Reply to @Vasta about podcasts

a post by Sameer Vasta (vasta.micro.blog)
Just unsubscribed from all 324 podcasts I was trying to keep on top of every day; starting with a clean sheet, again. If you have one or two podcasts you think are must listen, please do let me know. (Looking for endorsements, more than just recommendations.) Thanks!

@vasta I think that the 14 part Seeing White series(Scene on Radio) was stunning storytelling, introspection, and history. My other must listen is the fantastic Eat This Podcast by @jeremycherfas which is about science and culture via the lens of food.

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Reply to Jon Mitchell on reading bots

Are you familiar with Reading.am by Jon Mitchell (Everything is ablaze!)
@brentsimmons Are you familiar with Reading.am and/or the many homespun varieties of feeds people use to share what they′re reading online with minimal friction? For me this solved the problem of wanting RSS to have a social component, but it needs no centralized back end. People build a reading bot however they want, and they fire it off when they want to tell the internet “I am reading this.” For example, I trigger mine by using Pinboard just the way I normally would, and its RSS feeds feed the bot.For me this solved the problem of wanting RSS to have a social component, but it needs no centralized back end. People build a reading ...

I like the general idea behind what you’re talking about here Jon, though I may be missing part of the conversation as I came across it via a GitHub issue and it’s taken some time to find even a portion of the conversation on micro.blog, though I suspect I’m missing what I’m sure might be a fragmented conversation.

I too love the idea of indicating what I’ve been reading online. The problem I see is that very few platforms, social or otherwise are focusing on what people are actually reading. Reading.am is the only one I’m aware of. Pocket and Instapaper let people bookmark things they want to read, but typically don’t present feeds of things after they’ve been checked off as having been read.

Most others are systems meant for a specific purpose that are being bent to various other purposes and it’s rarely ever explicit so that everyone knows their intention. As an example, I know people who star, like, favorite or do something else on various platforms to indicate what they’re reading. Some also use these to indicate bookmarks. As a personal example, on Twitter, I sometimes “star” a tweet to indicate I “like” it or it’s a “favorite” while most other times I’m really using the functionality to quickly bookmark an article and use an IFTTT.com recipe to automatically add the URLs of these starred posts to my Pocket account for later reading.

The overarching issue with these is that the general concept is painfully spread out and the meaning isn’t always concrete or explicit. Wouldn’t it be better if it were vastly more specific? In an attempt to do just this, I use my own website, in linkblog-like fashion, to indicate what I’m physically reading. It has an RSS feed that others could subscribe to if they wish to read it elsewhere. I also “syndicate” copies to places like Reading.am or occasionally to Twitter, Facebook, etc. for those who prefer to follow in those locations. Incidentally on Twitter, mine often look a lot like your Twitter feed with visual icons to indicate specific intents.

For something like Evergreen, or any reader really, I’d much prefer if there was UI and functionality to allow me to directly interact with the content I’m reading and post that interaction to my own website (and own it) in a relatively frictionless way. This would be far better than using things like stars to do something that others may not grasp.

In the reading case, it would be cool if I could physically mark something explicitly as “read” in Evergreen, and the reader would post to my website that I’ve actually read the thing. While there are many ways to do this (including RSS), perhaps one of the most interesting currently is the open web standard called Micropub. So my WordPress site has a micropub endpoint (via a plugin) and apps that support it could post to my site on my behalf. If the reader could post to my site via micropub, I could use it to collect and create a feed of everything I’m reading. Similarly readers could also do similar things to explicitly indicate that I mean to bookmark something, or I could use the reader to compose a reply directly in the reader and post that reply to my website (which incidentally could send webmentions to the original website to publish those replies as comments on their site.)

As an example we’re all familiar with, micro.blog has micropub support, so I can use micro.blog’s app to post and micro.blog uses micropub to send the post to my own website.

With the proper micropub support, a reader could allow me to post explicit bookmarks, likes, favorites, replies, reads, etc. to my own website. All of these could then have individual feeds from my site back out. Thus people could subscribe to any (or all) of them as they choose. Want to know what I’m reading? Easy. Want to know what I’m bookmarking or liking? Which events I’ve RSVP’d to? Shazam!

My homepage has a full list of post types I’m currently supporting, and each one of them can be subscribed to individually by adding /feed/ onto the end of the URL.

In summary, let’s try not to impute too much meaning onto a simple star’s functionality when we can be imminently more specific about it. Of course, for completeness, for most readers, we’d also need to change the meaning of the traditional “mark as read” which in reality means, “mark as done” or “don’t show me this anymore”.

For more detail on how this could work in an advanced reader-based world I’ve written a more explicit set of details here: Feed Reader Revolution

And to quote Brent back:

…it’s okay if this is a work in progress and isn’t ready for everybody yet. It’s okay if it takes time. We don’t know how it will all work in the end.

We’re discovering the future as we build it.

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A better way to subscribe to or follow sites on the open web

Just as I was getting sick last week, Colin Walker wrote “There has to be a better way to subscribe to sites.” He’s definitely hit the nail right on the head. The process is currently painful and disorganized, it’s also working on technology that’s almost two decades old and difficult for newcomers at best.

I’ve always posited that one of the reasons that social media silos have been so successful is that they’ve built some fantastic readers. Sure their UI is cleaner and just dead simple, but to a great extent 95% of their product is an evolved feed reader while the other 5% is a simple posting interface that makes it easy to interact. To compare, most CMSes are almost completely about posting interface, and spend very little time, if any, worrying about providing a reading experience.

The IndieWeb has been making some serious strides on making cross-site interactions easier with the Webmention and Micropub protocols, but the holy grail is still out there: allowing people to have an integrated feed reader built into their website (or alternately a standalone feed reader that’s tightly integrated with their site via Micropub or other means).

For those watching the space with as much interest as I have, there are a couple of interesting tools in the space and a few on the immediate horizon that are sure to make the process a whole lot easier and create a new renaissance in the open web.

SubToMe: a Universal Subscribe Button

First, for a relatively simple one-size-fits-all subscribe button, I recommend people take a look at SubToMe which touts itself as a “Universal Follow button” because it  “makes it easy for people to follow web sites,because browsers don’t do it.” The button is fairly straightforward and has an awful lot of flexibility built in. In the simplest sense it has some solid feed detection so it finds available feeds on a web page and then provides a handful of recommended major readers to the user. With two clicks, one can pretty quickly and almost immediately subscribe to almost any feed in their reader of choice. 

For publishers, one can quickly install a simple button on their site. They can further provide a list of specific feeds they want to advertise, and they can even recommend a particular feed reader if they choose.

For consumers, the service provides a simple browser bookmarklet so that if a site doesn’t have a button, they can click a subscribe button in their browser. Then click on a provider. Done. One can also choose a preferred provider to shorten the process.

Almost all the major feed readers are supported out of the box and the process of adding new ones is relatively simple.

Microsub

Since last June there’s been a quietly growing new web spec called Microsub  that will assuredly shake up the subscription and reader spaces. In short it provides a standardized way for clients to consume and interact with feeds collected by a server.

While it gets pretty deep pretty quickly, the spec is meant to help decouple some of the heavy architecture of building a feed reader. In some way it’s analogous to the separation of content and display that HTML and CSS allows, but applied to the mechanics of feed readers and how readers display their content.

There are already a few interesting projects by the names of Together and Indigenous that are taking advantage of the architecture

I can’t wait to see how it all dovetails together to make a more integrated reading and posting interface as well as the potential it has for individual CMSs to potentially leverage the idea to include integrated interfaces into their products. I can’t wait for the day when my own personal website is compatible with Microsub, so that I can use any Microsub client to read my timeline and follow people.

I’m also sure that decoupling the idea of displaying posts from actually fetching remote feeds will make it easier to build a reader clients in general. I hope this has a Cambrian explosion-type of effect on the state of the art of feed readers.

I’d recommend those interested in a high level discussion to have a listen to the following thee short episodes of Aaron Parecki’s Percolator microcast.

Episode 3: Following

Episode 10: Microsub for Readers

Episode 17: It’s 2018!

Featured photo credit: Flock of sheep flickr photo by Jo@net shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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Reply to “To PESOS or to POSSE?” by Dries Buytaert

To PESOS or to POSSE? by Dries BuytaertDries Buytaert (dri.es)
Comparing two different approaches that help you take control back over your own data on the web. [...] The goal of this analysis was to understand the pros and cons of how I can own my own content on https://dri.es. While PESOS would be much easier to implement, I decided to go with POSSE. My next step is to figure out my "POSSE plan"; how to quickly and easily share status updates on my Drupal site, how to syndicate them to 3rd party services, how to re-organize my mailing list and my RSS feed, and more. If you have any experience with implementing POSSE, feel free to share your takeaways in the comments.

What a fantastic breakdown of the concepts of POSSE vs. PESOS, though to be sure there are also additional variations for syndicating, cross-posting, or moving content around to reach various audiences.

One thing that I think you’ve only briefly touched upon is the ability to also have likes, replies/comments, etc. also come back to your site as native content via webmentions. I’ve been able to get rid of five apps and their incessant notifications and trim it all back to just using my own site to handle everything instead. Using something I choose to use instead of something I’m forced to, while also owning my data, is really very liberating.

Like you, I too have always wanted to own my own content on the web, and there are some easier and some harder methods. Not being as strong a developer as many, I’ve taken a more hybrid approach to things which is still evolving. To some extent I began at the easy end with some PESOS based workflows and relying on simple tools like IFTTT.com to at least begin owning all my content. For many content management systems, this is nearly dead easy, and could even be done with something as simple and flexible as Tumblr without much, if any, coding experience.

Over time, as I’ve been able, I’ve  moved to a more direct POSSE method as either I or, more often, others have managed to master making the simple posting interfaces easier and easier. I think in the end, POSSE is the strongest of the methods, so that has always been my ultimate goal.

From a Drupal-centric approach, you might be able to gain an interesting perspective on the multitude of ways POSSE/PESOS can be done by looking at the various ways that are available in WordPress ecosystem. It’s probably easy to discern that some are far easier than others based on one’s facility with coding. In general, I’ve noticed that the more freedom and flexibility a particular method or plugin has, the longer it takes to code and/or configure. The less flexibility a plugin offers, the easier. (So one could compare something like SNAP at the more comprehensive/difficult end to something simpler like JetPack for POSSE.) The difficulty is in the administrative tax of keeping up with the panoply of social media platform APIs to keep things working smoothly over time, particularly when you want your posts to be able to leverage the broad arrays of posting options and display outputs platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer. The other difficult questions can sometimes be: am I just replacing one or two social platforms, or am I trying to replace 20? and am I doing them with one plugin or with 20? and finally, how DRY is that process? Sometimes manually cutting and pasting is just as good.

As you do, I write first and foremost for myself and then a distant second for reaction and conversation with others. Thus I think of my personal site as just that: personal. To some extent it’s a modern day version of a commonplace book where I collect a variety of thoughts in a variety of means, while still trying somewhat to keep it in an outer facing form to look what people might expect a site to look like. This means that I have a good number more than the traditional types of posts most social media sites have. I try to own all my own bookmarks and even post what I’m reading both online and in physical form. I keep highlights and annotations of things I find interesting. I naturally keep longer posts, status updates, and photos like many. I even log scrobbles of music and podcasts I listen to as well as film and television I watch. Interestingly there’s a tremendous amount I only publish privately to myself or a small circle of others that’s hidden on my site’s back end. Depending on how far and deep you want your experience to go you might want to consider how all these will look or be represented on your site. To  a great extent, I think that WordPress’s attempt to copy Tumblr (text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video) with their Post Formats was interesting, it just didn’t go far enough. Naturally, this may take a different form for you depending on whether you’re building just for yourself or if you’re planning something more modular for the larger Drupal community to leverage.

Screencapture of my homepage with a list of the various post types my site supports including: articles, notes, bookmarks, jams, checkins, watches, RSVPs, etc.
A few of the post types my website supports.

The best part of all this is that I’ve not done any of it alone. While I try to maintain a list of some of my experiments to help others (you’ll probably appreciate the ones on mobile posting and RSS based on your outline), there’s also a wealth of other examples on the IndieWeb wiki and a terrifically stellar group of people around almost 24-7 in the IndieWeb chat to help spur me along. I’ll echo Tantek’s welcome to what I think is a more thoughtful and vibrant open web.

I hope others also find these resources so they’re not fumbling around in the dark as I was for so long. Since you’re obviously building in Drupal, I can recommend you take a look at some of the examples provided by the WordPress and the Known communities which Ben referenced. Since they’re all .php based and open-source, you may get further faster in addition to being able to iterate upon and improve their work. Many of the developers are frequently in the IndieWeb chat and I’m sure would be happy to help with ideas and pitfalls they came across along the way.

Like others, I’m posting my reply first on my own website, and manually cross-posting it to yours (manually until you support Webmention–perhaps via the Vinculum plugin?) as well as automatically to Twitter and others.

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Reply to Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog | Baremetrics

Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog by Josh Pigford (Baremetrics)
Where to publish something has becoming a difficult decision for a lot of businesses. You read so many stories about using various channels to distribute content and grow traffic, it’s hard to know what does and doesn’t work. Medium, in particular, has become a major player in the world of startup content, but is it really that great? [...] The numbers just didn’t make sense. Yes, I could put more into Medium and try to build up readership even more. The guys at Basecamp regularly get 250k+ views on their content. But doing that helps Medium the most in the long run. They’ve been fumbling left and right trying to figure out how to make Medium sustainable, and I’m just not convinced they’ll always do what’s best for us and our business. Switching back Now I didn’t want to throw out distribution on Medium entirely. There can definitely be some benefit to syndicating content there. It’s essentially another distribution channel to expose people to our content. So we needed a game plan on how we could still make use of Medium as a distribution channel without cannibalizing our own readership or SEO work.

This is 100% on the mark, you should definitely own your own content. Syndicating it out to Medium is a great idea, particularly when you can get a rel=”canonical” tag for the original on Medium. Incidentally Medium has their own WordPress plugin that will allow you to quickly and easily syndicate your site’s content directly to Medium without needing to separately import it. It’s also available on a per post basis.

But, even with this, you’re only getting 50% of the value of having your own website because you’ve only got one way communication out. Next you’ll need communication back in. What if I said you could get a lot of the comments, likes, and interactions from those other silos back into your website too? This way the conversations others are having relating to your content also come back to your site and enrich it there? What if you could own all (or almost all) of the conversation around your content?

Think about it, what if there was an @mention functionality that worked from website to website instead of being stuck inside Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr etc.? Interestingly, it exists! And you can set it up for free with last year’s new W3C Webmention protocol which already has WordPress plugins ready to go. Roughly for WordPress you’ll need the Webmentions plugin, the Semantic Linkbacks plugin, the Syndication Links plugin, a few strategically placed rel=”me” tags on your site, (maybe some tweaks to your microformats on your theme), and a free Brid.gy account. Details for setting it up can be found on the WordPress pages of the indieweb.org website. I suspect if you’re strong enough to have figured out the tech for your article, you could probably have it up and running in under an hour or so. Then instead of feeding content from your blog to the black hole of social media, you could have actual two-way communication with many social silos! Now you won’t need to pay as much attention to those other sites as you can use your WordPress site as an “app” to interact with them instead.

I’m happy to help walk you through it if you’re interested and need help. My own personal site has some documentation of some of the above as well as examples of how it works.

In some sense, hopefully this post on my site will be an interesting exemplar. I own it and “loaned” or syndicated copies to Disqus and Twitter. Comments, likes and reposts you make to the Twitter copy will automatically be ported back here after the fact using Brid.gy. (Sadly, Disqus isn’t supported–yet.)

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Reply to 2018: Some Hope by Brent Simmons

inessential on Twitter (Twitter)
2018: Some Hope: http://inessential.com/2018/01/03/2018_some_hope

Brent, I think you’ve hit the nail directly on the head. I’m glad someone working on a feed reader has these ideals. It may be a bit pedantic for you, but since you mention it in the close, here’s a reasonable primer which may help: http://boffosocko.com/2017/07/28/an-introduction-to-the-indieweb/

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Reply to What Was Known by Jim Groom

What Was Known by Jim Groom (bavatuesdays)
...the issue for me was Known was contextless for social media. I often post across various sites in response to things and share my photos as part of a conversation, so doing it through Known seemed a bit like working in a vacuum. I use Twitter less and less for discussion, so I wonder if I would feel different about this now, but what I wanted from Known was a way to also view and respond to Tweets, Facebooks statuses, photos on Flickr, Instagram, etc. A kind of reader for my content that would collapse those various conversations for me, and I could respond through my Known as if I was within those apps. I increasingly thought Known would make an awesome read//write feed reader if it had such a feature. The main reason Known fell by the wayside for me was I was not using it to publish in all these spaces, rather doing it post-facto if at all. Does that make sense?

Interestingly, Known had a lot of these features hidden in code under the hood. Sadly they weren’t all built out. It in fact, did have much of a reader (something which Ben indicated they were going to take out of the v1.0 release to slim down the code since it wasn’t being used). It also had a follow/following block of code (and even a bookmarklet at /account/settings/following) so you could follow specific sites and easily add them to your reader. Also unbeknownst to most was a built-in notifications UI which could have been found at /account/notifications.

It’s a shame that they put many of these half-built features on hold in their pivot to focus on the education market and creating a viable cash flow based company as this is the half that most CMSs lack. (If you think about what makes Twitter and Facebook both popular and really simple, I think it is that they’re 95% excellent feed readers with 5% built-in posting interfaces.)

I’ve managed to replace some of that missing functionality with Woodwind, a reader at http://woodwind.xyz, which one could connect with Known to do the reading and then integrate the posting, commenting, and replies to complete the loop. I do have a few very serious developer friends who are endeavoring to make this specific feed reader portion of the equation much easier to implement (and even self-host) to make the hurdle of this problem far lower, but I suspect it’ll be another 3-6 months before a usable product comes out of the process. For those looking to get more social into their feed readers, I often recommend Ryan Barrett’s appspot tools including https://twitter-atom.appspot.com/ which has instructions for extracting content from Twitter via Atom/RSS. It includes links at the bottom of the page for doing similar things with Facebook, Instagram and Google+ as well.

Interestingly there are now enough moving pieces (plugins) in the WordPress community to recreate all of the functionality Known has, one just needs to install them all separately and there are even a few different options for various portions depending on one’s needs. This includes adding reply contexts for social media as well as  both the ability to syndicate posts to multiple social sites for interaction as well as getting the comments, etc. backfeed from those social sites back into the comments section of your post the way Known did. Sadly, the feed reader problem still exists, but it may soon be greatly improved.

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Books on Micro.blog by Manton Reece

Books on Micro.blog by Manton Reece (manton.org)
Today we’re introducing a search collection using emoji, starting with books. Just include the books emoji with your microblog text about a book you’re reading or related topic, and your post will automatically be collected on /discover/books.

@Manton has added an interesting new feature to micro.blog. He’s created a special book discovery page which users can use to see what others are reading or recommending.

Simply by including the books emoji 📚 in one’s post, the page will collect all those posts and display them at http://micro.blog/discover/books. In a sense, he’s using an emoji almost like a hashtag, though the mechanics of how things work are slightly different. I’m curious to see how it evolves.

Based on what I’m able to discern, I have the proud place of ownership for being the fourth book post to micro.blog with “The Library is finally unpacked” from several months ago. It isn’t a book recommendation, but it’ll give you and idea about what I think about books.

The sad part for me though is that he chose the books emoji 📚 . Why sad? Because for quite a while now I’ve been posting updates on my own site about what I read using various book-related emoji to indicate where I’m at with a book. I’ll use the bookmark emoji 🔖 to indicate things that I want to read. I use a green book emoji 📗 to indicate that I’ve started reading something, an open book emoji 📖 to indicate that I’m making progress, and a red book emoji 📕 to indicate that I’ve just finished or stopped reading a particular book. Most of my book status updates also have some notes or thoughts about what I’m reading as well as quotes, highlights, and other marginalia.

Since micro.blog’s discover page only uses one emoji, it’s missing out on all my past updates. For those who’d like to see them on my site, this link should have the entire archive. Not all of them are syndicated to Twitter, but this link will give folks an idea what these posts all look like there.

In a similar vein, I also often post what I’m reading online with glasses 👓 emoji. One of the things that’s always bothered me about Twitter was that people often share articles, but research has shown that very few actually bother to read them before sharing. (I’ve always gotten the impression that many don’t even bother to read the headlines.) Thus, following reading.am’s lead, I post everything I actually read online to my own website, but to indicate that it was read (from start to finish), I add the glasses emoji to the title. If I haven’t read it yet, it’s more likely hidden on my back end or, if it’s something I really want to advertise, promote, or highly expect I’ll come back to later, it will have a bookmark emoji 🔖.

I don’t publish all my reads publicly, a large number are published privately. You can find all of the public read posts here.

Lastly, for movies and television I’m watching, I include either TV emoji 📺 or film emoji 🎞️. I find that these emoji do really well for microblogging spaces which often have space restrictions.

Overall, I’ve quite enjoyed the evolution of micro.blog’s discovery features. While there are a few follow recommendations available, the service has a page with recent photos, so one can scan photos as a means of finding interesting people to follow on the service.

I can’t wait to see how the reading discovery page works out or what other new discovery tools Manton implements in the future. It’s nice to see a service that continues to evolve and change in reaction to its community.

Thanks Manton!

Reply to Aaron Davis’ Reply to IndieWeb Press This bookmarklets for WordPress

Reply to IndieWeb Press This bookmarklets for WordPress by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (collect.readwriterespond.com)
I have been using Dave Winer’s Radio3 platform/bookmarklet, but would rather a process which would allow me to store bookmarks on my blog and POSSE them. I was therefore wondering about creating a similar bookmarklet that generates ‘Bookmark’ post-kinds, as well as the possibility of posting from mobile? Am I going down the wrong path, especially as WordPress tinkers with ‘Press This’?

Aaron, the IndieWeb PressThis version bookmarklets are certainly a laudable solution for bookmarking things (even as WordPress moves the functionality of the original out of core), but I suspect you may find a more robust solution given some of your current set up.

Post Kinds Bookmarklets

A screen capture of my browser bookmarklets for my WordPress site with emoji for easier visual use.

A screen capture of my browser bookmarklets for my WordPress site with emoji for easier visual use.

Since you have the Post Kinds plugin set up, you might consider using that for a lot of the distance it can give you instead. I’ve written up some basic usage instructions for the plugin along with screenshots, but you’ll probably be most interested in the section on Bookmarklet Configuration. I’ve created a dozen or so browser bookmarklets, with handy visual emoji, for creating specific bookmark types for my site.

As for mobile posting, I’ll mention that I’ve heard “rumors” that David Shanske has a strong itch for improving the use of Post Kinds with a better mobile flow, so I would expect it to improve in the coming months. Until that time however, you can find some great tips on the wiki page for mobile posting. I recommend reading the entire page (including the section on Known which includes tools like URL Forwarder for Android that will also work with WordPress in conjunction with Post Kinds and the URL scheme described in the Bookmarklet Configuration section noted above.)

Using these details you should be able to make bookmarklets for your desktop browser and an Android phone in under an hour. If for some reason the documentation at these locations isn’t clear enough for you to puzzle out, let me know and I can do a more complete write up with screenshots and full code. (It’s still a piece of the book I need to expand out, or I’d include it here.)

Email

WordPress has the option of setting up an email address by which to post to your site. You can configure this pretty quickly, especially for mobile use to send URLs to your website that way. I typically use this method for quickly bookmarking things to my site for private use at a later date.

PESOS Options

There are also services that do bookmarking and include RSS feeds to your content which you could also potentially use to trigger IFTTT.com actions to post to your website. I have something similar to this set up for Reading.am which I’ve described in the past. You could certainly use this in combination with Diigo, which I see you use. Again, here more often than not I use these methods when I post things to my site as drafts or private posts.

cc: Indieweb Press This Bookmarklets for WordPress

Reply to a Comment on Supporting Digital Identities in School

Comment on Supporting Digital Identities in School by Christina Smith (Read Write Respond)
Your post reminded me of a challenge I see every time Couros posts about students having those three aspects of a digital identity: no matter how much we as educators may encourage this, ultimately it is up to the students to make it part of their lives. I have been blogging with my students for some years now, and when it is not a class requirement, they stop posting. I think part of this digital presence that we want students to establish – the \”residency,\” as Robert Schuetz said in the recent blog post that led me here (http://www.rtschuetz.net/2016/02/mapping-our-pangea.html) – is not always happening where we suggest. I know my students have an online presence – but it\’s on Instagram and Snapchat, not the blogsphere. Perhaps instead of dragging kids on vacation to where we think they should set up shop, we need to start following them to their preferred residences and help them turn those into sturdy, worthy places from which to venture out into the world.

This is certainly an intriguing way to look at it, but there’s another way to frame it as well. Students are on sites like Instagram and Snapchat because they’re connecting with their friends there. I doubt many (any?) are using those platforms for learning or engagement purposes, so attempting to engage with them there may not translate for educators. It may have the colloquial effect of “I’m on Snapchat because my parents aren’t; if my parents join I’m either going to block them or move to another platform they’re not on.” Something similar to this was seen in cultural teen use of Facebook as parents swarmed to the platform over the past decade. To slightly reframe it, how many high school teachers in the past have seen students in the hallways between classes socializing and thought to themselves, “I should go out and teach in the hallway, because that’s where the students are and they seem alert?”

It might also shed some light on our perspectives to look at what happens at the end of a quarter or semester in most colleges. I always remember book sellback time and a large proportion of my friends and colleagues rushed to the bookstore to sell their textbooks back. (I’ll stipulate the book market has changed drastically in the past two decades since I was in University, but I think the cultural effect is still roughly equivalent.) As a bibliophile I could never bring myself to sell books back because I felt the books were a significant part of what I learned and I always kept them in my personal collection to refer back to later. Some friends I knew would keep occasional textbooks for their particular area of concentration knowing that they might refer back to them in later parts of their study. But generalizing to the whole, most students dumped their notes, notebooks, and even textbooks that they felt no longer had value to them. I highly suspect that something similar is happening to students who are “forced” to keep online presences for coursework. They look at it as a temporary online notebook which is disposable when the class is over and probably even more so if it’s a course they didn’t feel will greatly impact their future coursework.

I personally find a huge amount of value in using my personal website as an ongoing commonplace book and refer back to it regularly as I collect more information and reshape my thoughts and perspectives on what I’ve read and learned over the years. Importantly, I have a lot of content that isn’t shared publicly on it as well. For me it’s become a daily tool for thinking and collecting as well as for searching. I suspect that this is also how Aaron is using his site as well. My use of it has also reached a fever pitch with my discovery of IndieWeb philosophies and technologies which greatly modify and extend how I’m now able to use my site compared to the thousands of others. I can do almost all of the things I could do on Facebook, Twitter, etc. including interacting with them directly and this makes it hugely more valuable to me.

The other difference is that I use my personal site for almost everything including a wide variety of topics I’m working on. Most students are introduced to having (read: forced to maintain) a site for a single class. This means they can throw it all overboard once that single class is over. What happens if or when they’re induced to use such a thing in all of their classes? Perhaps this may be when the proverbial quarter drops? Eventually by using such a tool(s) they’ll figure out a way to make it actively add the value they’re seeking. This kernel may be part of the value of having a site as a living portfolio upon graduation.

Another issue I often see, because I follow the space, is that many educational technologists see some value in these systems, but more often than not, they’re not self-dogfooding them the same way they expect their students to. While there are a few shining examples, generally many teachers and professors aren’t using their personal sites as personal learning networks, communications platforms, or even as social networks. Why should students be making the leap if their mentors and teachers aren’t? I can only name a small handful of active academic researchers who are heavily active in writing and very effectively sharing material online (and who aren’t directly in the edtech space). Many of them are succeeding in spite of the poor quality of their tools. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about one or more interesting thought leaders who I wish had even a modicum of online space much less a website that goes beyond the basic functionality of a broken business card. I’ve even offered to build for free some incredibly rich functional websites for researchers I’d love to follow more closely, but they just don’t see the value themselves.

I won’t presume to speak for Aaron, but he’s certainly become part of my PLN in part because he posts such a rich panoply of content on a topic in which I’m interested, but also in larger part because his website supports webmentions which allows us a much easier and richer method of communicating back and forth on nearly opposite sides of the Earth. I suspect that I may be one of the very few who extracts even a fraction of the true value of what he publishes through a panoply of means. I might liken it to the value of a highly hand-crafted trade journal from a decade or more ago as he’s actively following, reading, and interacting with a variety of people in a space in which I’m very interested. I find I don’t have to work nearly as hard at it all because he’s actively filtering through and uncovering the best of the best already. Who is the equivalent beacon for our students? Where are those people?

So the real question is how can we help direct students to similar types of resources for topics they’re personally interested in discovering more about? It may not be in their introduction to poetry class that they feel like it’s a pain doing daily posts about on a blog in which they’re not invested. (In fact it sounds to me just like the the online equivalent of a student being forced to write a 500 word essay in their lined composition book from the 1950’s.) But it’ll be on some topic, somewhere, and this is where the spark meets the fuel and the oxygen. But the missing part of the equation is often a panoply of missing technological features that impact the culture of learning. I personally think the webmention protocol is a major linkage that could help ease some of the burden, but then there’s also issues like identity, privacy, and all the other cultural baggage that needs to make the jump to online as seamlessly (or not) as it happens in the real world.

…perhaps we’re all looking for the online equivalent of being able to meld something like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Bloom’s Taxonomy?

I’ll have to expand upon it later, but perhaps we’re all looking for the online equivalent of being able to meld something like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Bloom’s Taxonomy? It’s certainly a major simplification, but it feels like the current state of the art is allowing us to put the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in an online setting (and we’re not even able to sell that part well to students), but we’re missing both its upper echelons as well as almost all of Maslow’s piece of the picture.

With all this said, I’ll leave you all with a stunningly beautiful example of synthesis and creation from a Ph.D. student in mathematics I came across the other day on Instagram and the associated version she wrote about on her personal website. How could we bottle this to have our students analyzing, synthesizing, and then creating this way?

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Reply to Why Trump? by George Lakoff

Why Trump? by George Lakoff (George Lakoff)
Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Democrats have little understanding of why he is winning — and winning handily, and even...

I appreciate the logic you’ve laid out on multiple levels here. I wish it were more widely viewed and shared. There’s an additional linguistic trick which Trump seems to take heavy advantage of as well: doublespeak. I’ve laid out some of the details here: http://boffosocko.com/2016/09/30/complexity-isnt-a-vice-10-word-answers-and-doubletalk-in-election-2016/ though I’ve got a slightly more nuanced approach now a year on and with additional data.

I enjoy your take on Direct vs. Systemic Causation which I bundle a bit more simply under the concept of “complexity”. The example I provide certainly fits well into your argument. It also seems to explain the political divide, which also follows the same party lines, in the ways the country views science in general, but the ideas of climate change and evolution specifically. While the evolution portion may be in direct conflict with the religious right, it doesn’t explain why so many don’t believe in the sciences generally or why they would be climate change deniers. Direct causation would seem to supersede the simple religion argument and explain the backlash against the sciences in general.

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Reply to Owning my Reading and 100 Days of Reading Chapters by Eddie Hinkle

Owning my Reading and 100 Days of Reading Chapters by Eddie Hinkle (eddiehinkle.com)
One of my goals in 2018 is to own my reading data rather than using Goodreads for all of that information. This will allow me to track information the way I want rather than have to do it like Goodreads wants me to.

Welcome to the club. It seems like there’s a growing interest in owning read posts lately. Doing a 100 day experiment seems like a brilliant way to self-dogfood it while simultaneously getting more material read. I may have to steal the idea!

Reply to Creating an Archive of a Set of Tweets by Aaron Davis

Creating an Archive of a Set of Tweets by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (collect.readwriterespond.com)
I really like Barnes’ intent to share. I just wonder if there is a means of owning these notes. Ideally, taking a POSSE approach, she might live blog and post this to Twitter. I vaguely remember Chris Aldrich sharing something about this recently, but the reference escapes me. This is also limited with her blog being located at WP.com. I therefore wondered about the option of pasting the content of the tweets into a blog as an archive.

Aaron, the process I use for taking longer streams of Tweets to own them (via PESOS) has Kevin Marks‘ excellent tool Noter Live at its core. Noter Live allows you to log in via Twitter and tweet(storm) from it directly. As its original intent was for live-tweeting at conferences and events, it has some useful built in tools for storing the names of multiple speakers (in advance, or even quickly on the fly) as well as auto-hashtagging your conversation. (I love it so much I took the time to write and contribute a user-manual.)

The best part is that it not only organically threads your tweets together into one continuing conversation, but it also gives you a modified output including the appropriate HTML and microformats classes so that you can cut and paste the entire thread and simply dump it into your favorite CMS and publish it as a standard blog post. (It also strips out the hashtags and repeated speaker references in a nice way.) With a small modification, you can also get your site to add hovercards to your post as well. I’ll also note in passing that it’s also been recently updated to support the longer 280 characters too.

The canonical version I use as an example of what this all looks like is this post: Notes from Day 1 of Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News | Thursday, October 13, 2016.

Another shorter tweetstorm which also has u-syndication links for all of the individual tweets can be found at Indieweb and Education Tweetstorm. This one has the benefit of pulling in all the resultant conversations around my tweetstorm with backfeed from Brid.gy, though they’re not necessarily threaded properly in the comments the way I would ultimately like. As you mention in the last paragraph that having the links to the syndicated copies would be useful, I’ll note that I’ve already submitted it as an issue to Noter Live’s GitHub repo. In some sense, the entire Twitter thread is connected, so having the original tweet URL gives you most of the context, though it isn’t enough for all of the back feed by common methods (Webmentions+Brid.gy) presently.

I’ll also note that I’ve recently heard from a reputable source about a WordPress specific tool called Publishiza that may be useful in this way, but I’ve not had the chance to play with it yet myself.

 

Clearly, you can embed Tweets, often by adding the URL. However, there are more and more people deleting their Tweets and if you embed something that is deleted, this content is then lost. (Not sure where this leaves Storify etc.)

It’s interesting that you ask where this leaves Storify, because literally as I was reading your piece, I got a pop-up notification announcing that Storify was going to be shut down altogether!! (It sounds to me like you may have been unaware when you wrote your note. So Storify and those using it are in more dire circumstances than you had imagined.)

It’s yet another reason in a very long list why one needs to have and own their own digital presence.

As for people deleting their tweets, I’ll note that by doing a full embed (instead of just using a URL) from Twitter to WordPress (or using Noter Live), that the original text is preserved so that even if the original is deleted, a full archival copy of the original still exists.

Also somewhat related in flavor for the mechanism you’re discussing, I also often use Hypothesis to comment on, highlight, and annotate on web pages for academic/research uses. To save these annotations, I’ll add hashtags to the annotations within Hypothesis and then use Kris Shaffer’s excellent Hypothesis Aggregator plugin to parse the data and pull it in the specific parts I want. Though here again, either Hypothesis as a service or the plugin itself may ultimately fail, so I will copy/paste the raw HTML from its output to post onto my site for future safekeeping. In some sense I’m using the plugin as a simple tool to make the transcription and data transport much easier/quicker.

I hope these tips make it easier for you and others to better collect your content and display it for later consumption and archival use.

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