Scott (@schopie1), you are not alone! There are lots of us out here doing these things, not only with WordPress but a huge variety of other platforms. There are many ways to syndicate your content depending on where it starts its life.
In addition to Jim Groom and a huge group of others’ work within A Domain of One’s Own, there’s also a broader coalition of designers, developers, professionals, hobbyists, and people of all stripes working on these problems under the name of IndieWeb.
For some of their specific work you might appreciate the following:
Incidentally, I wrote this for our friend Kathleen Fitzpatrick last week and I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with over the weekend and in the coming weeks. Within the IndieWeb community you’ll find people like Ben Werdmuller who founded both WithKnown (aka Known) and Elgg and Aram Zucker-Scharff who helped to create PressForward.
I’m thrilled to see the work and huge strides that Humanities Commons is making to ensure some of these practices come to fruition.
If you’re game, perhaps we ought to plan an upcoming education-related popup event as an IndieWebCamp event to invite more people into this broader conversation?
If you have questions or need any help in these areas, I’m around, but so are hundreds of friends in the IndieWeb chat: https://chat.indieweb.org.
I hope we can bring more of these technologies to the masses in better and easier-to-use manners to lower the technical hurdles.
There are some well built and not overly complicated pathways that allow syndicating from your WordPress website to a Mastodon instance and getting responses back from them, just as I think you’ve done with Twitter in the past. Most of these can be done with plugins like Syndication Links or Mastodon Autopost or a handful of other similar plugins in conjunction with Brid.gy (which does the work for bringing back responses). Personally, I prefer Syndication Links for this and it particularly dovetails well with other IndieWeb infrastructure like Micropub clients.
There are a small handful of methods for “mirroring” your WordPress site so that it will look like its own (single or multi-user depending on your configuration) instance within the Fediverse running ActivityPub, meaning that those on Mastodon or other related platforms could follow your site directly. Most of them are configured as publishing only, so you won’t have a built in reader interface and would have to rely on other (available) infrastructure for those portions.
(More technical, and with a few less features) Brid.gyFed, which has options to do the syndication to a separate instance mentioned above, as well as making it look like your website appear to support ActivityPub.
More details on this here: https://indieweb.org/Bridgy_Fed
Our friend Matthias Pfefferle, a genius engineer and longtime opensource advocate and WordPress developer who has also written significant pieces of other IndieWeb code you’re already using on WordPress, has written a handful of plugins which will make it appear as if your WordPress site supports ActivityPub out of the box. You’ll broadly want the following plugins: ActivityPub plugin, WebFinger plugin, NodeInfo(2) plugin.
They don’t have very many configurable options though some may be hiding a bit, so try:
/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=activitypubwill give you options for how your posts appear;
/wp-admin/users.php?page=activitypub-followers-listwill show you who is following your site so you can more easily subscribe back via a reader if you like;
/wp-admin/profile.phpand look under “Fediverse” where your profile identifier will be found. It is based on your username within WordPress.
The documentation for these plugins are scant and I’ve got the intention to write up something explaining the subtleties and a few quirks, but it will have to wait until the holidays I’m afraid. In the interim, they’re not as complete as they could be, but the following two blogposts have some useful details and hints, though its obvious to me that they’re much newer in the space:
There are one or two quirks still pending for how things display if you’re using the IndieWeb-based Post Kinds Plugin, but the developers are generally aware of most of them and will hopefully get them ironed our shortly.
As a result, mostly of these plugins, WordPress is already the fifth largest number of instances in the Fediverse with an (under-)estimated 878 as of this morning.
I’m practicing both the POSSE option as well as Option 2 above on my own site, which can be followed at @firstname.lastname@example.org, as an example. Matthias’s example can be found at @email@example.com.
Help & Questions
This is a lot to consume and potentially implement, so, as ever, I’m happy to help guide and lay out the sub-branching options or even hop on a call to walk through bits with folks who have questions. David Shanske and I have been thinking about doing some group sessions and some training videos to walk people through some of this within the next few weeks. There’s also the IndieWeb chat which welcomes questions and conversation which is sure to give you some additional perspective: https://chat.indieweb.org/wordpress/.
For the social reader portions I briefly mentioned, I outline some of those options last year at OERxDomains in A Twitter of Our Own.
Separately, congratulations to HCommons having stood up a Mastodon server so quickly!
It looks like it’s running Hometown, which has local only (unfederated) posting, though I’m not sure how many are aware of that useful feature (hiding on the link in the posting interface) which is sadly missing from most Mastodon instances, particularly for smaller communities. It might be something useful to add to the welcome email? I think this could be a great feature for Universities to allow more private class-based social networking while providing some safer spaces that don’t reach the broader internet and which might comply with FERPA. Obviously it would need some testing and some of the barriers for standing up and maintaining these servers to come down a bit.
There’s a lot of messaging and potential education to be had to roll it out well, but it could be interesting to see the WordPress offerings from hcommons.org include some of these IndieWeb and Fediverse tools as well.
#FeedReaderFriday: A Suggestion for Changing our Social Media Patterns
As a result, while everyone is exploring new platforms and new online spaces for maintaining their identities and communicating, I’m going to suggest something else interesting to shift our online social patterns: Instead of spending time on Twitter, Mastodon, Instagram, or other major social platforms, start practicing #FeedReaderFriday by carving out some time to find and follow people’s websites directly with a feed reader or social reader. Then engage with them directly on their own websites.
I already spend a reasonable amount of time in a variety of readers looking at both longform articles as well as social media posts (status updates, notes, bookmarks, and photos), but starting this Friday, I’m going to practice #FeedReaderFriday. Instead of opening up Twitter or Mastodon, I’ll actively and exclusively reach for one of my feed readers to read people’s content and respond to them directly.
As part of the effort, I’ll share people’s sites I follow and enjoy. I’ll also suggest some feed readers to try out along with other related resources. I’ll use the tag/hashtag #FeedReaderFriday to encourage the website to website conversation. If you’re interested in the experiment, do come and join me and help to spread the word.
Currently I’m relying on readers like Inoreader, Micro.blog, and Monocle, but there are a huge variety of feed readers and a nice selection of even more fully featured social readers available.
Just as many people are doing the sometimes difficult but always rewarding emotional labor of helping people migrate from the toxicity of Twitter and its algorithmic feeds, perhaps those of us who have websites and use social readers could help our friends and family either set up their own spaces or onboard them to social readers in this effort? Mastodon’s decentralized nature is an improvement and provides a reasonable replacement for Twitter, but eventually people will realize some of the subtle issues of relying on someone else’s platform just as they’ve seen issues with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or the now defunct Google+.
Feel like you’ll miss people’s content on traditional social media? There are definitely a variety of ways to follow them in a variety of feed and social readers. Not sure what RSS is? Feel free to ask. Know of some interesting tricks and tools you use to make discovering and subscribing to others’ blogs easier? Share them! Have fantastic resources for discovering or keeping up with others’ websites? Share those too. Not quite sure where to begin? Ask for some help to better own your online identity and presence.
It may be a slow start, but I think with some care, help, and patience, we can help to shift both our own as well as others’ online social reading and correspondence habits to be kinder, smarter, and more intentional.
What will you read on #FeedReaderFriday? Who will you recommend following?
Featured photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash
I’m on the WordPress.com Special Projects Team at Automattic. When I’m not online, I prefer to be hiking, reading, or woodworking.
I blog about food and drink over at Cook Like Chuck. I used to work at Crash, eResources, and The Foundation for Economic Education.
My three favorite bands are Underworld, Tycho, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Around the web, you can generally find me with the username cagrimmett.
Several of us can give you help and guidance if you want to take a crack at it: https://chat.indieweb.org/wordpress/
Notes from the DoOO October Meetup
The October Domain of One’s Own meetup is starting in just about 45 minutes. Get your tea or coffee ready and join us for some conversation. #DoOO #EdTech #WordPress #Grav @withknown https://boffosocko.com/2020/10/02/domain-of-ones-own-meetup-october-2020/
The conference room is open for the meetup for socializing prior to the meetup: https://events.indieweb.org/2020/10/domain-of-one-s-own-meetup-october-2020–GvlqwJBN66xn
Had a good, but smaller meeting this week and talked with @jbj and others about uses of webmention.
Joining the Indie Web, One Step at a Time | Tracy Durnell
There are lots of things to be excited about in joining the Indie Web, like supporting a more human-centered version of the web and connecting better with others across the web. Joining the Indie Web involves a few steps to … Continue reading →
h-card is a microformat class around the mark up of data about identity elements like names, addresses, cities, countries, and often including an avatar or photo. Hovercard is a UI element that creates a visual card when one hovers over a name or similar element that would contain h-card details.
Gravatar serves some of these functions for WordPress from a centralized perspective. The data you would imput there would be wrapped with the h-card class, while Jetpack would give you the ability to display Gravatars as hovercards, so that when you hover over an avatar it will display more detail about the person in a small card-like UI.
For your experimentation purposes, you should be able to use just one post to test against my site. Once you’ve modified your theme, you can simply resend the webmention to my site and that will automatically update your original post. You don’t need to create new posts each time to test it out.
If you haven’t gotten it cleared up, do join us in the IndieWeb #WordPress channel, or catch us at an upcoming HWC event.
Participating in PressEdConf20 directly from WordPress
(Meta: Welcome to my talk: I know it’s cheating & early, but I’m hoping a few presenters will borrow this method.)
My general thought was:
The only thing better than A WordPress and Education, Pedagogy and Research Conference on Twitter would be A WordPress and Education, Pedagogy and Research Conference using WordPress itself!
(Meta: Sure, post it to Twitter: but why not own a copy of your presentation on your own website when you’re done?)
So let’s give it a spin by providing an outline for how to accomplish it in true #IndieWeb & #DoOO fashion? Perhaps a few people might trying doing this year’s conference this way? Here’s an early #PressEdConf20 presentation to get the juices flowing.
(Meta: Hint for those on Twitter: I’m including links to my website, so you can get just a little bit more information than Twitter limits me to–oh, the fringe benefits of having one’s website where they’re not censored by the confines of the platform on which they’re creating!)
First, we’ll start off by making the humble presumption that you’ve got your own domain and an install of WordPress running on it. Hopefully this covers most #PressEdConf20 attendees.
(Meta: If it doesn’t there are lots of options: You could do something similar a bit more manually if you like using WordPress.com. You’ve also got a great community of people who could help you to better own your online identity and domain right here! I’ll bet our friends at Reclaim Hosting could help as well.)
Next we’ll want the Webmention Plugin (+Semantic Linkbacks) which will let our site communicate with other websites as well as to receive replies and reactions on Twitter with the help of Brid.gy. Install and activate both.
(Want to go deeper into the idea of what Webmention is and how one could use it? I wrote an article for A List Apart that goes into details.)
One could manually syndicate content from WordPress to Twitter, but there are multiple plugins and ways to syndicate it. My favorite is the Syndication Links plugin, which we can use for syndicating to other services. Install and activate.
Next we’ll want an account on Brid.gy for Twitter. This will allow us to publish from our website to Twitter; it will also allow us to reverse syndicate reactions from #PressEdConf20 on Twitter back to our posts using Webmention.
(Meta: Publishing this way will require Microformats: Your theme will need the proper microformats support to use this method, but again other methods are available.)
Authenticate your website and Twitter account with Bridgy and enable Bridgy publish on your account page:
In Syndication Links settings at
- Enable Syndication to Other Sites
- Enable Twitter via Bridgy
Add a custom provider using the following:
- name: XYZ pressEdconf20
- UID: XYZ-pressEdconf20
- target URL: https://indieweb.xyz/en/pressEdconf20/
Save the settings.
Now write all of your posts in your presentation as status updates (without titles) and include any media (photos, videos, etc.) making sure to mark up the photos with a class of u-photo in the HTML. Don’t forget the hashtag #PressEdConf20.
Set posts for one every minute. Use the SL Syndicate To meta box to syndicate your Twitter account and to the indieweb.xyz sub where everyone can find them (if they’re not following the proceedings via Twitter).
Others at #PressEdConf20 with Webmentions can reply to your posts on their sites. Replies will show up in comments depending on settings. Bridgy will also find responses to your content on Twitter & syndicate those back to your website automatically.
(Meta: Give it a whirl!: Reply to this post on Twitter to see it boomerang back to the comment section of my website.)
Those who are paying attention at #PressEdConf20 will see the value in webmention for allowing cross-site interactions without the need for “social media”. WithKnown, Drupal, Grav, and other CMSs are capable of doing this too.
(Meta: Ownership of your Open Pedagogy Anyone? Who needs invasive corporate social media to interact online now?)
With luck, I’ll have created this entire #PressEdConf20 presentation on my own website and syndicated it to Twitter without actually needing to visit Twitter itself. I’m around for questions. Thank you for your time and attention. [more…]
Those looking for more details can find documentation on the IndieWeb wiki at https://indieweb.org/Getting_Started_on_WordPress, or https://boffosocko.com/2018/04/27/setting-up-wordpress-for-indieweb-use/
I’m also happy to help people set things up and make alternate suggestions via video chat or you can find online help in the IndieWeb WordPress chat.
P.S. There’s still some time to submit your talk for #PressEdConf20. Since it’s all designed to be online from the start, I’m hoping it won’t be cancelled like all the other events lately.
(Meta: PressEdConf 2020: A WordPress and Education, Pedagogy and Research Conference on Twitter March 26, 2020)
One of the questions that came up during the SPLOT workshop is if there’s a SPLOT for podcasting, which reminded me of this post Adam Croom wrote a while back about his podcasting workflow: “My Podcasting Workflow with Amazon S3.” . We’re always on the look-out for new SPLOTs to bring to the Reclaim masses, and it would be cool to have an example that moves beyond WordPress just to make the point a SPLOT is not limited to WordPress (as much as we love it) —so maybe Adam and I can get the band back together.❧
I just outlined a tiny and relatively minimal/free way to host and create a podcast feed last night: https://boffosocko.com/2019/12/17/55761877/
I wonder if this could be used to create a SPLOT that isn’t WordPress based potentially using APIs from the Internet Archive and Huffduffer? WordPress-based infrastructure could be used to create it certainly and aggregation could be done around tags. It looks like the Huffduffer username SPLOT is available.
–annotated December 17, 2019 at 10:46AM