Possibly worse(?!), that total posting number is up from 1,762 public posts in 2017. I can only attribute the increase in quantity to the ability to increasingly easily post to my site via micropub clients and some simple bookmarklets I use in conjunction with David Shanske’s brilliant Post Kinds plugin. G-d bless the IndieWeb and its tremendously helpful community for helping me take back ownership of my digital online life. I can only imagine how much higher that number goes this coming year if I can manage to build a Microsub set up and indie reader into my website and make the entire processes even more friction-less.
I unwittingly spent a few minutes last night on cleaning up some plumbing on my back end that will make it easier to follow up (when necessary) on likes, reads, and bookmarks that I collect.
I can’t bear to go through and count the number of private posts for the year, but I will say that having my own online searchable database of things I’ve written, replied to, bookmarked, read, listened to, watched, annotated, etc. has been incredibly useful over the past few years.
I’ve been playing around with Metabase to view a few stats about my website. frequency and spikes
It was fun to look at the frequency of my posts over time – you see quite a prominent spike around March and April 2017, and then there’s a slowish decline in frequency until around August/Septemb...
I should look at the data for posting on my own site to see what the underlying mechanisms may be. Of course just the move to own all of my online posting and the general ideas behind IndieWeb, but before looking at data, I suspect most of it is related to bookmarklets for Post Kinds being so simple to use.
I haven’t really delved into microsub yet, but I suspect it’s going to have an even more profound effect on my reading and posting habits.
It may still be a while before I can make the leap I’d love to make to using Microsub related technology to replace my daily feed reader habits. I know that several people are working diligently on a Microsub server for WordPress and there are already a handful of reader interfaces available. I’m particularly interested in the fact that I can use a reader interface integrated with Micropub so that my reactions in the reader (likes, bookmarks, replies, etc.) are posted back to my own personal website which will then send notifications (via Webmention) to the mentioned websites. Of course it’s going to take some time before I’m using it and even more time after that for the set up to become common and easy to use for others. So until then, I and others will need some tools to use right now.
Toward this end I thought I’d double down on my use of Inoreader in my daily web consumption workflows. I wanted to make it easier to use my feed reader to post all these types of posts to my website which will still handle the notifications. In some sense, instead of relying on a feed reader supporting Micropub, I’ll use other (older) methods for making the relevant posts. As I see it, there are two potential possibilities using Inoreader:
(1) using a service like IFTTT (free) or Zapier (paid) to take the post intents and send them to my WordPress site, or
(2) using the custom posting interface in Inoreader in conjunction with post editor URL schemes with the Post Kinds plugin to create the posts. Using WordPress’ built-in Post This bookmarklet schemes could also be used to make these posts, but Post Kinds plugin offers a lot more metadata and flexibility.
If This Then That (IFTTT)
Below is a brief outline of some of the IFTTT recipes I’ve used to take data from posts I interact with in Inoreader and post them to my own website.
IFTTT has an explicit like functionality with a one click like button. There is an IFTTT recipe which allows taking this datum and adding it directly as a WordPress post with lots of rich data. The “then that” portion of IFTTT using WordPress allows some reasonable functionality for porting over data.
IFTTT also has explicit favorite functionality using a one click starred article button. There is an IFTTT recipe which allows adding this directly as a WordPress post.
Since the “starred” article isn’t defined specifically in Inoreader as a “favorite”, one could alternately use it to create “read” or “bookmark” posts on their WordPress websites. I’m tempted to try this for read posts as I probably wouldn’t often use it to create favorite posts on my own website. Ultimately one at least wants an easy-to-remember 1 to 1 mapping of pieces of functionality in Inoreader to their own website, so whatever I decide I’ll likely stick to it.
While there is no specific functionality for creating bookmarks in Inoreader (though starred articles could be used this way as previously mentioned), there is a “saved webpage” functionality that could be used here in addition to an IFTTT recipe to port over the data to WordPress.
While Inoreader has a common feed reader read/unread functionality, it is often not used tacitly and this is a means of reducing friction within the application. Not really wanting to muddle the meaning of the “starred” article to do it, I’ve opted to adding an explicit “read” tag on posts I’ve read.
IFTTT does have a “New tagged article” recipe that will allow me to take articles in Inoreader with my “read” tag and post them to my website. It’s pretty simple and easy.
For dealing with replies, there is an odd quirk within Inoreader. Confoundingly the feed reader has two similar, yet still very different commenting functionalities. One is explicitly named “comment”, but sadly there isn’t a related IFTTT trigger nor an RSS feed to take advantage of the data one puts into the comment functionality. Fortunately there is a separate “broadcast” functionality. There is an IFTTT recipe for “new broadcasted article” that will allow one to take the reply/comment and post it to one’s WordPress website.
Like many of the above there is a specific IFTTT recipe that will allow one to add subscriptions directly to WordPress as posts, so that any new subscriptions (or follows) within the Inoreader interface can create follow posts! I doubt many people may use this recipe, but it’s awesome that it exists. Currently anything added to my blogrolls (aka Following Page) gets ported over to Inoreader via OPML subscription, so I’m curious if them being added that way will create these follow posts? And if so, is there a good date/time stamp for these? I still have to do some experimenting to see exactly how this is going to work.
RSS feed-based functionality
In addition to the IFTTT recipe functionality described above, one could also use IFTTT RSS functionality to pipe RSS feeds which Inoreader provides (especially via tags) into a WordPress website. I don’t personally use this sort of set up, but thought I’d at least mention it in passing so that anyone who might like to create other post types to their website could.
Custom posting in Inoreader with Post Kinds Plugin
If using a third-party service like IFTTT isn’t your cup of tea, Inoreader also allows custom sharing options. (There are also many pre-built ones for Facebook, Twitter, etc. and they’re also re-orderable as well.) I thus used WordPress’ post editor URL schemes to send the data I’d like to have from the original post to my own website. Inoreader actually has suggestions in their UI for how to effectuate this generically on WordPress. While this is nice, I’m a major user of the Post Kinds Plugin which allows me a lot more flexibility to post likes, bookmarks, favorites, reads, replies, etc. with the appropriate microformats and much richer metadata. Post Kinds has some additional URL structures which I’ve used in addition to the standard WordPress ones to take advantage of this. This has allowed me to create custom buttons for reads, bookmarks, replies, likes, and listens. With social sharing functionality in Inoreader enabled, each article in Inoreader has a sharing functionality in the bottom right corner that has a configuration option which brings up the following interface:
Once made, these custom button icons appear at the bottom of every post in Inoreader, so, for example, if I want to reply to a post I’ve just read, I can click on the reply button which will open a new browser window for a new post on my website. The Post Kinds plugin on my site automatically pulls in the URL of the original post, parses that page and–where available–pulls in the title, synopsis, post date/time, the author, author URL, author photo, and a featured photo as well as automatically setting the specific post kind and post format. A lot of this data helps to create a useful reply context on my website. I can then type in my reply to the post and add any other categories, tags, or data I’d like in my admin interface. Finally I publish the post which sends notifications to the original post I read (via Webmention).
Conclusion and future
With either of the above set ups, there are a few quick and easy clicks to create my posts and I’m done. Could it be simpler? Yes, but it likely won’t be much more until I’ve got a fully functional Microsub server and reader up and working.
Of course, I also love Inoreader and its huge variety of features and great usability. While I’m patiently awaiting having my own WordPress Microsub server, I certainly wouldn’t mind it if Inoreader decided to add some IndieWeb functionality itself. Then perhaps I wouldn’t need to make the switch in the near future.
What would this look like? It could include the ability to allow me to log into Inoreader using my own website using IndieAuth protocol. It could also add Micropub functionality to allow me to post all these things directly and explicitly to my website in an easier manner. And finally, if they really wanted to go even further, they could make themselves a Microsub server that enables me to use any one of several Microsub clients to read content and post to my own website. And of course the benefit to Inoreader is that if they support these open internet specifications, then their application not only works with WordPress sites with the few appropriate plugins, but Inoreader will also work with a huge variety of other content management systems that support these specs as well.
Whether or not Inoreader supports these protocols, there is a coming wave of new social feed readers that will begin to close many of these functional gaps that made RSS difficult. I know things will slowly, but eventually get better, simpler, and easier to use. Soon posting to one’s website and doing two way communication on the internet via truly social readers will be a reality, and one that’s likely to make it far easier to eschew the toxicity and problems of social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve been (slowly) pecking away at trying to own all of this type of data on my own website. It sounds like what you’re hoping for is a cross between Derek Sifford’s Academic Blogger’s Toolkit which has a pretty slick WordPress interface for looking up and importing references and David Shanske’sPost Kinds Plugin which allows one to create specific post types like bookmarks, reads, notes, highlights, annotations, etc.
I think if Academic Blogger’s Toolkit could create an internal database within WordPress and an interface to allow you to easily import/export it as well as use it within your own instance, that might be the simplest solution to have ownership over all of one’s reference data. The Post Kinds plugin would give you the rest including the ability to hide your posts as private just to you or others granted access on your site.
Because Post Kinds and Post Formats are not one-to-one or onto functions, doing the mapping in both directions is difficult, but when posting using a Post Kinds first method, you should be able to set the Post Formats you prefer. There are some useful defaults within the plugin, but they can be manually changed in the code available in the class-kind-taxonomy file in a relatively obvious way. In my case, while the mapping of “notes” to “asides” is a useful one, I prefer them to map to “status” for my current theme, so I just manually change that one word in the code to reflect my particular preference.
There’s a lot hiding under the hood if you want to tinker in the code. If you have issues or feature requests, I know that the developer David Shanske is very receptive to feedback towards improving the set up. (And similarly for almost all of the IndieWeb-related plugins which can be found on GitHub.)
Richard MacManus wrote about the state of feed readers as he saw it in his AltPlatform.org post titled “The state of feed readers”. He mentioned a couple things in his Feedly wishlist that prompted me to think more about what I’d like to see added to Feedly.
Feedly and custom sharing
Apparently there were a bunch of us thinking and writing about feed readers and the open web a year ago last June. Several week’s prior to Richard’s article, I’d written a piece for Richard’s now defunct AltPlatform entitled Feed reader revolution(now archived on my site), which laid out some pieces similar to Paul’s take here, though it tied in some more of what was then the state of the art in IndieWeb tech.
Around that time I began tinkering with other feed readers including Inoreader, which I’ve been using for it’s ability to auto-update my RSS feeds using OPML subscriptions from the OPML files I maintain on my own website. Currently I’m more interested in what the Microsub specification is starting to surface in the feed reader space.
I’m not sure if he’s played around with it since, but, like Paul, I was using some of the Press This bookmarklet functionality in conjunction with David Shanske’s Post Kinds plugin for WordPress to make posting snippets of things to my website easier.
Feedly has a Pro (aka paid) functionality to allow one to share content using custom URLs.
While one can use the Share to WordPress URL functionality, I’d recommend the Custom Sharing feature. Using the Post Kinds plugin, one can use the following example URL to quickly share things from their Feedly account to their personal website:
One should change the URL to reflect their own site, and one can also change the word “bookmark” to the appropriate desired kind including “like”, “favorite”, “read”, or any of the others they may have enabled within the Post Kinds plugin.
I personally don’t use this method as it only allows one custom sharing URL (and thus allows only one post kind), and instead (again) prefer Inoreader which allows one to configure custom sharing similarly to Feedly, but doesn’t limit the number of kinds and the feature is available in their free tier as well.
Also like Paul, I was greatly interested in quickly creating highlights and annotations on web content and posting them to my own website. Here I’m using a modified version of the Post Kinds plugin to accomplish this having created highlight posts and annotation posts for my site. Next I’m utilizing the ability to prepend http://via.hypothes.is to URLs on my mobile phone to call up the ability to use my Hypothesis account to easily and quickly create highlights and annotations. I then use some details from the outline linked below to capture that data via RSS using IFTTT.com.
Naturally, the process could be streamlined a lot from a UI perspective, but I think it provides some fairly nice results without a huge amount of work.
Images then & now, that represents how I feel about this class…
I like the ideas of some of these images. Even more interesting to me than the ponderance itself is that Kat has gotten the start of an h-card up on her website! I can see her name and photo now! She’s got a bit more human understandable identity.
This also means that when we use Post Kinds to reply to her, the built-in parser will find her name and photo automatically.
I do notice that it’s missing picking up her website URL properly. I suspect it’s because she left her user profile’s Website field (located at http://kasem-beg.com/wp-admin/profile.php#url) empty.
Keep in mind that you can click on the “Details” and the “Author” tabs in Post Kinds to add all sorts of additional data to flesh out the reply context for your posts. In particular many posts don’t include metadata for the Author details, but when you’re doing a quote post, it can add some additional richness to your context.
As an example, I modified the Author data for this particular post so that it shows Dr. McVerry created it and included both a photo avatar of him as well as a link to his website.
If you have some coding capabilities and want to go all-in on gaining more control over the reply contexts that Post Kinds allows, I’ve written up an outline for doing so. (I’d recommend waiting to play with it after class is over though!)
To some extent my IndieWeb Collection/Research page has a lot of these “backstage” type posts for those who are interested. As part of the IndieWeb community, I’ve been documenting how and what I’ve been doing on my site for a while, hopefully these backstage posts will help other educators follow in my path without need to blaze as much of it anew for themselves.
Backstage posts are in actuality a very IndieWeb thing:
As we discover new ways to do things, we can document the crap out of them. —IndieWeb.org
I might have gone the step further and put the Dewey portion in the Author tab and then put the source of the quote into the name field instead, but the output is still pretty solid, though some of the wrapped metadata that the plugin provides will be slightly off.
indieweb-post-kinds - adds support for responding to and interacting with other sites using the standards developed by the Indieweb Community
Perhaps I’m missing a setting somewhere, but since I’ve gotten OwnYourSwarm working (using JSON as opposed to the “Simple” setting, the post data arrives as expected, however, Post Kinds is defaulting the post to be a note instead of a checkin as I would expect. (In general, I would think that all posts arriving from OYS would always default to be checkins despite the fact that they may have note-like content as well as photos.)
In the settings on my site, I’ve even got the “Default Kind for New Posts” set to checkin, as I use it often, yet the posts still show up as a note.
Ideas about what may be missing or going wrong?
As a small caveat, I’ll note that this install is running Post Kinds Version 3.0.6, but I suspect that nothing has changed since about June that might fix or affect this issue.
Looks like I’ve finally got IndieAuth and my headers working with OwnYourSwarm properly and have checkin data being PESOSed from Swarm/FourSquare to my website now. Hooray!
I still have a few minor tweaks to get things working properly with Post Kinds to display everything correctly, but I feel like I’m almost there. Next we’ll have to delve back to May sometime when my system between IndieAuth and OwnYourCheckin fell apart.
Still have my fingers half-crossed that I don’t botch anything up…
I ran across this article when searching to see if the ‘post kinds’ plugin for WordPress allowed for a way to view posts by kind. And it does! While I was there, this post from Chris Aldrich kinda opened my eyes to the many cool things you can do with this. #IndieWeb !
Glad you seem to have gotten it all working Glenn!
Yesterday after discovering it on Xavier Roy’s site I was reminded that the Post Kinds Plugin is built on a custom taxonomy and, as a result, has the ability to output its taxonomy in typical WordPress Tag Cloud widget. I had previously been maintaining/displaying a separate category structure for Kinds, which I always thought was a bit much in my category area. While it’s personally nice to have the metadata, I didn’t like how it made the categories so overwhelming and somehow disjointed.