Keep-it-Simple Ideas for Content Creation, Distribution, and Consumption
created Oct 10, 2017 - updated Feb 14, 2018
Publishing : I'll use my web-based, static site generator called Wren. I'm able to create, update, and search posts through the web browser on desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. Readers view static HTML files.
Accepting feedback : (Lo-fi commenting system.)
- Private comment : Email me.
- Public comment : Write a post on your own personal website that contains the link to the post on my site that you are replying to. Then email me the URL to your response, and I'll link to it at the bottom of my article, maybe excerpting some of your reply too.
Consuming content :
- Feed reader : I use the web-based RSS reader https://theoldreader.com. Feed readers make all web content look the same, which can be useful when time is limited and because the content is the most important aspect. Although this works only when websites include the entire content of their posts within their RSS feeds. Many sites, like mine, only provide an excerpt in the description area of the RSS feed.
- Favorites : I visit websites directly either from memory or by using my "favorites" page of bookmarks. It's not a blogroll, since my favorites page contains links to specific how-to articles and to professional media orgs too. I like visiting websites to view the many different web designs. I enjoy the creative designs or article layouts, used by some websites.
- Newsletters : I subscribe to a few daily, weekly, and whenever email newsletters. I save them into folders within my Fastmail account. The "whenever" email newsletter may not be a newsletter. It's a notification of a new post from a personal web publisher. I "follow" a few bloggers that way who publish infrequently.
Options that I'm testing
I could pull the plug on these ideas that I'm using now.
Social Media : Using IndieWeb concepts, such as the Webmention, to syndicate my sawv.org content to my jr_sawv Twitter account. I rely on brid.gy and the Webmention to backfeed Twitter interactions to sawv.org, such as Twitter replies, likes, and shares. It's interesting, but for me, this social media aspect is less important and less useful. It's good know this concept for a possible future need, but it's doubtful that I ever make it a common practice. Since it's Twitter, then any knucklehead can reply. I'm disinterested in using Twitter for discussions. Many IndieWeb users and other personal web publishers like to hold their discussions on Twitter.
Receiving Comments : My Wren code can send and receive Webmentions. Commenters can create a Webmention (reply post) and drop in the URL at my website, or their CMS can automatically send the Webmention to my site's Webmention API endpoint.
Distribution : Testing TinyLetter to create an email newsletter for subscribers. Test results: I like TinyLetter. The admin interface is simple and designed well, although I dislike the WYSIWYG editor. It's easy to subscribe to receive the email newsletters, and it's to create and send emails to the subscribers. Stats are nice. Everything is great except that TinyLetter requires a postal address at sign-up. Okay. But the address is included at the bottom of each email. The only way I would use TinyLetter in production is if I obtained a post office box. From the TinyLetter website:
Anytime you send a letter, we’ll automatically include a footer with TinyLetter details based on your account information: Your newsletter and author name, postal address, recipient's email address, an unsubscribe link and the “Delivered by TinyLetter” logo. This footer cannot be removed.
Feb 14, 2018 TinyLetter update: I'm still testing. I send emails to my Fastmail, Gmail, and Riseup accounts. I want to send plain text emails, but it appears that TinyLetter does not provide a simple way do it. A couple options work okay. One is to copy the text off of the HTML page, paste the text into the TinyLetter editor, select all of the text within the editor, and then click the editor button for "Clear Formatting". The other option that might be the one that I choose if I were to do this for real is to copy the text from the HTML textarea box while editing the post, paste the content into the TinyLetter editor, and that's it. No need to clear formatting. Paste and send.
Feed reader : I also occasionally use or test the feed reader at https://woodwind.xyz, since it incoporates IndieWeb concepts, such as IndieAuth, Webmention, and Micropub. Woodwind is a Micropub client. I can respond to other IndieWeb users by creating my response from within Woodwind, which posts it to my website, since I logged into Woodwind with my website's URL (IndieAuth). And then my website (Wren app) receives the Webmention post from Woodwind, parses the text for Microformats, realizes that it's a reply post, and then my Wren code makes a Webmention to the other website. It's fascinating. Replying directly from the feed reader with a copy of my reply posted on my own website.
micro.blog : - This service launched in early 2017, but it's still not open to everyone. In October 2017, I received my invite to create an account. I have the account configured to pull info from my RSS feed. micro.blog employs multiple IndieWeb concepts. micro.blog encourages people to post on their own websites or to create mini posts at micro.blog. It supports replies and simple discovery. It supports the IndieWeb concepts, such as Micropub and Webmention. January 2018 update: A few other micro.blog users have replied at micro.blog to some of my sawv.org posts, and those replies come back to my website as Webmentions. I can also view those replies in my micro.blog feed. My posts appear at micro.blog because I have my micro.blog account set to scarf my site's RSS or JSON feed.
- micro.blog : Use micro.blog to comment on posts made by others
- Webmention : Send Webmentions to sites that can receive them. I create my reply post on my website. Then I either have my code automatically send the Webmention to the site that I'm replying to, or I copy my reply post URL and manually drop it into a text input field provided by the website that I'm reply to. Some IndieWeb users offer that manual option in case someone's CMS does not support sending Webmentions.
- Omnibear : Use the OmniBear web browser extension to reply to a post that I'm currently reading. OmniBear is a MicroPub client. Since my website supports MicroPub on the server and exposes my MicroPub endpoint API, I can use OmniBear to create a post at sawv.org. My website sees that it's a reply post, and the content from OmniBear contains the web post URL that I'm replying too. Then my website code sends a Webmention to the site that I'm replying to.
When the web publishing app supports MicroPub and Webmention, then MicroPub-supported clients can be used to create posts and to create replies that get automatically sent to the other website. Of course, the receiving website would need to support Webmention to receive the reply, but the post would still get created at my website.
I like these IndieWeb concepts from most important to least important, but my Wren code supports all of them.
Microformats : "class=" markup attached to HTML tags. easiest thing to implement. I recommend using Microformats at least within web posts (articles and notes) and in an automatically generated sidefile page that lists the most recent posts by creation date from youngest to oldest, and this sidefile would be an h-feed page that uses h-entry for each post listed. For feed readers that can parse h-feed pages, this page would replace XML and JSON feed sidefiles. Mine: http://sawv.org/mft.html. I should change the name to hfeed.html. Microformats should also be used on the site's homepage. Not every Microformat class needs to be used. Keep it simple.
Webmention : Sending and receiving Webmentions, especially receiving to allow others to post comments. It's nice to provide a Webmention receiving API endpoint for IndieWeb-compatible CMS apps, but it's also a good idea to provide an HTML text input field that allows commenters to copy and paste the URLs to their reply posts into the text input field. It's lo-fi but simple, since most CMS apps do not support sending Webmentions.
Micropub : API endpoint on the server. I'm not creating a Micropub client. My Wren code supports Micropub on the server. This allows me to use Micropub clients, created by others to create content at my Wren-backed website. https://quill.p3k.io is a Micropub client that provides a Medium.com-like writing experience. https://micropublish.net is a simpler Micropub client. Both require logging in via IndieAuth. The Woodwind feeder reader is also a Micropub client. The Omnibear browser extension is a Micropub client, allowing me to create quick responses to web pages that I visit. If the other sites do not support receiving Webmentions, then at least my reply posts still get created at my site.
IndieAuth : My Wren code supports logging into my Wren-backed site by using IndieAuth. I enter the URL to my site to log into my site. But IndieAuth also requires being logged into another service, such as my GitHub or Twitter account. My website must point to the other service, and the other service must point to my website. That's part of IndieAuth too.
Dec 31, 2017 blog post by jonmitchell.net, titled How to Stay Internet Friends Without Facebook or Twitter
If you want to stay in touch with people like me who shut off our accounts, or you’re ready to get rid of yours, too, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to have internet friends in the No Social Media Club (N.S.M.C.).
Email and Calendars
... iMessage, but WhatsApp is fine.
To do that, you’ll want a blog. When you blog, you can send links to your posts by email or text message or any other way of conveying text — even by petroglyph! — because blog posts are on the web, and things on the web have URLs. You may have forgotten what those are.
My new slot machine is Apple News, actually.
... but that’s really my secondary news source. I get most of my feeding done in my RSS reader.
Photos? Beyond sharing photos using any of the options above, built-in photo services from Apple and Google both allow sharing of albums through interfaces at least as good as Facebook’s.
Maybe there’s no other app or website better than Facebook for discovering local events you wouldn’t otherwise know about. I’m content to try just keeping up with bands and venues and stuff via email/blogs/web, finding out from friends by word of mouth, and seeing how it goes.
Slow Web Movement
February 2018 thoughts.
Consume information only on desktop and laptop computers. Limit or eliminate the time reading the web over the phone.
The above restrictions might also apply to creating and updating content, although it's handy to create a quick note on my website by using the smartphone. And I like viewing my weather website http://toledoweather.info on the phone too.
A feed reader might not be anti-Slow Web Movement. While I can limit my access to the feed reader to once or twice a day, such as morning or night, the feed reader can lead to a lot of wasted time reading too much information.
That's why I waffle back and forth with feed readers. I add too many feeds. I leave the reader up too much. New posts arrive nearly constantly throughout the day. Information overload. And it's self-inflicted.
The slower web might mean visiting websites directly when time permits and not using a feed reader. The feed reader is listed above under "Definitely use", but I don't think that it's definite for me. I want to manage my time differently and better.
I learn new ideas by visiting https://news.ycombinator.com at least once a day, and scrolling through the first three or four pages of posts. I don't try to see everything. Too much.