Extension of the Insights » Posting Activity functionality

Filed an Issue Automattic/jetpack (GitHub)
Increase your traffic, view your stats, speed up your site, and protect yourself from hackers with Jetpack.

I’ve been enjoying the idea that JetPack is providing a Github contributions-like functionality at https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/example.com under the heading Posting Activity.

Orderly grid of squares representing dates which are grouped by month with a gradation of colors on each square that indicate in heat map fashion how frequently I post to my website.

Seeing this naturally provides me some additional motivation to post more often, which is generally a good thing for the platform. It also dovetails in visually with the “you have posted X days in a row” notifications sent by the mobile app.

I’m sure it all may be on the roadmap somewhere, but in case it’s not I thought I’d leave a few ideas about continuing to extend this awesome functionality and related UI features.

  • It would be nice to be able to display more than one calendar year of activity. Perhaps a tabbed UI could provide access to prior years while still being relatively compact? (This could be similar to “All Time Views” just below it which has button (aka tab) options for “Months and Years” or “Average per Day”.
    A visual representation of the button/tabbed functionality for "All Time Views" described in the text.
  • While hovering over a particular square representing a date provides some useful information like the number of posts on a particular date, it would be awesome if clicking on that date would take one to the correct archive page for that date. This is not too dissimilar to from GitHub’s functionality and the permalinks for each day should already exist in core. Example: https://example.com/2019/04/17 to show all of that day’s posts.
  • Similar to the functionality for posts, it would be interesting to have a similar set up for comments to allow sorting through those visually as well.
  • It would be awesome to have all of the above rolled up into a widget that would allow one to post the visual data for several months and/or years visually on a sidebar, footer, or other widgetizeable area. This also provides site readers the ability to quickly jump to a particular date and/or set of posts much like the Archives widget allows, but with a more visual interface.
  • If there is a widget, while I’m sure that many will love the blue WordPress-based color scheme, many will want to key their colors off of their theme as a customizable widget option.
  • Given the infrastructure for creating a lot of the above functionality, one could go a half step further and create an “On this Day” feature similar to that of Facebook, Timehop, and many others which allow one to create archive page views for what happened on this same day a year ago, two years ago, three, four, etc. This could be wonderfully useful for a wide variety of sites to look back at birthdays, anniversaries, and red letter dates as well as the average Tuesday. To my knowledge there is only one old plugin that I was able to find after some serious search that has somewhat similar functionality: Room 34 presents On This Day. There is also some similar functionality like this recently built into the Post Kinds Plugin which creates archive views for several date-based permalinks. This would be all the better if there is a better API for such an endpoint so that it could be tied into third party platforms like Timehop which are overly focused on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., but which could include WordPress-based websites.

Also as I post this, and as I’m thinking the functionality is relatively new, I notice that my JetPack enabled .org site only has Posting Activity that goes back to mid-October 2018 (despite the fact that it should go back much further), while my wordpress.com site has data that goes far back beyond that date. Is this a potential bug, or could it be the case that my self-hosted site hasn’t been parsed back far enough to cover more time yet? It may also be related to the fact that I’ve recently (this week) disconnected and reconnected JetPack to do some troubleshooting.

👓 On blog search engines | Colin Devroe

Read On blog search engines by Colin Devroe (cdevroe.com)
Brent Simmons has been reminiscing about blog search engines and writing down some ideas for how one could be made today. Something he wrote sparked a memory.
Instead of having it crawl blogs, I’d have it download and index RSS feeds. This should be cheaper than crawling pages, and it ensures that it skips indexing page junk (navigation and so on).

👓 Wishing for Blog Search Engines | Brent Simmons

Read Wishing for Blog Search Engines by Brent Simmons (inessential.com)
One thing I wish we had that we used to have: blog-only search engines. You could go and search for a hash tag. Or for links to your blog or elsewhere. Or for keywords. Etc. It should have an API that returns RSS, so RSS reader users could set up persistent, updated searches. There used to be a bunch of these, and now there are none that I know of.

👓 Five Newsroom Tips for Better Website Content | Andrea Zoellner

Read Five Newsroom Tips for Better Website Content by Andrea Zoellner (Andrea Zoellner)
This post is adapted from a talk given at WordCamp US 2016 in Philadelphia.
To say journalists have a bad reputation is an understatement. In a recent poll of least trusted professions in Canada, journalists had an 18% trust rating, ranking them somewhere between Financial advisors and lawyers. So w...

Originally bookmarked on April 10, 2019 at 12:27AM

Replied to Bookmark: Using Inoreader as an IndieWeb feed reader by Frank MeeuwsenFrank Meeuwsen (Digging the Digital)
Ik onderzoek weer hoe ik deze pagina’s beter kan gebruiken als een commonplace book, een plaats waar ik allerlei gedachten, ideeën en losse flodders kan plaatsen met minimale barrieres. Het is een rode draad in mijn blog-ontwikkeling en ik denk dat het een belangrijk element wordt op de IndieWebC...
[Rough English translation for convenience]
I am researching how I can better use these pages as a commonplace book , a place where I can place all kinds of thoughts, ideas and loose pieces with minimal barriers. It is a common thread in my blog development and I think it will be an important element at the IndieWebCamp barcamp for me.

Frank, in case you haven’t come across it yet, there is a stub page on the IndieWeb wiki about using our websites as digital commonplace books. Hopefully it will have some useful information, articles, and examples for you to use as you continue hacking. Feel free to add your own thoughts to it as you experiment.

While I do like the way that WordPress makes it easy for one to create link previews by simply putting a URL into the editor (as in your example), I’ve generally shied away from it as it relies on oEmbed and doesn’t necessarily put the actual text into your site. (Not all websites will provide this oEmbed functionality either.) I mention this because a lot of the benefit of having a commonplace is the ability to easily search it. If your post only has a title and a URL, without careful tagging it may be much harder to come back and discover what you were searching for later.

I’ve started an article on how I’m using my website as one, but still have a way to go before I finish it. A big portion of my workflow relies on the Post Kinds Plugin and its available bookmarklet functionality. There are also a lot of nice Micropub clients like Omnibear that making bookmarking things quick and easy too.

In the erstwhile, I ‘ll note that on my own site, I tag things relating to my own commonplace (thinking about and building it) as “commonplace book” and for examples of other peoples’ commonplaces, I usually use the plural tag “commonplace books“. These may also give you some ideas.

With respect to the Medium article which you linked, I’ve seen a recurring theme among bloggers (and writers in general) who indicate that they use their websites as “thought spaces”. Others may use similar or related phraseology (like “thinking out loud”) but this seems to be the most common in my experience. Toward that end, I’ve been bookmarking those articles that I’ve read with the tag “thought spaces“. Some of those notes and websites may also give you some ideas related to having and maintaining an online commonplace book.

👓 Write on your own website | Brad Frost

Read Write on your own website by Brad FrostBrad Frost (Brad Frost)

The single best thing I ever did for my career was start a blog on my own website.
— Brad Frost (@brad_frost) January 18, 2019

Writing on your own website associates your thoughts and ideas with you as a person. Having a distinct website design helps strengthen that association. Writing for another publication you get a little circular avatar at the beginning of the post and a brief bio at the end of the post, and that’s about it. People will remember the publication, but probably not your name.

Amen sir!

Another great reason for Why to IndieWeb.

📑 Building a digital garden | Tom Critchlow

Annotated Building a digital garden by Tom CritchlowTom Critchlow (tomcritchlow.com)

A blog without a publish button

I’m stealing this quote from my modern friend Ryan Dawidjan who has been pioneering this concept of open-access writing and blogging without a publish button. For a long time he has maintained a quip file called high cadence thoughts that is open access and serves as a long-running note of his thinking and ideas.

It’s a less-performative version of blogging - more of a captain’s log than a broadcast blog.

The distinction will come down to how you blog - some people blog in much the same way. For me however blogging is mostly performative thinking and less captain’s log. So I am looking for a space to nurture, edit in real time and evolve my thinking.  

I like the idea of a blog without a publish button. I do roughly the same thing with lots of drafts unpublished that I let aggregate content over time. The difference is that mine aren’t immediately out in public for other’s benefit. Though I do wonder how many might read them, comment on them, or potentially come back to read them later in a more finished form.

👓 Of Digital Streams, Campfires and Gardens | Tom Critchlow

Read Of Digital Streams, Campfires and Gardens by Tom CritchlowTom Critchlow (tomcritchlow.com)
Building personal learning environments across the different time horizons of information consumption

📑 Of Digital Streams, Campfires and Gardens | Tom Critchlow

Annotated Of Digital Streams, Campfires and Gardens by Tom CritchlowTom Critchlow (tomcritchlow.com)

Campfires - mostly blogging for me, though I know some folks gather around private slack groups too. My blog functions as a digital campfire (or a series of campfires) that are slower burn but fade relatively quickly over the timeframe of years. Connection forming, thinking out loud, self referencing and connection forming. This builds muscle, helps me articulate my thinking and is the connective tissue between ideas, people and more. While I’m not a daily blogger I’ve been blogging on and off for 10+ years.  

📑 Building a digital garden | Tom Critchlow

Annotated Building a digital garden by Tom CritchlowTom Critchlow (tomcritchlow.com)
Catch up by reading my last post of digital streams, campfires and gardens.  

I immediately thought of a post from Mike Caulfield (Hapgood). Interesting to see that Tom has already read and referenced it in his prior post.

📑 High Cadence Thoughts | Ryan Dawidjan

Annotated High Cadence Thoughts by Ryan Dawidjan (High Cadence Thoughts)
I blog to share and learn. rarely teach. I think the imposed pressure on the latter keeps a lot of blog posts from great people hidden - lost tweet from spring 2015  

In reference to:

👓 Building a digital garden | Tom Critchlow

Read Building a digital garden by Tom CrichtlowTom Crichtlow (tomcritchlow.com)
How I built myself a simple wiki using folders and files and published via Jekyll

Hat tip: Greg McVerry

👓 I have been holding my breath for too long | Flashing Palely in the Margins | Sameer Vasta

Read I have been holding my breath for too long by Sameer VastaSameer Vasta (Flashing Palely in the Margins)
After twenty years of always having something to say, I have recently forgotten the concept of blogging as exhale, the notion of using this space as a place to breathe ideas and thoughts into existence.

📑 Contact | Devon Zuegel

Annotated Contact by Devon Zuegel (Devon's Site)

This site is where I can riff on ideas, be wrong, and learn from those mistakes. Of course I try to be correct, and I always write what I believe to be true, but the greatest value most often comes from someone messaging me to point out a body of research I missed or angle I misinterpreted.

In this vein, please don't hesitate to let me know what you think! The whole point is to share what I know and to learn the rest.  

In addition to collecting the quote above, I’ll also note that Devon’s site now has an RSS feed (which I’m positive it didn’t before), so one can now follow her writing there directly.

👓 “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” | Paul Jacobson

Read “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
I’ve had an idea in my task list for a week or so now, and I just haven’t made the time to write about it, at least not as I originally intended when I read the post that inspired it. J…

Some ideas worth chewing on here. Paul almost uses the phrase “thought spaces” here and though he doesn’t, he’s certainly dancing around it.