We are proud to announce that Distributor has exited beta and is now openly available. Distributor is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to syndicate and reuse content across your websites—whether in a single multisite network or across the web with the REST API. With Distributor, content creators can "push" or "pull" content [...]
The #IndieWeb community has been working on this for a while. There’s even a service called Brid.gy to help enact it. At the same time, as Ben Werdmüller indicates, we need to be careful not to put too much reliance on silos’ APIs which can, and obviously will, be pulled out from underneath us at any moment.
As any kindergartner can tell you, “It’s difficult to play ball when the local bully owns the ball and wants to make up their own rules or leave in a huff.”
One of the things I love about IndieWeb is that we’re all trying to create a way for balls to be roughly standardized and mass manufactured so that everyone can play regardless of what the bully wants to do or what equipment people bring to the game.1
And as Nikhil Sonnad has reminded us very recently, we also need more than just connections, we need actual caring and thinking human interaction.2
Just a quick note: ostensibly to fight algorithmic propaganda, Facebook is shutting off API access to publish to profiles tomorrow. I expect other platforms to follow. That's completely their right. The indieweb has this intrinsic idea of Publishing on your Own Site, Syndicating Elsewhere: automatic...
I’ve written about threading comments from one WordPress website to another before. I’ve long suspected this type of thing could be done with Twitter, but never really bothered with it or necessarily needed to do it, though I’ve often seen cases where others might have wanted to do this.
For a post today, I wrote on my own site and syndicated it to Twitter and got a reply back via webmention through Brid.gy. This process happens for me almost every day, and this all by itself feels magical. The real magic however, and I don’t think I’ve done this before or seen it done, was that I replied to the backfed comment on my site inline and manually syndicated to Twitter using a permalink of the form
http://www.example.com/standard-permalink-structure/?replytocom=57527#respond, where 57527 is the particular comment ID for my inline comment. (This comment ID can typically be found by hovering over the “Reply” or “Comment” button on one’s WordPress website in most browsers.)
I’ve now got a nested copy of the conversation on my site that is identical to the one on Twitter.
I suspect that by carefully choosing the URL structure you syndicate to Twitter, you’ll allow yourself more control over how backfed comments from Brid.gy nest (or don’t) in your response section on your site.
Perhaps even more powerfully, non-WordPress-based websites could also use these permalinks structures for composing their replies to WordPress sites to have their replies nest properly too. I think I’ve seen Aaron Parecki do this in the wild.
Since the WordPress Webmention plugin now includes functionality for sending webmentions directly from the comments section, I’ll have to double check that the microformats on my comments are properly marked up to see if I can start leveraging Brid.gy publish functionality to send threaded replies to Twitter automatically. Or perhaps work on something that will allow automatic replies via Twitter API. Hmmm…
Despite the fact that this could all be a bit more automated, the fact that one can easily do threaded replies between WordPress and Twitter makes me quite happy.
For more on my IndieWeb explorations with Twitter, see my IndieWeb Research page.
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.
A Domain of One's Own is an international initiative in higher education to give students and faculty more control over their personal data. The movement started at the University of Mary Washington in 2012, and has since grown to tens of thousands of faculty and students across hundreds of universities. The first part of this presentation (5-10 minutes) will provide a brief overview of how these Domains projects enable not only data portability for coursework, but also a reflective sense of what a digital identity might mean in terms of privacy and data ownership.
The second part of this presentation will explore how Domain of One's Own could provides a powerful example in how higher education could harness application programming interfaces (APIs) to build a more user-empowered data ecosystem at universities. The initial imaginings of this work has already begun at Brigham Young University in collaboration with Reclaim Hosting, and we will share a blueprint of what a vision of the Personal API could mean for a human-centric data future in the realm of education and beyond.
A short talk at the re:publica conference in Germany which touches on the intersection of the Domain of One’s Own which is very similar to the broader IndieWeb movement. POSSE makes a brief appearance at the end of the presentation, although just on a slide with an implicit definition rather than a more full-fledged discussion.
Toward the end, Groom makes mention of MyData, a Nordic Model for human-centered personal data management and processing, which I’d not previously heard of but which has some interesting resources which look like they might dovetail into some of what those in the IndieWeb are looking at. I’m curious if any of the folks in the EU like Sebastian Greger have come across them, and what their thoughts are on the idea/model they’ve proposed? It looks like they’ve got an interesting looking conference coming up at the end of August in Helsinki. There seems to be a white paper outlining a piece of their philosophy, which I’ll link to below:
MyData: A Nordic Model for human-centered personal data management and processing by Antti Poikola (t), Kai Kuikkaniemi (t), Harri Honko (t)
This white paper presents a framework, principles, and a model for a human-centric approach to the managing and processing of personal information. The approach – defined as MyData – is based on the right of individuals to access the data collected about them. The core idea is that individuals should be in control of their own data. The MyData approach aims at strengthening digital human rights while opening new opportunities for businesses to develop innovative personal data based services built on mutual trust.
Based on a quick overview, this is somewhat similar to a model I’ve considered and is reminiscent to some ideas I’ve been harboring about applications of this type of data to the journalism sphere as well.
Summary: Facebook has recently announced it will be shutting off its API access on August 1st for automating posts into its ecosystem. For a large number of users this means it will be much more difficult to crosspost or syndicate their content into the platform. As a result, this week David Shanske and I discuss the good and the bad of this move as well as some general thoughts around the ideas of syndicating content from one site to another.
David also discusses plans he’s got for changes to both the Bridgy Publish Plugin and the Syndication Links Plugin.
Related Articles and Posts
- New Facebook Platform Product Changes and Policy Updates
- Bridgy Publish for Facebook shuts down in August by Ryan Barrett (#)
- Buffer responds to syndication question, but then checks itself (#)
- I’m done with Syndication. Let’s help people be themselves on the web. by Ben Werdmuller (#)
- Deprecating and Replacing Bridgy Publish for WordPress by David Shanske (#)
Resources and mentions within the episode
- ThinkUp (#) — (my instance is still up,though no longer working!)
- BBC Audio Archive (#)
- IndieNews a community-curated list of articles relevant to the IndieWeb (#)
- Convoy a syndication tool for WithKnown (#)
- Faux-casts (#)
- Related IndieWeb wiki pages
- Related WordPress Plugins
# Indicates a direct link to the appropriate part of the audio within the episode for the mentioned portion.
I’ve decided to take a different direction for the Bridgy plugin for WordPress. I’ve never quite been able to explain to people it doesn’t actually do anything. It’s a user interface for the Bridgy service. I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to is to change the approach radically.
I noticed a few days ago that professor and writer John Naughton not only has his own website but that he’s posting both his own content to it as well as (excerpted) content he’s writing for other journalistic outlets, lately in his case for The Guardian. This is awesome for so many reasons. The primary reason is that I can follow him via his own site and get not only his personally posted content, which informs his longer pieces, but I don’t need to follow him in multiple locations to get the “firehose” of everything he’s writing and thinking about. While The Guardian and The Observer are great, perhaps I don’t want to filter through multiple hundreds of articles to find his particular content or potentially risk missing it? What if he was writing for 5 or more other outlets? Then I’d need to delve in deeper still and carry a multitude of subscriptions and their attendant notifications to get something that should rightly emanate from one location–him! While he may not be posting his status updates or Tweets to his own website first–as I do–I’m at least able to get the best and richest of his content in one place. Additionally, the way he’s got things set up, The Guardian and others are still getting the clicks (for advertising sake) while I still get the simple notifications I’d like to have so I’m not missing what he writes.
His site certainly provides an interesting example of either POSSE or PESOS in the wild, particularly from an IndieWeb for Journalism or even an IndieWeb for Education perspective. I suspect his article posts occur on the particular outlet first and he’s excerpting them with a link to that “original”. (Example: A post on his site with a link to a copy on The Guardian.) I’m not sure whether he’s (ideally) physically archiving the full post there on his site (and hiding it privately as both a personal and professional portfolio of sorts) or if they’re all there on the respective pages, but just hidden behind the “read more” button he’s providing. I will note that his WordPress install is giving a rel=”canonical“ link to itself rather than the version at The Guardian, which also has a rel=”canonical” link on it. I’m curious to take a look at how Google indexes and ranks the two pages as a result.
In any case, this is a generally brilliant set up for any researcher, professor, journalist, or other stripe of writer for providing online content, particularly when they may be writing for a multitude of outlets.
I’ll also note that I appreciate the ways in which it seems he’s using his website almost as a commonplace book. This provides further depth into his ideas and thoughts to see what sources are informing and underlying his other writing.
Alas, if only the rest of the world used the web this way…
I’m a big proponent of owning the data that you create. I use WordPress (of course) wherever I blog, and I use the Keyring Social Importers plugin to make backup copies of my Twitter updates and Foursquare checkins. And as of today, I am also syncing my Facebook updates back to a private WordPress blog using Keyring Social Importers. Not familiar with Keyring Social Importers? That’s too bad, it’s amazing. Install it, and within minutes, you can be importing data from any one of a dozen sites to your blog. Remember all of that data you put into Myspace/Jaiku/Bebo/Pownce and how it disappeared when the site shut down? Wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to save a copy of all of that? That’s what Keyring Social Importers makes possible.
I was kind of hoping for something slightly different when I searched for something and found this, but it is interesting for those who don’t know about Keyring Social Importers and it had an interesting comments section.
I was looking for something in the range of a bulk Facebook Importer to exit Facebook altogether whereas this solution keeps you addicted to it. I would classify it more of a PESOS solution than a POSSE solution.
What a fantastic breakdown of the concepts of POSSE vs. PESOS, though to be sure there are also additional variations for syndicating, cross-posting, or moving content around to reach various audiences.
One thing that I think you’ve only briefly touched upon is the ability to also have likes, replies/comments, etc. also come back to your site as native content via webmentions. I’ve been able to get rid of five apps and their incessant notifications and trim it all back to just using my own site to handle everything instead. Using something I choose to use instead of something I’m forced to, while also owning my data, is really very liberating.
Like you, I too have always wanted to own my own content on the web, and there are some easier and some harder methods. Not being as strong a developer as many, I’ve taken a more hybrid approach to things which is still evolving. To some extent I began at the easy end with some PESOS based workflows and relying on simple tools like IFTTT.com to at least begin owning all my content. For many content management systems, this is nearly dead easy, and could even be done with something as simple and flexible as Tumblr without much, if any, coding experience.
Over time, as I’ve been able, I’ve moved to a more direct POSSE method as either I or, more often, others have managed to master making the simple posting interfaces easier and easier. I think in the end, POSSE is the strongest of the methods, so that has always been my ultimate goal.
From a Drupal-centric approach, you might be able to gain an interesting perspective on the multitude of ways POSSE/PESOS can be done by looking at the various ways that are available in WordPress ecosystem. It’s probably easy to discern that some are far easier than others based on one’s facility with coding. In general, I’ve noticed that the more freedom and flexibility a particular method or plugin has, the longer it takes to code and/or configure. The less flexibility a plugin offers, the easier. (So one could compare something like SNAP at the more comprehensive/difficult end to something simpler like JetPack for POSSE.) The difficulty is in the administrative tax of keeping up with the panoply of social media platform APIs to keep things working smoothly over time, particularly when you want your posts to be able to leverage the broad arrays of posting options and display outputs platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer. The other difficult questions can sometimes be: am I just replacing one or two social platforms, or am I trying to replace 20? and am I doing them with one plugin or with 20? and finally, how DRY is that process? Sometimes manually cutting and pasting is just as good.
As you do, I write first and foremost for myself and then a distant second for reaction and conversation with others. Thus I think of my personal site as just that: personal. To some extent it’s a modern day version of a commonplace book where I collect a variety of thoughts in a variety of means, while still trying somewhat to keep it in an outer facing form to look what people might expect a site to look like. This means that I have a good number more than the traditional types of posts most social media sites have. I try to own all my own bookmarks and even post what I’m reading both online and in physical form. I keep highlights and annotations of things I find interesting. I naturally keep longer posts, status updates, and photos like many. I even log scrobbles of music and podcasts I listen to as well as film and television I watch. Interestingly there’s a tremendous amount I only publish privately to myself or a small circle of others that’s hidden on my site’s back end. Depending on how far and deep you want your experience to go you might want to consider how all these will look or be represented on your site. To a great extent, I think that WordPress’s attempt to copy Tumblr (text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video) with their Post Formats was interesting, it just didn’t go far enough. Naturally, this may take a different form for you depending on whether you’re building just for yourself or if you’re planning something more modular for the larger Drupal community to leverage.
The best part of all this is that I’ve not done any of it alone. While I try to maintain a list of some of my experiments to help others (you’ll probably appreciate the ones on mobile posting and RSS based on your outline), there’s also a wealth of other examples on the IndieWeb wiki and a terrifically stellar group of people around almost 24-7 in the IndieWeb chat to help spur me along. I’ll echo Tantek’s welcome to what I think is a more thoughtful and vibrant open web.
I hope others also find these resources so they’re not fumbling around in the dark as I was for so long. Since you’re obviously building in Drupal, I can recommend you take a look at some of the examples provided by the WordPress and the Known communities which Ben referenced. Since they’re all .php based and open-source, you may get further faster in addition to being able to iterate upon and improve their work. Many of the developers are frequently in the IndieWeb chat and I’m sure would be happy to help with ideas and pitfalls they came across along the way.
Like others, I’m posting my reply first on my own website, and manually cross-posting it to yours (manually until you support Webmention–perhaps via the Vinculum plugin?) as well as automatically to Twitter and others.