A reply to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Why Not Blog?

Replied to Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

But there are a few spots where I’m not, entirely, and I’m not sure whether it’s a different perspective or a different set of experiences, or perhaps the latter having led to the former.

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:

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.

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👓 a note | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Liked a post by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
Thanks to @ayjay, I’m testing out micro.blog, linking the “aside” post type here and — if all goes well — eventually to twitter dot com as well. I’ve been working on consolidating my digital presence, and I’m hopeful that this might help.
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IndieWeb Summit 2018 Recap

Last week was the 8th annual IndieWeb Summit held in Portland, Oregon. While IndieWeb Camps and Summits have traditionally been held on weekends during people’s free time, this one held in the middle of the week was a roaring success. With well over 50 people in attendance, this was almost certainly the largest attendance I’ve seen to date. I suspect since people who flew in for the event had really committed, the attendance on the second day was much higher than usual as well. It was great to see so many people hacking on their personal websites and tools to make their personal online experiences richer.

The year of the Indie Reader

Last year I wrote the post Feed Reader Revolution in response to an increasingly growing need I’ve seen in the social space for a new sort of functionality in feed readers. While there have been a few interesting attempts like Woodwind which have shown a proof-of-concept, not much work had been done until some initial work by Aaron Parecki and a session at last year’s IndieWeb Summit entitled Putting it all Together.

Over the past year I’ve been closely watching Aaron Parecki; Grant Richmond and Jonathan LaCour; Eddie Hinkle; and Kristof De Jaeger’s collective progress on the microsub specification as well as their respective projects Aperture/Monocle; Together; Indigenous/Indigenous for iOS; and Indigenous for Android. As a result in early May I was overjoyed to suggest a keynote session on readers and was stupefied this week as many of them have officially launched and are open to general registration as relatively solid beta web services.

I spent a few minutes in a session at the end of Tuesday and managed to log into Aperture and create an account (#16, though I suspect I may be one of the first to use it besides the initial group of five developers). I also managed to quickly and easily add a microsub endpoint to my website as well. Sadly I’ve got some tweaks to make to my own installation to properly log into any of the reader app front ends. Based on several of the demos I’ve seen over the past months, the functionality involved is not only impressive, but it’s a properly large step ahead of some of the basic user interface provided by the now-shuttered Woodwind.xyz service (though the code is still available for self-hosting.)

Several people have committed to make attempts at creating a microsub server including Jack Jamieson who has announced an attempt at creating one for WordPress after having recently built the Yarns reader for WordPress from scratch this past year. I suspect within the coming year we’ll see one or two additional servers as well as some additional reading front ends. In fact, Ryan Barrett spent the day on Wednesday hacking away at leveraging the News Blur API and leveraging it to make News Blur a front end for Aperture’s server functionality. I’m hoping others may do the same for other popular readers like Feedly or Inoreader to expand on the plurality of offerings. Increased competition for new reader offerings can only improve the entire space.

Even more reading related support

Just before the Summit, gRegor Morrill unveiled the beta version of his micropub client Indiebookclub.biz which allows one to log in with their own website and use it to post reading updates to their own website. For those who don’t yet support micropub, the service saves the data for eventual export. His work on it continued through the summit to continue to improve an already impressive product. It’s the fist micropub client of its kind amidst a growing field of websites (including WordPress and WithKnown which both have plugins) that offer reading post support. Micro.blog has recently updated its code to allow users of the platform the ability to post reads with indiebookclub.biz as well. As a result of this spurt of reading related support there’s now a draft proposal to add read-of and read-status support as new Microformats. Perhaps reads will be included in future updates of the post-type-discovery algorithm as well?

Given the growth of reading post support and a new micropub read client, I suspect it won’t take long before some of the new microsub-related readers begin supporting read post micropub functionality as well.

IndieAuth Servers

In addition to David Shanske’s recent valiant update to the IndieAuth plugin for WordPress, Manton Reece managed to finish up coding work to unveil another implementation of IndieAuth at the Summit. His version is for the micro.blog platform which is a significant addition to the community and will add several hundred additional users who will have broader access to a wide assortment of functionality as a result.

The Future

While work continues apace on a broad variety of fronts, I was happy to see that my proposal for a session on IndieAlgorithms was accepted (despite my leading another topic earlier in the day). It was well attended and sparked some interesting discussion about how individuals might also be able to exert greater control over what they’re presented to consume. With the rise of Indie feed readers this year, the ability to better control and filter one’s incoming content is going to take on a greater importance in the very near future. With an increasing number of readers to choose from, more people will hopefully be able to free themselves from the vagaries of the blackbox algorithms that drive content distribution and presentation in products like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Based on the architecture of servers like Aperture, perhaps we might be able to modify some of the microsub spec to allow more freedom and flexibility in what will assuredly be the next step in the evolution of the IndieWeb?

Diversity

While there are miles and miles to go before we sleep, I was happy to have seen a session on diversity pop up at the Summit. I hope we can all take the general topic to heart to be more inclusive and actively invite friends into our fold. Thanks to Jean for suggesting and guiding the conversation and everyone else for continuing it throughout the rest of the summit and beyond.

Other Highlights

Naturally, the above are just a few of the bigger highlights as I perceive them. I’m sure others will appear in the IndieNews feed or other blogposts about the summit. The IndieWeb is something subtly different to each person, so I hope everyone takes a moment to share (on your own sites naturally) what you got out of all the sessions and discussions. There was a tremendous amount of discussion, debate, and advancement of the state of the art of the continually growing IndieWeb. Fortunately almost all of it was captured in the IndieWeb chat, on Twitter, and on video available through either the IndieWeb wiki pages for the summit or directly from the IndieWeb YouTube channel.

I suspect David Shanske and I will have more to say in what is sure to be a recap episode in our next podcast.

Photos

Finally, below I’m including a bunch of photos I took over the course of my trip. I’m far from a professional photographer, but hopefully they’ll give a small representation of some of the fun we all had at camp.

Final Thanks

People

While I’m thinking about it, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came to the summit. You all really made it a fantastic event!

I’d particularly like to thank Aaron Parecki, Tantek Çelik, gRegor Morrill, Marty McGuire, and David Shanske who did a lot of the organizing and volunteer work to help make the summit happen as well as to capture it so well for others to participate remotely or even view major portions of it after-the-fact. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Martijn van der Ven for some herculean efforts on IRC/Chat in documenting things in real time as well as for some serious wiki gardening along the way. As always, there are a huge crew of others whose contributions large and small help to make up the rich fabric of the community and we wouldn’t be who we are without your help. Thank you all! (Or as I might say in chat: community++).

And finally, a special personal thanks to Greg McVerry for kindly letting me join him at the Hotel deLuxe for some late night discussions on the intersection of IndieWeb and Domain of One’s Own philosophies as they dovetail with the education sector.  With growing interest and a wealth of ideas in this area, I’m confident it’s going to be a rapidly growing one over the coming years.

Sponsors

I’d also like to take a moment to say thanks to all the sponsors who helped to make the event a success including Name.com, GoDaddy, Okta, Mozilla, DreamHost, and likely a few others who I’m missing at the moment.

I’d also like to thank the Eliot Center for letting us hosting the event at their fabulous facility.

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👓 IndieBookClub | Manton Reece

Read IndieBookClub by Manton Reece (manton.org)
As I mentioned in my IndieWeb Summit wrap-up, I added support for IndieBookClub while in Portland. IndieBookClub is a little like Goodreads, but built on standards like Microformats and Micropub so that you can post what you’re reading to your own blog. Now that I’m back in Austin, I’ve tweake...
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Reply to I attended IndieWeb Summit 2018 | Fogknife

Replied to I attended IndieWeb Summit 2018 by Jason McIntosh (Fogknife)
Notes and thoughts from the eighth annual IndieWeb conference, held in Portland, Oregon.

My heart forever broken by social-media silos, I’m not really interested in using Micro.blog as yet another “Okay, I’m over here now” social network. I get the impression that it has potential for much deeper use than that, if I can only get my head around it.

Micro.blog can be many things to many people which can be confusing, particularly when you’re a very tech savvy person and can see all the options at once. I’d recommend looking at it like a custom feed reader for a community of people you’d like to follow and interact with. Spend some time in the reader and just interact with those you’re following and they’ll do likewise in return.

It’s purposely missing some of the dopamine triggers other social silos have, so you may need to retrain your brain to use it appropriately, but I think it’s worthwhile if you do.


I really need to hash out my domain situation! IndieWeb encourages its memership to claim a single domain and use it as their personal stamp for everything they do on the internet. I, though, have two domains: my long-held personal catch-all domain of jmac.org, and fogknife.com, which I use exclusively for blogging. My use of both predates my involvement with IndieWeb.

Don’t fret too much over having multiple websites. As you continue on the answer to what you want to do with them will eventually emerge more organically than if you force it to. For some thoughts and inspiration, check out https://indieweb.org/multi-site_indieweb.

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👓 IndieWeb Summit 2018 wrap-up | Manton Reece

Read IndieWeb Summit 2018 wrap-up by Manton Reece (manton.org)
Last week I was in Portland for IndieWeb Summit. This was only my second IndieWeb conference (the first was IndieWebCamp in Austin). I had a great time in Portland and got even more than I expected out of IndieWeb Summit. The first day was short keynotes and sessions led by attendees on a range of t...
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Visually indicating post types on blogs and microblogs

It’s been a while since I’ve actively read Om Malik‘s blog, but I noticed that he’s using graphical indicators that add some semantic detail about what each post is. It’s a design element I’ve only seen lately out of the IndieWeb community with plugins like the Post Kinds Plugin for WordPress or done manually with emoji in post titles the way Aaron Davis has done relatively religiously, particularly on his “Collect” site.

Om Malik is using some graphical indicators to give quick additional semantic meaning to what he’s posting.

I highly suspect that he’s using the Post Formats functionality from WordPress core to do some of this using a custom theme. Sadly it’s generally fallen out of fashion and one doesn’t see it very often any more. I suspect that it’s because WordPress didn’t take the functionality to its logical conclusion in the same way that the Post Kinds Plugin does.

The way Aaron Davis uses emoji in his posts helps to provide additional context about what is being written about to indicate what is going on in a link before it’s clicked.

I think some of my first experience with its resurgence was as helpful UI I saw suggested by Tantek Çelik on the Read page of the IndieWeb wiki. I’ve been doing it a lot myself, primarily for posts that I syndicate out to micro.blog, where it’s become a discovery function using so-called tagmoji (see books, for example), or Twitter (reads, bookmarks, watches, listens, likes). In those places, they particularly allow me to add a lot more semantic meaning to short notes/microblog posts than others do.

I do wish that having emoji for read posts was more common in Twitter to indicate that people actually bothered to read those articles they’re sharing to Twitter, the extra context would be incredibly useful. I generally suspect that article links people are sharing have more of a bookmark sentiment based on their click-bait headlines. Perhaps this is why I like Reading.am so much for finding content — it’s material people have actually bothered to read before they shared it out. Twitter adding some additional semantic tidbits like these would make it much more valuable in my mind.

It doesn’t appear that Om has taken this functionality that far himself though (at least on Twitter). Perhaps if WordPress made it easier to syndicate out content to Twitter with this sort of data attached it would help things take off?

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Reply to Dan Cohen tweet

Replied to a tweet by Dan CohenDan Cohen (Twitter)

Dan, There are a lot of moving pieces in your question and a variety of ways to implement them depending on your needs and particular website set up. Fortunately there are lots of educators playing around in these spaces already who are experimenting with various means and methods as well as some of their short and long term implications.

I suspect some of the most interesting parts may be more closed off to you  (or possibly more difficult) because in your particular case it looks like you’re being hosted on WordPress.com rather than self-hosting your own site directly. For the richest experience you’d ideally like to be able to install some of the IndieWeb for WordPress plugins like Webmentions, Semantic Linkbacks, Post Kinds, and potentially others. This can be done on WordPress.com, but typically involves a higher level of paid account for the most flexibility.

For crossposting your content to micro.blog, that portion is fairly simple as you can decide on any variety of post formats (standard, aside, status, images, etc.), post kinds, categories, or even tags and translate those pieces into RSS feeds your WordPress installation is already creating (most often just by adding /feed/ to the end of common URLs for these items). Then you can plug those particular feeds into your micro.blog account and you’re good to go for feeding content out easily without any additional work. Personally I’m using the Post Kinds plugin to create a finer-grained set of content so that I can better pick and choose what gets syndicated out to other sites.

From within micro.blog, on your accounts tab you can enter any number of incoming feeds to your account. Here’s a list of some of the feeds (from two of my websites one using WordPress and the other using Known) that are going to my account there:

 

 

As a small example, if you were using the status post format on your site, you should be able to add https://dancohen.org/type/status/feed/ to your feed list on micro.blog and then only those status updates would feed across to the micro.blog community.

I also bookmarked a useful meta-post a few weeks back that has a nice section on using micro.blog with WordPress. And there are also many nice resources on the IndieWeb wiki for micro.blog and how people are integrating it into their workflows.

For crossposting to Twitter there are a multitude of options depending on your need as well as your expertise and patience to set things up and the control you’d like to have over how your Tweets display.

Since micro.blog supports the Webmention protocol, if your site also has Webmentions set up, you can get responses to your crossposts to micro.blog to show up back on your site as native (moderate-able) comments. You can do much the same thing with Twitter and use your website as a Twitter “client” to post to Twitter as well as have the replies and responses from Twitter come back to your posts using webmention in conjunction with the brid.gy website.

I’ve been playing around in these areas for quite a while and am happy to help point you to particular resources depending on your level of ability/need. If you (or anyone else in the thread as well) would like, we can also arrange a conference call/Google hangout (I’m based in Los Angeles) and walk through the steps one at a time to get you set up if you like (gratis, naturally). Besides, it’s probably the least I could do to pay you back for a small fraction of your work on things like PressForward, Zotero, and DPLA that I’ve gotten so much value out of.

Because of the power of these methods and their applicability to education, there are an ever-growing number of us working on the issue/question of scaling this up to spread across larger classrooms and even institutions. I’m sure you saw Greg McVerry’s reply about some upcoming potential events (as well as how he’s receiving comments back from Twitter via webmention, if you scroll down that page). I hope you might join us all. The next big event is the IndieWeb Summit in Portland at the end of June. If you’re not able to make it in person, there should be some useful ways to attend big portions remotely via video as well as live chat, which is actually active 24/7/365.

As is sometimes said: I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter. At least I wasn’t hampered by Twitter’s character constraints by posting it on my own site first.

 

 

 

 

 

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🔖 Micro.wiki, Resources for Micro.blog | Eli Mellen

Bookmarked Micro.wiki, Resources for Micro.blog by Eli MellenEli Mellen (eli.li)

Community resources for the avid Micro.blogger

Micro.blog is groovy. This is a community index, champion’s enchiridion of all things Micro.blog. NOTE! This is a community resource and is in no way officially tied to Micro.blog. The bona fide documentation lives at help.micro.blog (make sure not to miss the community guidelines).

What a fantastic resource!

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👓 Icro 1.0 | Manton Reece

Read Icro 1.0 by Manton Reece (manton.org)

For Micro.blog, I always want to encourage third-party apps. We support existing blogging apps like MarsEdit, and we have an API for more Micro.blog-focused apps to be built. I’m excited to say that a big one just shipped in the App Store: Icro.

Icro is well-designed, fast, and takes a different approach to some features compared to the official Micro.blog app. In a few ways, it’s better than the app I built. This is exactly what I hoped for. We wanted an official app so that there’s a default to get started, but there should be other great options for Micro.blog users to choose from.

I’m wondering if any of the pnut or ADN crowd have migrated over to micro.blog yet? I suspect that many of their apps (and especially mobile apps) could be re-purposed as micropub applications. I’m particularly interested in more Android related apps as a lot of the micro.blog crowd seems to be more directly focused on the Apple ecosystem.

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Earlier in the week I noticed how well reading.am dovetailed with Huffduffer. Now I’m noticing that my listen posts (aka my faux-cast) also now translate to micro.blog’s podcast discovery page. The secret to this seems to be having an .mp3 file in a post that feeds across. I do notice at least one post without an .mp3, but which includes the word “podcast.” Are there any other criterion for this @manton?

I wonder if there’s a way for more posts to display the inline audio player without being hosted directly by micro.blog?

micro.blog’s podcast discovery page
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👓 Wrapping My Head Around Micro.blog and IndieWeb | Jason Sadler

Read Wrapping My Head Around Micro.blog and IndieWeb by Jason Sadler (sadlerjw.com)
After the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica catastrophe and recent Twitter news (and retraction) about support for 3rd party clients, I found myself wondering about Micro.blog again, after hearing about it on Kickstarter a little over a year ago. On the surface, it’s an indie Twitter-like app, in th...
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An IndieWeb Podcast: Episode 1 “Leaving Facebook”

Episode 1 Leaving Facebook

This first half of the episode was originally recorded in March, abruptly ended, and then was not completed until April due to scheduling.

It’s been reported that Cambridge Analytica has improperly taken and used data from Facebook users in an improper manner, an event which has called into question the way that Facebook handles data. David Shanske and I discuss some of the implications from an IndieWeb perspective and where you might go if you decide to leave Facebook.

Show Notes

Articles

The originating articles that kicked off the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica issue:

Related articles and pages

Recent Documented Facebook Quitters

Jonathan LaCourEddie Hinkle, Natalie Wolchover, Cher, Tea Leoni, Adam McKay, Leo Laporte,and Jim Carrey

New York Times Profile of multiple quitters: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/technology/users-abandon-facebook.html

IndieWeb Wiki related pages of interest

Potential places to move to when leaving Facebook

You’ve made the decision to leave Facebook? Your next question is likely to be: to move where? Along with the links above, we’ve compiled a short list of IndieWeb-related places that might make solid options.

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👓 Wavelength for Micro.blog | Manton.org

Read Wavelength for Micro.blog by Manton Reece (manton.org)

We have something really big to announce today. Micro.blog now supports hosting short-form podcasts, also known as microcasts, with a companion iPhone app called Wavelength for recording, editing, and publishing episodes.

Micro.blog is about making short-form content you own as simple to post as a tweet because we believe blogging should be easier. Podcasting should be easier too.

Wavelength looks like a cool new app in the podcasting space. While meant for growing category of microcasts, it portends some interesting things. I suspect this is just the start for something that will likely continue getting better over time.

Congrats Manton!

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🔖 Génération IndieWeb 4 et domaines hébergés | xtof

Bookmarked Génération IndieWeb 4 et domaines hébergés by xtof (xtof.micro.blog)
Why join us on Micro.blog?
Because there is too little French on the indieweb! And that Micro.blog is a great way to get started easily on the IndieWeb regardless of your generation.

Français

Une jolie traduction en français de la post IndieWeb génération 4 et des domaines hébergés de Manton Reece avec quelques réflexions supplémentaires sur l’utilisation de micro.blog en tant que plateforme alimentée par IndieWeb.

Si vous parlez français, rejoignez Christophe Ducamp (micro.blog) et d’autres dans la communauté IndieWeb et sur micro.blog.

English

A nice French translation of Manton Reece’s post IndieWeb generation 4 and hosted domains followed by some additional thoughts on using micro.blog as an IndieWeb powered platform.

If you speak French, do join Christophe Ducamp (micro.blog) and others in the IndieWeb community and on micro.blog.​​​​​​​​

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