Imagine if there were a database of feeds we all subscribed to, and we could get recommendations of new feeds to follow, based on what we already follow.That's the idea behind Share Your OPML, a service I started in 2006. The story of SYO is one of success followed by scaling issues. Now we have better technology so it should scale better.Help us get it started by:1. Export your subscription list in whatever RSS reader or podcast client you use.2. Upload it to the new SYO site. (It's simple, just sign in with Twitter and drag-drop your OPML on the gray box. Takes less than a minute.)If you have questions, post a comment here. Dave
A new service that shares feed information gleaned from OPML subscription lists. It's a reboot of a service I had in 2006 which was quite popular.
Over the weekend I met with the CEO of BLUR Search Technologies . Jaime is also my brother-in-Law, and has sponsored IndieWebCamp NYC in 2018. We mainly gathered for Thanskgiving, the second Thanksgiving, and finally leftovers. As we all played clean the fridge we snuck away to scope out a possibl...
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).
I can dream about how I’d build one of these. (I’m not going to! This is way outside my expertise, and I have other things to do.)
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.
These issues tend to flatten these taxonomies out and make them much more difficult to search (or for others to be able to subscribe to reliably).
As an example, having tags “Domain of One’s Own” and “Domain of Ones Own” (with and without the apostrophe) as well as the acronym “DoOO” can be difficult or frustrating to use. Things get even more complicated when I hold the mental model that these concepts are just a sub-set of the broader idea of the “IndieWeb” or what I sometimes tag things as “IndieWeb for Education”. This is all much easier for me, but may be more difficult for newcomers to the site who know what one shorthand means, but are unaware of the others and thus miss details, references, or content that may have a lot of value for them.
I’ve cleaned up and concatenated many of these troublesome tags (roughly A-D alphabetically and other sections at random), but there’s still a lot of distance to go. There are 66 categories–some are hidden or used for programmatic purposes–and nearly 7,000 tags! The top 100 tags are used 30 or more times on the site and the second century of tags are used between 20 and 30 times each. At the long end of the tail there are about 4,000 tags with either 1 or no uses.
I’m promoting the economics tag to that of a category since it’s a topic in which I have a lot of interest and content. I also have a number of other tags related to sub-areas of economics. (If you were subscribed to this individual tag, you may want to fix your feed.) Other potential considerations for promotion included the topics of history, physics, and web development. I also noticed that there’s a tag for mathematics with 70 instances despite the fact that there’s already a category for it with 315 posts already–I’ll have to figure out how that happened and clean it up another day. And look, there’s somehow a tag for “math” too. Ugh!
I also put both the Quotes and Events categories under the parent category of Social Stream, though I plan on leaving them showing in the hierarchy–unlike some post kinds–as there are many legacy posts and likely future posts that aren’t just events I’m hosting, but events that are of interest to me in general. Naturally the more important events (to me) will appear in my RSVP posts. With any good luck courtesy of WordPress, links to the old versions should still work or redirect to the new hierarchy.
The manual or even automated effort of fixing or tweaking some of these things feels problematic, and I’m just looking at just my own website. I’m curious to delve into some research on taxonomies and folksonomies to see how something like this may be better systematized and/or automated. Of course categorizing things is somethings humans really love doing, but I’m not sure how deep down the rabbit hole it’s worth going for my own work. Besides, someone far smarter than I will likely crack the discovery nut from an IndieWeb perspective. Fortunately I can use the site search queries for several search engines to more quickly find the things I’m looking for without needing these taxonomies. So perhaps I’ll put some of the exercise off to another day by filing this in my #procrastination tag.
- https://personalsit.es/ with repo at: https://github.com/andybelldesign/personalsit.es
For additional metadata, one could run a microformats parser on the homepages of these sites and return social media presences in other locations using XFN’s
rel="me" set up. Something like this is done by Jeremy Keith on his Huffduffer.com service where one signs up and inputs one’s website. His service then doesn’t need to ask for Twitter, Facebook, or Github handles explicitly. Instead it relies on the service going to the homepage listed and pulling out the
rel="me" values and doing it automatically on their behalf. Since many web platforms have this microformat value it can make the data acquisition easier and less manual in many cases.
I’ve written about why I think we need the IndieWeb before. I’m going to the Popular Culture Association Conference in April and will present about this there as part of the Internet Culture track. I’ve been talking to friends about what they might want to know about the IndieWeb as a way of getting a sense of what to present about. I realized that I have additional thoughts about the importance of the IndieWeb community so that’s what this post is about. Once the presentation is complete, I’ll make the slide deck available as a supplement to this post.
I have heard some who think that POSSE is difficult and only worthwhile for the additional reach. I hope that one day when we’ve got some better readers and discovery options people will flock to more IndieWeb-centric solutions. If enough eventually do, then the silos may be forced to open up to be able to continue competing.
A note from Tony Haile, CEO of Scroll
- Scroll is acquiring Nuzzel
- The core service isn’t going to change beyond removing the ads
- We’re spinning out the media intelligence business
We need more competition in the space of “discovery” on the web and particularly in the area of allowing users to control the levers that go into some of that discovery. The blackbox algorithms of the social media giants certainly can’t be trusted because of their financial motivations. In some sense, I view Nuzzel as a real-time directory, but one whose cache is flushed at regular intervals instead of saving all the data for a later date and time or other additional searching. I wonder what a engine like Nuzzel would look like if it kept all the data and allowed itself to be searchable in a long-tail way?
Websites with a /now page
Certainly webmention could be used to collect the data and provide updates for such a directory. (I’ll note that most people who do have Now pages put a small notice at the bottom of their pages with a link back to the directory to reference it–something which I’m sure has helped spread the general idea.) One of the things I haven’t seen directories like this necessarily have is a feed of content that one could subscribe to updates from. While this one doesn’t have this sort of ability built into it (or seemingly any search or sorting functionality by categories or tags), it does have a Twitter feed that pushes out semi-regular updates of people within the directory. This way, if you’re subscribed, you see others’ updates being fed out. Every couple of months it also mentions me directly, which provides me with a regular reminder to update my presence within the directory.
I’m curious how we might expand this sort of concept to other types of online directories? Is there anything else useful about how this is one is set up?
Okay, so I’ve added outgoing Webmentions to Href.cool. This means that sites will be notified if they are linked in any of my category.
Incidentally, the directory itself has also has Webmentions. So, if you have an Indieweb blog and you want to recommend a link to the directory: make a post containing the link you want to submit and a link to the category page you think it belongs on and I will get the message. I may also choose to list submitted links at the bottom of the page. Or, yeah, you tell me if this is useful to you.
Welcome to my annual publishing predictions. I’ll start by sharing some thoughts on the state of the indie nation and then I’ll jump int...
There’s also a useful question brought up here about the idea of discovering new authors and new books. It’s a similar problem faced by websites and other online content in general. Silo’s general nature and the algorithms they can bring to bear have solved some of the discovery question (for their own enrichment). Solving this from an indie perspective isn’t just useful from the website content perspective, but it’s also very important for the book sales perspective.
See how much I read in Pocket this year!
The most popular things I apparently saved this year:
The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: the full list by Robert McCrum • theguardian.com
Is Your Child Lying to You? That’s Good by Alex Stone • nytimes.com
How Actual Smart People Talk About Themselves by JAMES FALLOWS • theatlantic.com
The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought by Eric Newcomer, Brad Stone • bloomberg.com
The female price of male pleasure by Lili Loofbourow • theweek.com
I’ll have to work at getting better to create my own end-of-year statistics since my own website has a better accounting of what I’ve actually read (it isn’t all public) and bookmarked. I do like that their service does some aggregate comparison of my data versus all the other user data (anonymized from my perspective).
Pocket also does a relatively good job of doing discovery of good things to read based on aggregate user data in terms of categories like “Best of” and “Popular”. They also give me weekly email updates of things I’ve bookmarked there as reminders to go back and read them, which I find a useful functionality which they haven’t over-gamified. Presently my own closest functionality to this is to be subscribed to the RSS feed of my own public bookmarks in a feed reader (which I find generally useful) as well as regularly checking on my private bookmarks on my websites’s back end (something as easy as clicking on a browser bookmark) and even looking at my “on this day” functionality to review over things from years past.
I’ll note that I currently rely more on Nuzzle for real-time discovery on a daily basis however.
As an aside while I’m thinking of it, it might be a cool thing if the IndieWeb wiki received webmentions, so that self-documentation I do on my own website automatically appeared on the appropriate linked pages either in a webmention section or perhaps the “See Also” section. If wikis did this generally, it would be a cool means of potentially building communities and fuelling discovery on the broader web. Imagine if adding to a wiki via Webmention were as easy as syndicating content to a site like IndieNews or IndieWeb.XYZ? It could also function as a useful method of archiving web content from original pages to places like the Internet Archive in a simple way, much like how I currently auto-archive my individual pages automatically on the day they’re published.
I like community websites where people gather for online discussions. That's why I launched my message board Toledo Talk in January 2003, and it continues today. Warbler is a message board where all thread starter posts and comments are Webmentions. A Webmention is a cross-site communication idea, e...