I just got my first nudge on Twitter to sign up for their newsletter service Revue.

For some fun context, it popped up when I pressed the “+” button to create a Twitter thread. 

Screencapture of Twitter tweetstorm UI with a blue ad box below that reads "Hello, wordsmiths. We now have a newsletter tool. Learn More" with a link to getrevue.co
So apparently if you’re going to bother to write more than 280 characters you definitely need a newsletter…

Read Social Attention: a modest prototype in shared presence by Matt Webb (Interconnected, a blog by Matt Webb)
My take is that the web could feel warmer and more lively than it is. Visiting a webpage could feel a little more like visiting a park and watching the world go by. Visiting my homepage could feel just a tiny bit like stopping by my home. And so to celebrate my blogging streak reaching one year, this week, I’m adding a proof of concept to my blog, something I’m provisionally calling Social Attention.
You had me at “select text”…

If somebody else selects some text, it’ll be highlighted for you. 

Suddenly social annotation has taken an interesting twist. @Hypothes_is better watch out! 😉
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:03AM

How often have you been on the phone with a friend, trying to describe how to get somewhere online? Okay go to Amazon. Okay type in “whatever”. Okay, it’s the third one down for me…
This is ridiculous!
What if, instead, you both went to the website and then you could just say: follow me. 

There are definitely some great use cases for this.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:05AM

A status emoji will appear in the top right corner of your browser. If it’s smiling, there are other people on the site right now too. 

This is pretty cool looking. I’ll have to add it as an example to my list: Social Reading User Interface for Discovery.

We definitely need more things like this on the web.

It makes me wish the Reading.am indicator were there without needing to click on it.

I wonder how this sort of activity might be built into social readers as well?
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:13AM

If I’m in a meeting, I should be able to share a link in the chat to a particular post on my blog, then select the paragraph I’m talking about and have it highlighted for everyone. Well, now I can. 

And you could go a few feet farther if you added [fragment](https://indieweb.org/fragmention) support to the site, then the browser would also autoscroll to that part. Then you could add a confetti cannon to the system and have the page rain down confetti when more than three people have highlighted the same section!
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:18AM

I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library. 

A great thing to want on a website! A tiny hint of phatic interaction amongst internet denizens.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:20AM

What I’d like more of is a social web that sits between these two extremes, something with a small town feel. So you can see people are around, and you can give directions and a friendly nod, but there’s no need to stop and chat, and it’s not in your face. It’s what I’ve talked about before as social peripheral vision (that post is about why it should be build into the OS). 

I love the idea of social peripheral vision online.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:22AM

streak: New posts for 52 consecutive weeks. 

It’s kind of cool that he’s got a streak counter for his posts.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:24AM

Read Transclusion and Transcopyright Dreams (maggieappleton.com)

In 1965 Ted Nelson imagined a system of interactive, extendable text where words would be freed from the constraints of paper documents. This hypertext would make documents linkable.

Twenty years later, Tim Berners Lee took inspiration from Nelson's vision, as well as other narratives like Vannevar Bush's Memex, to create the World Wide Web. Hypertext came to life.

I love the layout and the fantastic live UI examples on this page.

There are a few missing pieces for the primacy of some of these ideas. The broader concept of the commonplace book predated Nelson and Bush by centuries and surely informed much (if not all) of their thinking about these ideas. It’s assuredly the case that people already had the ideas either in their heads or written down and the links between them existed only in their minds or to some extent in indices as can be found in the literature—John Locke had a particularly popular index method that was widely circulated.

The other piece I find missing is a more historical and anthropological one which Western culture has wholly discounted until recently. There’s a pattern around the world of indigenous peoples in primarily oral cultures using mnemonic techniques going back at least 40,000 years. Many of these techniques were built into daily life in ways heretofore unimagined in modern Western Culture, but which are a more deeply layered version of transclusion imagined here. In some sense they transcluded almost all of their most important knowledge into their daily lives. The primary difference is that all the information was stored visually and associatively in the minds of people rather than on paper (through literacy) or via computers. The best work I’ve seen on the subject is Lynne Kelly’s Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture which has its own profound thesis and is underpinned by a great deal of archaeologic and anthropologic primary research. Given its density I recommend her short lecture Modern Memory, Ancient Methods which does a reasonable job of scratching the surface of these ideas.

Another fantastic historical precursor of these ideas can be found in ancient Jewish writings like the Mishnah which is often presented as an original, more ancient text surrounded by annotated interpretations which are surrounded by other re-interpretations on the same page. Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia have a good discussion of this in their book Annotation (MIT Press, 2019).

page of Jewish text with Mishnah in the center and surrounded by various layers of commentary in succeding blocks around it
Image of a super-annotated page of Torah from chapter 3 of Annotation (MIT Press, 2019) by R. Kalir and A. Garcia

It would create a more layered and nuanced form of hypertext – something we’re exploring in the Digital Gardening movement. We could build accumulative, conversational exchanges with people on the level of the word, sentence, and paragraph, not the entire document. Authors could fix typos, write revisions, and push version updates that propogate across the web the same way we do with software. 

The Webmention spec allows for resending notifications and thus subsequent re-parsing and updating of content. This could be a signal sent to any links to the content that it had been updated and allow any translcuded pages to update if they wished.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:38PM

In this idealised utopia we obviously want to place value on sharing and curation as well as original creation, which means giving a small fraction of the payment to the re-publisher as well.We should note monetisation of all this content is optional. Some websites would allow their content to be transcluded for free, while others might charge hefty fees for a few sentences. If all goes well, we’d expect the majority of content on the web to be either free or priced at reasonable micro-amounts. 

While this is nice in theory, there’s a long road strewn with attempts at micropayments on the web. I see new ones every six months or so. (Here’s a recent one: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqrvNoDE35lFDUv2enkaEKuo6ATBj9GmL)

This also dramatically misses the idea of how copyright and intellectual property work in many countries with regard to fair use doctrine. For short quotes and excerpts almost anyone anywhere can do this for free already. It’s definitely nice and proper to credit the original, but as a society we already have norms for how to do this.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:46PM

Transclusion would make this whole scenario quite different. Let’s imagine this again… 

Many in the IndieWeb have already prototyped this using some open web standards. It’s embodied in the idea of media fragments and fragmentions, a portmanteau of the words fragment and Webmention.

A great example can be found at https://www.kartikprabhu.com/articles/marginalia

This reminds me that I need to kick my own server to fix the functionality on my main site and potentially add it to a few others.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:59PM

We can easily imagine transclusions going the way of the public comments section. 

There are definitely ways around this, particularly if it is done by the site owner instead of enabled by a third party system like News Genius or Hypothes.is.

Examples of this in the wild can be found at https://indieweb.org/annotation#Annotation_Sites_Enable_Abuse.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 03:04PM

Read Various Goings On by Brian SchraderBrian Schrader (brianschrader.com)
I've been a little scatter-brained over the past few weeks. I've started lots of little projects and finished almost none of them. Hopefully, they'll all start to wrap up soon. I mentioned on a previous Indie Dev Life that I was working on an update to the Pine.blog iOS app, and that is still true. ...
Replied to a tweet (Twitter)
Some call them hovercards. https://indieweb.org/hovercard has some research and good examples of these from across the web.
Bookmarked anagora.org/go/wikilinks-everywhere (Google Docs)
Wikilinks everywhere: a web extension/library/bookmarklet that eagerly or lazily resolves [[wikilinks]] in any web property within a user-chosen context, e.g. an Agora or other distributed knowledge graph.
Seeing Flancian/anagora and Dan Whaley in the same breath means that I must have stumbled onto something interesting.

Automating syndication of reply contexts in Twitter Cards using OGP metacrap and plugins in WordPress

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 _dcms_eufi_img

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 Name and Summary/Quote fields to map over for the og:title and 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.

Example

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.

screen capture of a tweet with my thought at the top and a Twitter card underneath it including the reply context of the article I'm responding to

screencapture of a read post on my website for a Slate article with a reply context at the top and my response to it just below

Replied to Webmentions + Eleventy Talk by Sia KaramalegosSia Karamalegos (sia.codes)
Slides and resources from my talk at JamStack Toronto.
First there’s the details of her post in particular that are cool, but I like how Sia is leveraging Twitter as part of the commenting system on her blog using Webmention and Brid.gy. This way for people who aren’t replying or interacting with their own websites (yet!), they can still take part in the conversation, but she can own it all in one centralized place.

In particular take a look at the great, and intuitive UI she’s got at the bottom of her post:

Join the conversation on Twitter. Or, if you liked this article and think others should read it, please retweet it.

Just click on the link, reply and go. It would  be nice to see other social platforms allow this sort of interaction. Setting it up for Mastodon should also be pretty simple too.

Some modification ideas to the Curator’s Code Plugin

I quietly wonder what it would take to modify the zip file for the Curator’s Code Plugin to take advantage of Parse This to input a URL and parse back a small snippet of context for more easily giving credit to posts in the WordPress classic editor?

It looks like it used to be in the repository, but perhaps with the rise of Gutenberg, they opted not to maintain it? 

I follow most of the code there, but I’m thinking too much of the actual output is done via JS with tinyMCE, so maybe I’m missing some of the finer portions. It also needs some tweaks to redirect to maybe the Internet Archive since curatorscode.org no longer exists.

I’m thinking an output closer to the following for each type might still be simple, but provide some additional context, (presuming my microformats aren’t too horrific/mis-nested):

<p><small><cite class="h-cite via"><abbr title="via">ᔥ</abbr> <span class="p-author h-card">AuthorTK</span> <a class="u-url p-name" href="https://example.com/TK" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">TitleTK</a> (<time class="dt-published">2020-TK-TK</time>)</cite></small></p>

<p><small><cite class="h-cite ht"><abbr title="hat tip">↬</abbr> <span class="p-author h-card">AuthorTK</span> <a class="u-url p-name" href="https://example.com/TK" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">TitleTK</a> (<time class="dt-published">2020-01-29</time>)</cite></small></p>

Hopefully the via and ht classes also give people enough to latch onto for doing some custom styling of the output if necessary.

With more prevalence of crediting like this, I also wonder how parsers might better display received webmentions for these types of notifications beyond the basic “Sue mentioned this”. Maybe a facepile of avatars under the heading “Inspired by this post”?  Though the way “via” is used in practice, it might also fit under the category of a repost?

User Interfaces for Networked Thought

Tantek Çelik (), in IndieWeb Chat
Kevin Marks (), in IndieWeb Chat


These two quotes provide an interesting framing for comparing and contrasting the UI and functionality for the way that feed readers, email, and blogging (or more broadly networked thinking and communication) work.

Modern social readers provide a reply button and functionality along with the broadcast capabilities. Throw in the idea of person-tagging, and one has the ability to generally broadcast a message to anyone who cares to read (either by search or subscription), as well as to send notifications to specific people (or perhaps groups) that might be interested in the specific message.

Liked Unsubscribing from YouTube's recommender by Marty McGuireMarty McGuire (martymcgui.re)
First, some backstory. But feel free to skip to the good stuff! With topics ranging from media and social critiques, to making and tech topics that I care about, to death itself, regular content from creators that post on YouTube have been a part of my daily life for the last several years. This is...
Impressive how many hoops one has to jump through to get this type of simple functionality. This is the absolute definition of a silo.
Read Leveraging IndieWeb to Avoid Storing Others' Data by Evgeny KuznetsovEvgeny Kuznetsov (DIMV)
Owning your own data is great. I’ve been using this website as the central IndieWeb point of my online life for over five years, and I love it. However, the joy of owning your own website comes bundled with great responsibility: as the website owner, I am responsible for what’s on my site and fo...
This didn’t work as expected on my mobile phone (no image or tooltip). 

It could be an interesting way to effect sparklines for people on one’s site as well as to do person-tags.

It’s nice not to need to store the data on one’s own website, but it also means thinking about degradation of links over time as well as needing a particular permalink (? I’ll have to look at the particular details) to have the transclusion work.