Recently, I read two posts within a few days that both resonated a lot with me. The topic of both pieces was the same: Writing. Or more specifically, writing on your own site. The first piece, “Just write.”, is by Sara Soueidan and if you haven’t read the article, I highly encourage you to do so. Besides the general advice that you should just write, no matter if people read it or not, what stuck in my mind the most were those two short sentences:Once I got over my own obstacles, I stopped feeling like I was obligated to meet other people’s expectations. I started enjoying writing again.
Welcome to the indie web Michael!
What was that famous quote from the Zuzu in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? “Every time a blog starts, an Angel gets its wings?” Yes, I’m sure that’s it!
There my be no better honor than to be mentioned on the first page of a new personal website, and I certainly am. I’m tickled to serve as an example, particularly when mentioned in the same breath as Dan Cohen.
I don’t aim to emulate them just yet (I’m not terribly technically minded), but I get the importance of owning my own data, and I like the idea of having my own little space on the Web.
You’re completely right Michael, don’t simply copy what anyone is doing, but focus on the bits and pieces you find the most valuable to you personally. Given your penchant, perhaps looking into the IndieWeb wiki pages for Flickr and Instagram might give you some inspiration? I’ll note that over time I’ve become much more technically proficient, but I suspect you’re not too far behind me, so don’t let anything stop you.
If you need any help or guidance as you travel along, feel free to reach out. There are many of us around to help.
This blog is just a couple of months old and same for the domain. I was looking at my Comments admin panel and I have just over 200 approved “comments” this includes both written comments and mentions which appear on site as “facepiles”. I’m thinking only about 3 or 4 of those comments...
Welcome to a new experiment in simple but elegant web publishing. This site let’s you quickly publish full formatted and media rich articles, essays, papers — without requiring any logins or tracking of personal information. Don’t take our word for it, explore one piece published here, chosen at random.
A published work includes a header image which you can upload to the TRU Writer. Choose how you wish to credit yourself as an author, or choose to by anonymous.
You should be able to copy the contents of anything you have written in a Word Processor, or already published on a web page, paste it into the TRU Writer editor. Most standard formatting (headers, bold, italic, underline, lists, blockquotes, hypertext links) will be preserved.
You can then edit/augment your work using a rich text editor, including embedding content from social media sites, and you can upload new images to be included within the text of your writing.
So find an essay or article and see what you can do with it by publishing online with the TRU Writer.
This is implemented as a WordPress theme, so it can be created for many different sites. Learn more about TRU Writer and where to find the theme.
A fictional debate between JFK and Richard Nixon on the propriety of using blogs vs. wikis.
Webmention is the more modern specification now as some have mentioned. I wrote a piece on it in @alistapart recently which includes some background, UI examples, and links to more technical resources:
It is a small part of an #IndieWeb suite of open protocols including Micropub, WebSub, and Microsub for allowing site to site communication and interaction which goes to the broader scope of your question about RSS feeds and blogs. See also: Lost Infrastructure
I keep meaning to provide a better overview of it all, but this recent pencast overview captures a chunk of it. Aaron Parecki’s article Building an IndieWeb Reader captures some of the rest of the microsub/reader portion.
At Berkman we're studying weblogs, how they're used, and what they are. Rather than saying "I know it when I see it" I wanted to list all the known features of weblog software, but more important, get to the heart of what a weblog is, and how a weblog is different from a Wiki, or a news site managed with software like Vignette or Interwoven. I draw from my experience developing and using weblog software (Manila, Radio UserLand) and using competitive products such as Blogger and Movable Type. This piece is being published along with my keynotes at OSCOM and the Jupiter weblogs conference. And a disclaimer: This is a work in progress. There may be subsequent versions as the art and market for weblog software develops. Dave Winer, June 2003, Cambridge MA.
The unedited voice of a person
A real piece of internet history here, written by the first blogger.
Learn in six easy steps how to become a master blogger (Caveat the only way is to read and write a lot)
I’m reminded here of my friend and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Millard Kaufman who once told me while standing in front of his immense library, “If you want to be a good writer, then practice writing; if you want to be a great writer, then read everything and then steal from the best.”
RSS died. Whether you blame Feedburner, or Google Reader, or Digg Reader last month, or any number of other product failures over the years, the humble protocol has managed to keep on trudging along despite all evidence that it is dead, dead, dead. Now, with Facebook’s scandal over Cambridge Analyt…
Just throwing out some thoughts on what I really want in a blog: Cross-device accessibility – compose, read, and manage from any device Decentralized – Easy, lightweight setup on my own server, or Raspberry Pi Federated – this provides: Discoverability – my feed shows up elsewhere, others ca...
I really like where you’re coming from on so many fronts here (and on your site in general). Thanks for such a great post on a Friday afternoon. A lot of what you’re saying echos the ideas of many old school bloggers who use their blogs as “thought spaces“. They write, take comments, iterate, hone, and eventually come up with stronger thoughts and theses. Because of the place in which they’re writing, the ideas slowly percolate and grow over a continuum of time rather than spring full-formed seemingly from the head of Zeus the way many books would typically appear to the untrained eye. I’ve not quite seen a finely coalesced version of this idea though I’ve seen many dance around it obliquely. The most common name I’ve seen is that of a “thought space” or sometimes the phrase “thinking out loud”, which I notice you’ve done at least once. In some sense, due to its public nature, it seems like an ever-evolving conversation in a public commons. Your broader idea and blogging experience really make a natural progression for using a website to slowly brew a book.
My favorite incarnation of the idea is that blogs or personal websites are a digital and public shared commonplace book. Commonplaces go back to the 15th century and even certainly earlier, but I like to think of websites as very tech-forward versions of the commonplaces kept by our forebears.
I’ve seen a few educators like Aaron Davis and Ian O’Byrne take to the concept of a commonplace, though both have primary websites for writing and broader synthesis and secondary sites for collecting and annotating the web. I tend to aggregate everything (though not always published publicly) on my primary site after having spent some time trying not to inundate email subscribers as you’ve done.
There’s also a growing movement, primarily in higher education, known as A Domain of One’s Own or in shortened versions as either “Domains” or even #DoOO which is a digital take on the Virgina Woolf quote “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days.”
There are a growing number of educators, researchers, and technologists reshaping how the web is used which makes keeping an online commonplace much easier. In particular, we’re all chasing a lot of what you’re after as well:
Part of what I’m after is consolidating my presence online as much as possible, especially onto platforms that I can control.
To me, this sounds like one of the major pillars of the IndieWeb movement which is taking control of the web back from corporate social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et. al. Through odd serendipity, I came across your micro.blog account this morning which led me to your website. A lot of the underpinnings of micro.blog are informed by the IndieWeb movement. In many subtle ways, I might suspect the two had a lot of influence on your particular choice of WordPress theme.
Tonight I’ve also seen your reply to Dan Cohen’s question:
Has anyone set up WordPress so that “standard” post types continue to show up on your blog, but “status” (or “aside”) post types feed into social media platforms such as Twitter or https://t.co/kisv1mbGgT?
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) June 6, 2018
No worries! Replies/notifications stay within their own domains, for better or for worse. The good news is that the original post can reach people where they are; the bad news is that the conversation around it is increasingly diffuse.
— Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@kfitz) June 7, 2018
I had previously replied to Dan’s original question, but somehow missed your side thread at the time. I suspect you didn’t see our branch of the conversation either.
Interestingly, your presumption that the replies/notifications stay within their own domains isn’t necessarily fait accompli, at least not any more. There’s a new web specification in the past few years called Webmention that allows notifications and replies to cross website boundaries unlike Twitter @mentions which are permanently stuck within Twitter. Interestingly, because of the way you’ve set up your WordPress website to dovetail with micro.blog you’re almost 90 percent of the way to supporting it easily. If you add and slightly configure the Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks plugins, the asides and other content you’re syndicating into micro.blog will automatically collect the related conversation around them back to your own posts thus allowing you to have a copy of your content on your own website as well as the surrounding conversation, which is no longer as diffuse as you imagined it needed to be. Here’s an example from earlier this evening where I posted to my site and your response (and another) on micro.blog came back to me. (Sadly there’s a Gravatar glitch preventing the avatars from displaying properly, but hopefully I’ll solve that shortly.)
This same sort of thing can be done with Twitter including native threading and @mentions, if done properly, by leveraging the free Brid.gy service to force Twitter to send your site webmentions on your behalf. (Of course this means you might need to syndicate your content to Twitter in a slightly different manner than having micro.blog do on your behalf, but there are multiple ways of doing this.)
I also notice that you’ve taken to posting copies of your tweeted versions at the top of your comments sections. There’s a related IndieWeb plugin called Syndication Links that is made specifically to keep a running list of the places to which you’ve syndicated your content. This plugin may solve a specific need for you in addition to the fact that it dovetails well with Brid.gy to make sure your posts get the appropriate comments back via webmention.
I’m happy to help walk you through setting up some of the additional IndieWeb tech for your WordPress website if you’re interested. I suspect that having the ability to use your website as a true online hub in addition to doing cross website conversations is what you’ve been dreaming about, possibly without knowing it. Pretty soon you’ll be aggregating and owning all of your digital breadcrumbs to compile at a later date into posts and eventually articles, monographs, and books.
Perhaps more importantly, there’s a growing group of us in the education/research fields that are continually experimenting and building new functionalities for online (and specifically academic) communication. I and a plethora of others would welcome you to join us on the wiki, in chat, or even at upcoming online or in-person events.
In any case, thanks for sharing your work and your thoughts with the world. I wish more academics were doing what you are doing online–we’d all be so much richer for it. I know this has been long and is a potential rabbithole you may disappear into, so thank you for the generosity of your attention.
I relished Om Malik's post "Blogs are thought spaces" in which he said that he started blogging for two reasons: to share what he had learnt as a reporter, and to have a place to think out loud. This reminded me of something I wrote in 2014 where, I too, said I like to think out loud. Blogging has a...
Nice reflection Colin. I find it interesting the way that focuses and intents associated with blogging develop and evolve over time. Although I do sometimes go back to my Twitter feed to find past conversations, I agree with you that it is a bit of dumping spot. For a long time my habit has been to ...
Having read a number of posts recently about people's experiences rediscovering blogging, and others questioning whether blogging was still a valid exercise in 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to re-examine why I do this. My own rediscovery period was last year. I was still writing but not tr...