;d=mm" width="100" height="100"/></a>
(with the appropriate microformats markup, of course.)

As an example, what happens in the future when a New York Times article has webmentions that get hundreds or thousands of webmentions? Having everything be facepiled would be incredibly useful for quick display, but being able to individually go follow the conversations in situ would be wildly valuable as well. The newspaper could also then choose to show/hide specific replies or mentions in a much more moderated fashion to better encourage civil discourse. In the case where a bad actor/publisher attempts to “game” the system by simply showing thousands of likes/favorites/reads, what is to prevent them from cheating by showing as many as they like as “social proof” of their popularity when the only backtrack record is an avatar and a homepage without the actual verification of a thing on a site if someone chooses to audit the trail?

Perhaps even a step further in interesting UI for these semi-hidden mentions would be to do a full page preview (or hovercards) in a similar method for how WordPress handles hovercards for Gravatars or they way the hover functionality works for links at /wp-admin/edit-comments.php?

Going even farther from a reader’s perspective, I could also see a case that while the site admin wants to slim down on the UI of all the different types of interactions for easy readability, perhaps the reader of a comments section might want to see all the raw mentions and details for each one and scroll through them? Perhaps it would be nice to add that option in the future? As things stand if a site facepiles even dozens of mentions, it’s incredibly painful and undesirable to track their associated commentary down. What if there was UI for the reader to unpack all these (especially per reaction category as it’s more likely one would want to do it for mentions, but not likes)?

👓 How social media makes fascists of us all | UnHerd

Read How social media makes fascists of us all (UnHerd)
About twenty years ago the novelist Umberto Eco, noting like George Orwell how loose the word fascism had become, wrote that the ideology is like a virus that changes to reflect the contours of the society in which it exists. Mussolini’s version was quite different from Franco’s, for example. But wherever it went, claimed Eco, …

👓 Facebook is deleting timeline posts that users cross-published from Twitter | The Verge

Read Twitter posts on Facebook temporarily disappeared by Nick Statt (The Verge)
Oops

👓 My first experience with IndieWeb | Christopher Tomilson

Liked My first experience with IndieWeb by Christopher TomlinsonChristopher Tomlinson (christophertomlinson.com)
Wanted to write down something like “Hello World”. Does it count for IndieWeb? Anyway, this is the first post i’m sharing using this technology. Hope everything goes well. Also on:

👓 It’s time to say goodbye to Twitter | sonniesedge

Replied to It's time to say goodbye to Twitter by sonniesedgesonniesedge (sonniesedge.co.uk)

When I first got on Twitter it was like usenet in the 90s. Just a bunch of people talking shit about things that they enjoyed. It was small enough that everyone seemed to know each other, but large enough that there were still interesting nerdy people to find and get to know and enjoy the company of. The perfect little club.

But at some point it went horribly wrong.

I hope that as you wean yourself away from Twitter that you regain the ability to do longer posts–I quite like your writing style. This is certainly as well-put a statement about why one should leave Twitter as one could imagine.

I remember those old days and miss the feel it used to have as well. The regrowing blogosphere around the IndieWeb and Micro.blog are the closest thing I’ve seen to that original feel since ADN or smaller networks like 10 Centuries and pnut. I enjoy finding that as I wean myself away from Twitter, I do quite like going back to some of the peace and tranquility of reading and thinking my way through longer posts (and replies as well). Sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t take more than ten minutes of thought and work, it’s probably not worth putting on the internet at all, and even then it’s probably questionable… I’m half tempted to register the domain squirrels.social and spin up a Mastodon instance–fortunately it would take less than the ten minute time limit and there are enough animal related social silos out there already.

As an aside, I love the way you’ve laid out your webmentions–quite beautiful!

👓 Custom Domains service deprecation | Medium

Read Custom Domains service deprecation (Medium Support)
Medium is no longer offering new custom domains as a feature. Instead, you can create a publication on Medium that will live on a medium.com/publication-name URL. Existing publications on custom do...

The amount of work required to support this feature should be exceedingly low. It’s probably a good indication that Medium won’t be around within a year or so.

This definitely signals the fact that Medium has moved toward the more silo end of the spectrum from a data ownership standpoint. While I might have recommended it with reservations as a potential IndieWeb solution, this change means I can’t recommend it at all.

Reply to Florian Weil on annotations and webmention

Replied to Florian Weil on Twitter (Twitter)
“@memotv Isn't the annotations standard by w3c for this kind of needs? https://www.w3.org/TR/annotation-model/ this article summarised the key points very good https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2018/08/28/all-about-open-annotation/ for some more functional link back, I can highly recommend to check the indieweb webmentions”

Reminds me that I need to circle back to this discussion:

👓 An open letter | Social.Coop

Read An open letter by Michele Kipiel (loomio.org)
Dear fellow members, the events that unfolded over the past few days have put our cooperative to the test, and we failed miserably. Many voices calling for change were silenced in the past, be it by negligence or by sheer lack of commitment by those, whose position of privilege allowed to disregard such calls. By failing to listen, we became the people MLK warned us about: the white moderates who are more devoted to order than to justice. We wasted precious time and energy in endless debates about trivial details, calling for the creation of ever new committees and processes, and we eventually lost sight of the only true reason our cooperative came to existence: to wrestle control of our social media out of the hands of the rich, white, capitalist elite.

Nice to hear that this Mastodon instance seems to be doing the right thing, but the idea of temporarily shutting down an instance makes me glad I didn’t join and that I have my own personal website instead. It’s nice not to be beholden to outsiders in cases like this or other corporate interests.

Reply to Now even more IndieWebified | Paul Jacobson

Replied to Now even more IndieWebified by Paul JacobsonPaul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
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 variet…

I’m glad the video helped out.

I’ve been a big fan of the Post Kinds Plugin as well. Honestly I wished that WordPress had gone the extra mile and adopted something more like it when it was working on the Post Formats concept a few years back. I’ve written a bit about the Post Kinds Plugin in the past and perhaps you’ll appreciate some of those pieces, particularly the bookmarklet portions for desktop and details about mobile posting.

Because Post Kinds and Post Formats are not one-to-one or onto functions, doing the mapping  in both directions is difficult, but when posting using a Post Kinds first method, you should be able to set the Post Formats you prefer. There are some useful defaults within the plugin, but they can be manually changed in the code available in the class-kind-taxonomy file in a relatively obvious way. In my case, while the mapping of “notes” to “asides” is a useful one, I prefer them to map to “status” for my current theme, so I just manually change that one word in the code to reflect my particular preference.

There’s a lot hiding under the hood if you want to tinker in the code. If you have issues or feature requests, I know that the developer David Shanske is very receptive to feedback towards improving the set up. (And similarly for almost all of the IndieWeb-related plugins which can be found on GitHub.)

👓 My Feedly wishlist | Paul Jacobson

Replied to My Feedly wishlist by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
Richard MacManus wrote about the state of feed readers as he saw it in his AltPlatform.org post titled “The state of feed readers”. He mentioned a couple things in his Feedly wishlist that prompted me to think more about what I’d like to see added to Feedly.

Feedly and custom sharing

Apparently there were a bunch of us thinking and writing about feed readers and the open web a year ago last June. Several week’s prior to Richard’s article, I’d written a piece for Richard’s now defunct AltPlatform entitled Feed reader revolution (now archived on my site), which laid out some pieces similar to Paul’s take here, though it tied in some more of what was then the state of the art in IndieWeb tech.

Around that time I began tinkering with other feed readers including Inoreader, which I’ve been using for it’s ability to auto-update my RSS feeds using OPML subscriptions from the OPML files I maintain on my own website. Currently I’m more interested in what the Microsub specification is starting to surface in the feed reader space.

I’m not sure if he’s played around with it since, but, like Paul, I was using some of the Press This bookmarklet functionality in conjunction with David Shanske’s Post Kinds plugin for WordPress to make posting snippets of things to my website easier.

Feedly has a Pro (aka paid) functionality to allow one to share content using custom URLs.

Screenshot of the custom share functionality set up from within Feedly.com.

While one can use the Share to WordPress URL functionality, I’d recommend the Custom Sharing feature.  Using the Post Kinds plugin, one can use the following example URL to quickly share things from their Feedly account to their personal website:

https://example.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?kindurl=URL&kind=bookmark

One should change the URL to reflect their own site, and one can also change the word “bookmark” to the appropriate desired kind including “like”, “favorite”, “read”, or any of the others they may have enabled within the Post Kinds plugin.

I personally don’t use this method as it only allows one custom sharing URL (and thus allows only one post kind), and instead (again) prefer Inoreader which allows one to configure custom sharing similarly to Feedly, but doesn’t limit the number of kinds and the feature is available in their free tier as well.

In addition to some of what I’ve written about the Post Kinds plugin before, I’ve also detailed how to dovetail it with sharing from my Android phone quickly in the past.

Highlights and Annotations

Also like Paul, I was greatly interested in quickly creating highlights and annotations on web content and posting them to my own website. Here I’m using a modified version of the Post Kinds plugin to accomplish this having created highlight posts and annotation posts for my site. Next I’m utilizing the ability to prepend http://via.hypothes.is to URLs on my mobile phone to call up the ability to use my Hypothesis account to easily and quickly create highlights and annotations. I then use some details from the outline linked below to capture that data via RSS using IFTTT.com.

Naturally, the process could be streamlined a lot from a UI perspective, but I think it provides some fairly nice results without a huge amount of work.

An Outline for Using Hypothesis for Owning your Annotations and Highlights

I will mention that I’ve seen bugs in trying to annotate easily on Chrome’s mobile application, but haven’t had any issues in using Firefox’s mobile browser.

👓 The Narrow Passage of Gortahig | Dan Cohen

Read The Narrow Passage of Gortahig by Dan Cohen (Dan Cohen)

You don’t see it until you’re right there, and even then, you remain confused. Did you miss a turn in the road, or misread the map? You are now driving through someone’s yard, or maybe even their house. You slow to a stop.

On rural road R575, also known as the Ring of Beara and more recently rebranded as part of the Wild Atlantic Way, you are making your way along the northern coast of the Beara Peninsula in far southwestern Ireland. You are in the hamlet of Gortahig, between Eyeries, a multicolored strip of connected houses on the bay, and Allihies, where the copper mines once flourished. The road, like the landscape, is raw, and it is disconcertingly narrow, often too narrow for two cars to pass one another.

An interesting example of how small local decisions can have complex and interesting ramifications in the future.

Educators:

Interested in making the internet and your preexisting website your personal/professional social media platform? Here are some of my favorite examples:
Greg McVerry, W. Ian O’Byrne, Kimberly Hirsch, Kathleen Fitzgerald, John Johnston, Aaron Davis, Cathie LeBlanc, and Dan Cohen

Take a look at IndieWeb for Education for more examples and details.

Ask us about the value of adding technologies like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and others to your personal or professional website to interact with others directly from a domain of your own on the web.

Featured image courtesy of laurapomeroy via Pixabay under CC0 license.

👓 Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media | The Guardian

Read Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media by Sirin Kale (the Guardian)
Generation Z has grown up online – so why are a surprising number suddenly turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?