I’ve been reading about sketchnotes for a bit this past week. As a first experiment I created some sketchnotes for a short talk on syndication in social media I prepared a while back. Here’s to hoping that no one ends up taking the actual spiral down to POOSNOW with their own social media presence.
After the Webmention session last weekend, I was inspired to revisit a quirk of Micro.blog’s Webmention implementation. Bridgy is an IndieWeb-friendly service commonly used to forward tweet replies via Webmention. If you were using Bridgy to connect your blog to Twitter, Micro.blog had been essent...
A Metacrap Problem
It’s metacrap–I know, I know–but I’ve been thinking about easy ways to use Open Graph Protocol meta data to add contextual Twitter cards to some of my content when syndicating posts to Twitter. My goal is to leverage the speed and ease-of-use of Micropub clients while doing as little as possible manually, but achieving as much parity between posts on multiple sites.
I’m particularly keen to do this to syndicate/share more of the articles I read and post about on my site without adding additional manual work on my own part.
Outline of Some Resources
The Post Kinds plugin for WordPress parses URLs for me and pulls in data to create reply contexts for a variety of posts like bookmarks, reads, watches, listens, etc. Since Post Kinds doesn’t display featured images (yet), I’ve also been using the External Featured Image plugin to display the featured images from the original to add to the reply context of my posts as well.
In addition to all these I’ve been using the All in One SEO plugin to easily add an SEO layer to posts without having to do much thinking about it. AIOSEO recently upgraded their UI and features in the last year, and yesterday I upgraded to the newest v4.0+. One of the new features it’s got is the ability to add default fields or pull in pre-existing custom fields to output OGP meta data.
Start of a Solution
So I got the idea that since Post Kinds and External Featured Image plugins are pulling in and displaying the sort of data I’d like to show in Twitter cards, I figured why not use them? While metacrap is a DRY violation, the fact that it’s automated for me and is based on data I’m actually showing visually on my website makes it feel much less dirty. It also has the benefit that it helps make some of my syndicated content look and feel on Twitter, more like it does on my website. This is also a problem since Twitter hampers how much data I can syndicate in a single post.
I’ve still got some issues about how to deal with the Post Kinds data, but after a bit of digging around, I discovered the image URL for External Featured Image plugin is hiding in the
_dcms_eufi_img field. So I can make the default Twitter settings in AIOSEO pull the external image by setting
Default Post Image Source to
Image from Custom Field and set the
Post Custom Field Name to
Since a lot of my posts are reads, bookmarks, etc., this works well, but I can easily override the settings for articles or other custom posts which I make less frequently.
Hopefully I can figure out the settings for Post Kinds to get the rest of the default fields to map across. I’m happy to hear ideas on what field names I’d need to use to get the Post Kinds
Summary/Quote fields to map over for the
og:description respectively. Ideally I can manage to get it done without needing to get a subscription to the pro version of AIOSEO which also has support for custom taxonomies which is how Post Kinds works.
Since my theme has relatively solid microformats support, and I have plugin infrastructure to allow easy syndication from my website to Twitter through micropub clients, this last bit for creating Twitter reply contexts helps close some of the loop for me in my syndication workflow while keeping as much context across platforms.
Here’s a visual example of a native post on my site and the corresponding syndicated copy on Twitter. There are some differences, mostly because I don’t have as much control of the appearance on Twitter as I do on my own site, but they’re about as close as I can get them with minimal work.
Italic Type is the simplest way to track your books, get trusted recommendations, and share the joy of reading with friends.
I’ll have to look into the ease/value of starting into yet-another book silo though. I’d only really use it if I can get it to dovetail with posting to my own website as a syndication target (POSSE), or if I can use it to syndicate to my own site (PESOS).
It’s hard to be nuanced in 280 characters. The Twitter character limit is a major factor of what can make it so much fun to use: you can read, publish, and interact, in extremely short, digestible chunks. But, it doesn’t fit every topic, ever time. Sometimes you want to talk about complex topics...
I’m hoping that future versions of this provide the Twitter permalinks for the syndicated copies there to be returned to my WordPress site for storage. In my case, I’m using the simple Syndication Links plugin which has storage and/or finds the storage location in WordPress to allow for the display of those permalinks in my post to indicate where I’ve syndicated the copies. This does two things: it’s a reminder of where my content lives elsewhere on the web (especially if I later want to go back and delete them, or to delete them if I’m deleting or making the original post private/unpublished) and it allows services like Brid.gy to find my original post and backfeed replies to the Twitter versions back into the comments section of my post using the Webmention spec (via the Webmention plugin and the Semantic Linkbacks plugin).
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There are lots of ways to syndicate content, some dependent on which platform(s) you’re using and where you’re syndicating to/from. Your best bet is to swing by the IndieWeb Dev chat and ask that very question.
Theorem: Syndication is easy.
Proof: “It’s easy to show” (I’m waving my hands here) that there are a lot of assumptions and baggage that go with the word “easiest.” ∎
I’ve personally found there’s generally an inverse relationship between ease/simplicity of syndication and control over exact display for most platforms. You could go low-fi and pipe your feed into something like IFTTT/Zapier for cross-posting all the way up to customized integration with available APIs for each platform. Many take a middle-of-the-road approach that I notice Jeremy recommended as I’m writing this.
The cross-posting wiki page will give you some useful terminology and definitions which may help you decide on how to syndicate what/where. Based on the context of the URL in your Twitter profile, the IndieWeb wiki pages for static site generator and syndication will give you some ideas and options to think about and explore.
Some of the pages about specific static site generators will give you some code and ideas for how to implement syndication. For example Max Böck has an article Indieweb pt1: Syndicating Content to Twitter, which is Eleventy and Twitter specific, but which could likely be modified for your purposes. SSGs may have some specific peculiarities for syndication that I’m not as familiar with coming from the more dynamic side of the fence.
Since you indicate a language preference for your current site, there’s also a page for Flask with a few users noted there. You might ask Fluffy (usually around in chat) for some advice as I know she syndicates to a few platforms and may have some ideas or even tools/code to share from the Flask perspective.
(p.s.: Great Twitter handle!)
I think some of the POSSE (Post on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) model may work to smooth some of this over. For example, I can write my response to everyone on my own WordPress site and fairly easily syndicate it to Twitter to have the best of both worlds.
If this weekend isn’t convenient, let’s host a pop-up session or mini-conference in a bit to discuss it and see what we can hack together.
I’m waiting for people to start documenting examples of owning their knitting on their websites and syndicating to/from Ravelry. #IndieWebKnittingChallenge