Replied to a tweet by Martha BurtisMartha Burtis (Twitter)
I want it all too! If you’d like to join us at IndieWebCamp this weekend (free online), let’s have a session there to brainstorm how we can have our cakes and eat them too.

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.


Replied to a post by Brett KosinskiBrett Kosinski (The “B” Ark)
Taking back control of my content, I’m pulling my (modest) book reviews from Goodreads back to my blog. An underrated favourite of mine is Last Chance to See by the astounding Douglas Adams. #ownyourdata

Congrats! I love the increasing number of people I’ve seen even in the last few days working on this! Are you using to post to your website?

I’m waiting for people to start documenting examples of owning their knitting on their websites and syndicating to/from Ravelry. #​IndieWebKnittingChallenge 

Courtesy of the fantastic web magic of Ryan Barrett‘s and the hard work of Jamie Tanna to create the integration, I can now post my RSVPs for events directly on my WordPress website and syndicate (POSSE) my response to Meetup!

Hooray for open web standards and the IndieWeb! 🎉

Replied to tweets by Bill Seitz and chronology samhjao mereko (Twitter)
#​TeamPESOS or #​TeamPOSSE?

As long as you’re not #​TeamPOOSNOW. #​OwnYourData

Manual Backfeed in the Blogosphere

Forcing webmentions for conversations on websites that don’t support Webmention

Within the IndieWeb community there is a process called backfeed which is the process of syndicating interactions on your syndicated (POSSE) copies back (AKA reverse syndicating) to your original posts. As it’s commonly practiced, often with the ever helpful service, it is almost exclusively done with social media silos like Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Github, and Mastodon. This is what allows replies to my content that I’ve syndicated to Twitter, for example, to come back and live here on my website.

Why not practice this with other personal websites? This may become increasingly important in an ever growing and revitalizing blogosphere as people increasingly eschew corporate social sites and their dark patterns of tracking, manipulative algorithmic feeds, and surveillance capitalism. It’s also useful for sites whose owners may not have the inclination, time, effort, energy or expertise to support the requisite technology.

I’ve done the following general reply pattern using what one might call manual backfeed quite a few times now (and I’m sure a few others likely have too), but I don’t think I’ve seen it documented anywhere as a common IndieWeb practice. As a point of fact, my method outlined below is really only half-manual because I’m cleverly leveraging incoming webmentions to reduce some of the work.

Manually syndicating my replies

Sometimes when using my own website to reply to another that doesn’t support the W3C’s Webmention spec, I’ll manually syndicate (a fancy way of saying cut-and-paste) my response to the website I’m responding to. In these cases I’ll either put the URL of my response into the body of my reply, or in sites like WordPress that ask for my website URL, I’ll use that field instead. Either way, my response appears on their site with my reply URL in it (sometimes I may have to wait for my comment to be moderated if the receiving site does that).

Here’s the important part: Because my URL appears on the receiving site (sometimes wrapped as a link on either my name or the date/time stamp depending on the site’s user interface choices), I can now use it to force future replies on that site back to my original via webmention! My site will look for a URL pointing back to it to verify an incoming webmention on my site.

Replies from a site that doesn’t support sending Webmentions

Once my comment appears on the receiving site, and anyone responds to it, I can take the URL (with fragment) for those responses, and manually input them into my original post’s URL reply box. This will allow me to manually force a webmention to my post that will show up at minimum as a vanilla mention on my website. 

The manual webmention box and button that appear on all my posts.

(Note, if your site doesn’t have a native box like this for forcing manual webmentions, you might try external tools like Aaron Parecki’s Telegraph or Kevin Mark’s Mention.Tech, which are almost as easy. For those who are more technical, cURL is an option as well.)

Depending on the microformats mark up of the external site, the mention may or may not have an appropriate portion for the response and/or an avatar/name. I can then massage those on my own site (one of the many benefits of ownership!) so that the appropriate data shows, and I can change the response type from a “mention” to a “reply” (or other sub-types as appropriate). Et voilà, with minimal effort, I’ve got a native looking reply back on my site from a site that does not support Webmention! This is one of the beautiful things of even the smallest building-blocks within the independent web or as a refrain some may wish to sing–“small pieces, loosely joined”!

This method works incredibly well with WordPress websites in particular. In almost all cases the comments on them will have permalink URLs (with fragments) to target the individual pieces, often they’ve got reasonable microformats for specifying the correct h-card details, and, best of all, they have functionality that will send me an email notification when others reply to my portion of the conversation, so I’m actually reminded to force the webmentions manually.

An Illustrative Example

As an example, I posted on my website that I’d read an article on Matt Maldre’s site along with a short comment. Since Matt (currently) doesn’t support either incoming or outgoing webmentions, I manually cut-and-pasted my reply to the comment section on his post. I did the same thing again later with an additional comment on my site to his (after all, why start a new separate conversation thread when I can send webmentions from my comments section and keep the context?).

Matt later approved my comments and posted his replies on his own website. Because his site is built on WordPresss, I got email notifications about his replies, and I was able to use the following URLs with the appropriate fragments of his comments in my manual webmention box:

After a quick “massage” to change them from “mentions” into “replies” and add his gravatar, they now live on my site where I expect them and in just the way I’d expect them to look if he had Webmention support on his website.

I’ll mention that, all of this could be done in a very manual cut-and-paste manner–even for two sites, neither of which have webmention support.  But having support for incoming webmentions on one’s site cuts back significantly on that manual pain.

For those who’d like to give it a spin, I’ll also mention that I’ve similarly used the incredibly old refbacks concept in the past as a means of notification from other websites (this can take a while) and then forced manual webmentions to get better data out of them than the refback method allows.

Read Add review to Goodreads from Schema markup by Terence Eden (Terence Eden’s Blog)
I write book reviews on my blog. I also want to syndicate them to Goodreads. Sadly, Goodreads doesn't natively read the markup I so carefully craft. So here's the scrap of code I use to syndicate my reviews.Goodreads API Keys Get your Keys from You will ...
Read Eliminating the Human by David ByrneDavid Byrne (MIT Technology Review)
We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.
This piece makes a fascinating point about people and interactions. It’s the sort of thing that many in the design and IndieWeb communities should read and think about as they work.

I came to it via an episode of the podcast The Happiness Lab.

The consumer technology I am talking about doesn’t claim or acknowledge that eliminating the need to deal with humans directly is its primary goal, but it is the outcome in a surprising number of cases. I’m sort of thinking maybe it is the primary goal, even if it was not aimed at consciously.

Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:35AM

Most of the tech news we get barraged with is about algorithms, AI, robots, and self-driving cars, all of which fit this pattern. I am not saying that such developments are not efficient and convenient; this is not a judgment. I am simply noticing a pattern and wondering if, in recognizing that pattern, we might realize that it is only one trajectory of many. There are other possible roads we could be going down, and the one we’re on is not inevitable or the only one; it has been (possibly unconsciously) chosen.

Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:36AM

What I’m seeing here is the consistent “eliminating the human” pattern.

This seems as apt a name as any.
Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:39AM

“Social” media: This is social interaction that isn’t really social. While Facebook and others frequently claim to offer connection, and do offer the appearance of it, the fact is a lot of social media is a simulation of real connection.

Perhaps this is one of the things I like most about the older blogosphere and it’s more recent renaissance with the IndieWeb idea of Webmentions, a W3C recommendation spec for online interactions? While many of the interactions I get are small nods in the vein of likes, favorites, or reposts, some of them are longer, more visceral interactions.

My favorite just this past week was a piece that I’d worked on for a few days that elicited a short burst of excitement from someone who just a few minutes later wrote a reply that was almost as long as my piece itself.

To me this was completely worth the effort and the work, not because of the many other smaller interactions, but because of the human interaction that resulted. Not to mention that I’m still thinking out a reply still several days later.

This sort of human social interaction also seems to be at the heart of what Manton Reece is doing with By leaving out things like reposts and traditional “likes”, he’s really creating a human connection network to fix what traditional corporate social media silos have done to us. This past week’s episode of Micro Monday underlines this for us. (#)
Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:52AM

Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist at USC wrote about a patient he called Elliot, who had damage to his frontal lobe that made him unemotional. In all other respects he was fine—intelligent, healthy—but emotionally he was Spock. Elliot couldn’t make decisions. He’d waffle endlessly over details. ­Damasio concluded that although we think decision-­making is rational and machinelike, it’s our emotions that enable us to actually decide.

Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:56AM

And in the meantime, if less human interaction enables us to forget how to cooperate, then we lose our advantage.

It may seem odd, but I think a lot of the success of the IndieWeb movement and community is exactly this: a group of people has come together to work and interact and increase our abilities to cooperate to make something much bigger, more diverse, and more interesting than any of us could have done separately.
Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:58AM

Remove humans from the equation, and we are less complete as people and as a society.

Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 10:59AM

A version of this piece originally appeared on his website,

This piece seems so philosophical, it seems oddly trivial that I see this note here and can’t help but think about POSSE and syndication.
Annotated on January 22, 2020 at 11:01AM

Replied to a tweet by curried apotheosiscurried apotheosis (Twitter)
I do something like this on my own website. Post issues there so I can own the data (and tags) and control the details and notes and syndicate a copy to GitHub. I’ve documented some of it here: Enabling two way communication with WordPress and GitHub for Issues. Others have done it as well: I’m sure there are other ways of doing this, but it works well for me and just for the reasons you describe.

If others want to see my details, the’re available on my site (when I make them public), but they’re primarily for my benefit and not others. The public copy conforms to the silo’s requirements and can be modified by the repo owners, if necessary. 

Bookmarked at 2020/01/10 9:51:41 pm

Bookmarked (
The quick and easy way to upload your MP3 to YouTube
A useful tool for crossposting audio to YouTube. Perhaps for podcasters who might also like to take advantage of Youtube’s transcription service.
Read 24 дня индивеба: Прагматизм by Tim (
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved i...
Replied to a tweet by Rachel CherryRachel Cherry (Twitter)

I’m definitely curious what you come up with! There are so many syndication options and I’m always on the look out for better/more standardized methods. (Of course, nothing beats the feed directly from the source…)

Once you have posting out done, are you going to work on backfeed to have the responses to your posts on Twitter come back to aggregate the conversation on the original site? Perhaps using Webmention and

❤️ bamadesigner tweeted I finally got tired of not finding exactly what I want out of social media automation and started building my own system. So, basically that means the @wpcampusorg account will be excessively tweeting a tad bit over the next few days while I tweak the algorithm. :)

Liked a tweet by Rachel CherryRachel Cherry (Twitter)

👓 An Alternative to the Corporate Web | Cathie LeBlanc

Read An Alternative to the Corporate Web by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life: Media, Technology, and Education)
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.
A great article and good overview, particularly within the broader context of several of her recent pieces on the broader topic.

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.