"The race to be wrong first is always live-tweeted."
I stopped using Facebook because I didn’t trust the people behind Facebook. I had grown weary of the sly and underhand tactics used to grow their network and was unwilling to remain part of it. But if I’m honest, I couldn’t trust myself either. Visiting Facebook would elicit behaviour you could only describe as stalking; trawling through the feeds of my friends, seeking out people I vaguely knew. I had better things to do with my time. Almost a decade later, I’m having similar thoughts about Twitter.
Back at IndieWebCamp Austin, I became enamored of adding additional methods of interacting with my website, particularly for those who weren’t already on the IndieWeb train. I’d seen these types of interactions already on Tantek Çelik’s site in the past, so naturally I figured I would start there.
Some basic searching revealed that in IndieWeb parlance, these types of functionalities are known as web actions. While they’re often added to make it easier for one site with the proper infrastructure to interact with another, they’re also designed for social web silos (Like Twitter, Facebook, et al.) to do this type of interaction simply as well.
As a small scale experiment, I thought I would begin manually and add some simple interface to allow Twitter users (who may not yet have their own websites to use to respond to me instead) to be able to quickly and easily reply to, repost, or like posts on my site. A little bit of reading on the wiki and Twitter’s developer site allowed me to leverage something into existence pretty quickly.
Interestingly, although there are many plugins that help users simply share a blog post to Twitter, I couldn’t easily find a WordPress plugin that already allows these other interactions as options at all. I suspect it may be because the other side of the interaction of bringing the replies back to one’s site isn’t commonly known yet.
<span class="syn-text">Respond via Twitter:
<li><a href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?in_reply_to=939650287622434816" target=""><img src="/reply-icon-16.png" alt="" width="16" height="11" /> Reply</a></li>
<li><a href="https://twitter.com/intent/retweet?tweet_id=939650287622434816" target=""><img src="/retweet-icon-16.png" alt="" width="16" height="10" /> Repost</a></li>
<li><a href="https://twitter.com/intent/favorite?tweet_id=939650287622434816" target=""><img src="/like-icon-16.png" alt="" width="16" height="16" /> Like</a></li>
And voila! My new post now had some simple buttons that allow users a simple one click interaction with a popup window to reply to, repost, or like my post.
Naturally, through the “magic” of Brid.gy, I’m able to collect these responses via backfeed with the Webmention protocol using the Webmention Plugin for WordPress back to my own website. In simpler and less technical terms, if you use one of these buttons, your interaction with my website as posted to Twitter comes back to live on my website. Thus users can use Twitter to write a comment or reply on Twitter and it will display in my comments section just as if they had written it directly in my comments box. Likes and reposts are sent to my site and are displayed relatively naturally as facepiles under the comment headings “Likes” and “Reposts”.
I’ll do another manual example with this particular post, so feel free to use the buttons at the bottom of this post to make your response via Twitter if you wish.
Taking some of this code and abstracting into a plugin for others to use would be a nice feature. Doing this would also potentially make it available as a potential plugin in the larger IndieWeb suite of WordPress plugins. Perhaps it could be easily added into the codebase in one or another pre-existing plugins? I might think that David Shanske’s Syndication Links plugin or Bridgy Publish plugin might make sense as they’re already adding functionality for part of the publishing half of the cycle by either publishing to Twitter and/or importing the Tweet ID back into one’s WordPress site for potential display. One or the other could do a simple if/then on the existence of a syndicated Tweet, then extract the Twitter ID, and add the buttons to the interface appropriately.
It would be interesting to add full mark up to make
<indie-action> functionality possible for a broader class of web actions, particularly if it could be integrated directly into WordPress in a more interesting manner to work with the Post Kinds Plugin or the IndieWeb PressThis type of bookmarklet functionality.
Instead of having these types of interactions injected at the bottom of the post, it may make more sense to have it display in the comment block instead.
I suspect that Facebook, Instagram, and others also enable some types of functionality, so adding the ability to use them the same way would be awesome. And even more so in the case of RSVP’s to events since Brid.gy handles those relatively well between Facebook and WordPress sites. (See this example.)
Try it yourself
Go ahead and use the buttons below to interact with this post via Twitter.Syndicated copies to:
Aaron, the process I use for taking longer streams of Tweets to own them (via PESOS) has Kevin Marks‘ excellent tool Noter Live at its core. Noter Live allows you to log in via Twitter and tweet(storm) from it directly. As its original intent was for live-tweeting at conferences and events, it has some useful built in tools for storing the names of multiple speakers (in advance, or even quickly on the fly) as well as auto-hashtagging your conversation. (I love it so much I took the time to write and contribute a user-manual.)
The best part is that it not only organically threads your tweets together into one continuing conversation, but it also gives you a modified output including the appropriate HTML and microformats classes so that you can cut and paste the entire thread and simply dump it into your favorite CMS and publish it as a standard blog post. (It also strips out the hashtags and repeated speaker references in a nice way.) With a small modification, you can also get your site to add hovercards to your post as well. I’ll also note in passing that it’s also been recently updated to support the longer 280 characters too.
The canonical version I use as an example of what this all looks like is this post: Notes from Day 1 of Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News | Thursday, October 13, 2016.
Another shorter tweetstorm which also has u-syndication links for all of the individual tweets can be found at Indieweb and Education Tweetstorm. This one has the benefit of pulling in all the resultant conversations around my tweetstorm with backfeed from Brid.gy, though they’re not necessarily threaded properly in the comments the way I would ultimately like. As you mention in the last paragraph that having the links to the syndicated copies would be useful, I’ll note that I’ve already submitted it as an issue to Noter Live’s GitHub repo. In some sense, the entire Twitter thread is connected, so having the original tweet URL gives you most of the context, though it isn’t enough for all of the back feed by common methods (Webmentions+Brid.gy) presently.
I’ll also note that I’ve recently heard from a reputable source about a WordPress specific tool called Publishiza that may be useful in this way, but I’ve not had the chance to play with it yet myself.
Clearly, you can embed Tweets, often by adding the URL. However, there are more and more people deleting their Tweets and if you embed something that is deleted, this content is then lost. (Not sure where this leaves Storify etc.)
It’s interesting that you ask where this leaves Storify, because literally as I was reading your piece, I got a pop-up notification announcing that Storify was going to be shut down altogether!! (It sounds to me like you may have been unaware when you wrote your note. So Storify and those using it are in more dire circumstances than you had imagined.)
Storify announces it will disappear from the web on May 16, 2018. Once a core part of social-focused journalism projects like @acarvin‘s work, it’s larger archives and URLs will be gone. https://t.co/9KhEYCbX2e
— Aram Zucker-Scharff (@Chronotope) December 12, 2017
It’s yet another reason in a very long list why one needs to have and own their own digital presence.
As for people deleting their tweets, I’ll note that by doing a full embed (instead of just using a URL) from Twitter to WordPress (or using Noter Live), that the original text is preserved so that even if the original is deleted, a full archival copy of the original still exists.
Also somewhat related in flavor for the mechanism you’re discussing, I also often use Hypothesis to comment on, highlight, and annotate on web pages for academic/research uses. To save these annotations, I’ll add hashtags to the annotations within Hypothesis and then use Kris Shaffer’s excellent Hypothesis Aggregator plugin to parse the data and pull it in the specific parts I want. Though here again, either Hypothesis as a service or the plugin itself may ultimately fail, so I will copy/paste the raw HTML from its output to post onto my site for future safekeeping. In some sense I’m using the plugin as a simple tool to make the transcription and data transport much easier/quicker.
I hope these tips make it easier for you and others to better collect your content and display it for later consumption and archival use.Syndicated copies to:
It’s not the bigger Twitter quit I’ve been debating for a while, but I’ve just taken the intermediate step of removing the Twitter app and its notifications from my phone. I’m going to be using a handful of feed readers to more purposefully consume curated content in the coming year.
I’ll still syndicate content into Twitter and can use my own website to receive @mentions, comments, and likes, so I won’t really be going anywhere. But I will be leaving behind a lot of the curation, maintenance, poor trained/engrained behaviors, as well as a lot of content that really isn’t doing me much good.
In particular, leaving behind a lot of the toxic content makes me feel lighter and happier already.Syndicated copies to:
Everyone I know has jumped on the Halloween bandwagon on Twitter and added one or more Halloween related emoji to their Twitter name. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, etc. abound. Some have even changed their names a bit to fit into the theme.
Some of my favorites:
@JordanUhl is now jordan ghoul 👻 ☠️ 🎃
@rachsyme is now🎃 rachel slime 🎃
@VictoriaAveyard is Victoria Graveyard 🎃
@BrendonHope is 🎃 Abandon Hope 🎃
@spicer is Christian Spider 🕷 🎃
@Juliet_Shen is 🎃 Ghouliet Shen 🎃
Despite the fact that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and since retailers are already jumping the gun on Christmas, I thought I’d do the same. I’m changing my Twitter name to something like:
🎄Christmas🎄 🎅Aldrich 🎁Syndicated copies to:
Sadly Twitter has figured out the work around and disabled it so it doesn’t work anymore. Fortunately I can always write on my own site without character limits.Syndicated copies to:
After Twitter extending their risible “abuse” policy to a suspension of a celebrity white woman speaking out against sexual violence, the problems in their model have been laid bare, and to my pleasant surprise, people are talking about taking action (I’d been pessimistic about this). Unfortunately, it’s entirely the wrong kind of action: a women’s boycott. This is a problem, because once again, it forces us to do the heavy lifting. And once again, it forces us to silence ourselves: the very opposite of what we should be doing. So, here’s two things that can be done. One is an activity for men who consider themselves allies. The other is for all of us. Especially women.
I took part in #WomenBoycottTwitter today and it honestly wasn’t too difficult, though I did miss out on some of the scientific chatter that crosses my desk during the day. Since I post mostly to my own website more often and syndicate to Twitter only occasionally, the change didn’t feel too drastic to me, though there were one or two times I almost accidentally opened Twitter to track down people’s sites. Fortunately I’ve taken control of more of my online experience back for myself using IndieWeb principles.
This particular post has some seemingly interesting methods for fighting against the status quo on Twitter for those who are entrenched though. The first #AmplifyWomen sounds a lot like the great advice I heard from Valerie Alexander a few months ago at an Innovate Pasadena event.
Some of the others almost seek to reverse-gamify Twitter’s business model. People often complain about silos and how they work, but few ever seek to actively subvert or do this type of reverse-gamification of those models. This is an interesting concept though to be as useful tools as they might be, it may be somewhat difficult to accomplish in some cases and may hamper one’s experience on such platforms. This being said, having ultimate control over your domain, data, and interactions is still a far preferable model.
And while we’re thinking about amplifying women, do take a look at some of Zoe’s other content, she’s got a wealth of good writing. I’ll be adding her to my follow list/reader.
h/t Richard ErikssonSyndicated copies to:
Many people who have suffered harassment on Twitter (largely women), are understandably fed up with Twitter’s practices, and have staged a boycott of Twitter today October 13, 2017. Presumably the goal is to highlight the flaws in Twitter’s moderation policies, and to push the company to make meaningful changes in their policies, but I’d like to argue that we shouldn’t expect Twitter’s policies to change.
I think I believe Tara when she says about Twitter:
It’s not going to get better.
I think there are a lot of people, including myself, who also think like she does here:
I want online media to work much more like a democracy, where users are empowered to decide what their experience is like.
The difference for her is that she’s actively building something to attempt to make things better not only for herself, but for others. This is tremendously laudable.
I’d heard of her project Beaker and Mastodon before, but hadn’t heard anything before about Patchwork, which sounds rather interesting.
h/t Richard Eriksson for highlighting this article on Reading.am though I would have come across it tomorrow morning likely in my own feed reader.Syndicated copies to:
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to…Twitter today to promise a “more aggressive” stance in its rules and how it enforces them. The tweet storm was based in a response to the #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, as well as work that Dorsey says Twitter has been working ‘intensely’ on over the past few months. Dorsey says that critical decisions were made today in how to go about preventing the rampant and vicious harassment many women, minorities and other users undergo daily on the platform. “We decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them,” Dorsey says. “New rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence. These changes will start rolling out in the next few weeks. More to share next week.”
I don’t have very high hopes for the climate changing on this issue though I did participate in the Twitter boycott today.Syndicated copies to:
I’ve tried half a dozen times now to get my Twitter account verified. Each time, I’ve been rejected. “We reviewed the account, and unfortunately it is not eligible to be verified at this time.”
I’m surprised that Twitter wouldn’t verify Audrey, particularly given her body of written work and the journalistic nature of some of it. Most of the verified people I know are writers and/or journalists. I’m half tempted to create several impersonating accounts so she can claim to need verification for that reason.Syndicated copies to: