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Biomedical and Electrical Engineer with interests in information theory, evolution, genetics, abstract mathematics, microbiology, big history, Indieweb, and the entertainment industry including: finance, distribution, representation

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micro.blog/c

 

Replied to a post on seblog.nl :

For me there are various post types that essentially all boil down to being bookmarks, but the sub-category adds a slightly different shade of intent to it. As an example I've got a "read" post type on my primary site. It takes the bookmark concept ("I want to read this") and adds the additional piece of semantic information that I physically spent some time to actually read it. To an audience, this gives that read-post some additional value over a simple bookmark. Even further, did I bother to make a comment or highlight a piece of material from it? Did I go another step and write a reply to it? Each of these things indicates a higher level of engagement on my part which signals to an audience reading my site, what value I may have placed on a thing.

When it comes to a reader, it would be awesome to have the ability to filter through some of these increasing types within a value chain. People are sharing or bookmarking lots of crap, but what are they spending the time to actually read rather than sharing after only reading a headline? What did they bother to really react to? What motivated them to not only read a piece, but write a 10 paragraph response to? When it comes to finding things in my feeds that are really valuable from friends, family, and colleagues, it's these articles that are usually the most valuable.

You're definitely right that readers are the next big piece. I can't wait for some more competition in the space: http://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/

 
 

@billbennettnz @davewiner I think I mentioned to you that @Chronotope was mulling something over along these lines:
https://twitter.com/Chronotope/status/830097158665801728

I'm curious if there's a middle ground? The way that @davewiner does his blog with updating hashes throughout the day would be interesting within news distribution, that way the URL changes, but at the same time it doesn't really. Example: http://scripting.com/2017/08/17.html#a094957 (Naturally the ability to update RSS feeds over time would be useful---as he describes in this particular post--, but it would also depend heavily on how users are subscribing to their news.) In his case, the updates are categorized by day/date rather than topic or category which is what an unfolding story would more likely do in a digital news publication.

In some sense, these hashes are related to the IndieWeb concept of fragmentions: https://indieweb.org/fragmention, though in their original use case, they're meant to highlight pieces within a whole. This doesn't mean they couldn't be bent sideways a little to serve a more news-specific piece that includes a river of updates as a story unfolds--especially since they're supported by most browsers. It would be much easier to syndicate the updates of the originals out to social media locations like Twitter or Facebook this way too. Readers on Twitter, for example, could see and be directed to the latest, but still have easy access to "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.

Depending on implementation, news sites could offer a tl;dr toggle button that gives a quick multi-graph synopsis. As I recall USA Today and Digiday used to do something like this on longer pieces:
https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/632063182811467776
Here's a version of the functionality via the WayBackMachine that still works: https://web.archive.org/web/20150818075138/http://digiday.com:80/publishers/mics-social-approach-distributing-first-obama-interview/

Imagine how powerful a long running story could be with all of these features? Or even snippets of inter-related stories which could be plugged into larger wholes? Eg: The Trump Administration's handling of North Korea seen in fact snippets over time spanning months while pieces of this could be integrated into a larger Trump Administration mega-story going back to January or even the beginning of his campaign. Someone who hasn't been following along could jump back months or years to catch up relatively quickly, but still have access to more context that is often missing from bigger pieces which need to stand on their own relatively.




 

I think a lot of the problem comes down to all of the siloed walls out there which are causing most of the friction. We're still relatively early days yet and only a tiny few are using the concept of salmention which would help keep running threads working properly. Admittedly having the context live somewhere and then having proper threaded communications isn't easy, so many do what they're able to for the moment.

I'm usually attempting to manually accomplish salmention as best as I'm able, but I may not hit every syndicated target unless you're displaying it directly. Additionally some targets just don't make sense--I'll webmention your original, for example, but this lengthy reply just won't look right at micro.blog if you syndicated a simple headline and URL there, so why bother since you'll see it at the original anyway? Others who are on micro.blog may miss out on part of the conversation, but presumably if they're looking at your copy on micro.blog, they'll be able to see the original as it was intended.

Colin, you mention that not all of your content needs to go to micro.blog. Perhaps, but to think so in my mind is part of the older silo way of thinking. The only reason you're syndicating there is as a stopgap to reach the people who don't currently have the time or luxury to be doing things the way you are. Otherwise they could subscribe to you directly at the source (and potentially even circumscribe the types of posts, keywords, or content to get exactly what they want from your site.) In some sense you syndicate there to reach and communicate with the non-IndieWeb crowd. Perhaps some of your content doesn't make as much sense there as Micro.blog is limited in what it is able to do, but that is its limitation, not yours. Eventually in a fully IndieWeb-ified world, everyone would have their own domain, their own data, and syndication of any sort won't have a real need to exist at all.

As to Jack's comment, syndicating things out to multiple places is often difficult as is getting all the responses back. (Fortunately services like Brid.gy make things far easier though they don't cover all the bases.) I do it in large part because while I prefer to own all of my content and have all the conversation take place on my personal site, I can't necessarily make that choice for everyone else. My mom is likely to never have her own domain much less a site. The only way she'll see my content (whether it's meant for her or not) is to syndicate it to Facebook. For those who aren't yet aware of the IndieWeb or using it, they're still reading and interacting on other platforms, which, for me is fine since I can still have my cake and eat it too. Eventually there will be inexpensive platforms that will let people who don't want to deal with the development cost and overhead that allow much of the IndieWeb-types of functionalities they're not currently getting from their silo platforms for free. I suspect that these will be easier and easier (as well as cheaper) to use over time. I suspect more people will use them for their freedom, flexibility, and increased control. Until then, I have the privilege of using my site much the way I would Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Flickr, GoodReads, etc., etc., I just get to do it through a more unified experience instead of having to juggle dozens of accounts and only being able to interact with my fractions of friends, family, and colleagues who coincidentally happen to be spending the time and effort to interact on those websites. As an example, I have dozens of friends who interact with me on Facebook about things I'm currently reading or finished reading, but if I was only doing this on GoodReads, they'd never have a chance to see it as they don't have accounts there or even know it exists. (Coincidentally, this is also the reason that GoodReads and most other silos allow one to syndicate their accounts to Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Not all social sites are as lucky as Facebook to have such massive adoption. This creates a value imbalance with respect to the classic "network effect" (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect). Philosophically I think that an decentralized and distributed version of IndieWeb philosophies add far more value than having hundreds or even thousands of individual silos.

Invariably some people are likely to stick with Twitter, Facebook, or others because they don't have the same values I do. (Currently I suspect the majority do it because it's frictionless and easy.) But this doesn't change the fact that one can't have a "universal" conversation if one prefers. When I look at various platforms, some of them have different personalities and types of conversations because of the (possibly) self-selecting group of people on them. I loved Twitter more in the early days because of it's smaller and more engaged community--things have naturally changed drastically since those early days. Micro.blog is a bit more like it now, but to me it's not so much a social media replacement for Twitter. To me it's really a social reader that I use to quickly follow a subset of interesting and thoughtful people until I have a better social reader built into my own site. The conversation would be somewhat different if these silos were working on niche audience content like knitting or quantum mechanics, but typically they're not. Most social silos are geared toward mass adoption and broad topic discussion or content posting for everyone/everywhere. Their goal is for their site to be the proverbial "phone number and dial-tone of the web". Why do this when I already have a connection and a "phone number" that is my own site URL?

Jack, while some bloggers have turned off comments, they've often done so saying "Post your reply on your own site, or on Twitter, Facebook, etc." This has just pushed the conversation on their ideas off somewhere else which is disconnected and not as easily searchable or discoverable. And without some kind of notification mechanism, the author of the original post has no idea it exists. (I'll elide a conversation about blocking trolls and abuse here.) I've written some thoughts on comments sections in reply to such a blogger who recently re-enabled comments which also links to several interesting articles about the pros/cons of having comments at all. To me, between webmentions, spam filtering, and even moderation, we're lightyears ahead of where we were in the early 2000s.

One other thing I do find interesting is that the way all of this is set up is allowing us the ability to write extended thoughts and extended multiple replies (with civility as relative strangers). I don't think there are many sites on the web that allow this type of interaction, and they certainly don't do it with anything remotely close to the open architecture we're using. While at times it can be a headache for maintenance and problems, I find far more value in it than using anything else.

 

I've got some invite codes for anyone who'd like to try out micro.blog, a new social media site that supports principles.

 

I suspect that markdown or semi-complicated html (like you, I occasionally like to do this too, even if it's just bold or italics) in replies are a second class citizen because most major CMSes (including Known) strip out or severely limit (for security reasons) the html that is accepted in comment fields. In fact, to conserve on space, I've even noticed that many even strip out blank lines between paragraphs! Many also will mark as spam comments that have one or more URLs in them. As a result doing fancy or even mildly complicated html or markdown in replies is something for which most platforms just don't build.

The other issue in status updates and replies is that they're often syndicated to other platforms and it's a more difficult issue to properly do this with each snowflake social media silo depending on how they individually handle html/markdown (or not). I do this sometimes in WordPress to properly format syndicated content, and it easily triples the amount of manual work, so be careful what you wish for. (This may also be the reason I love Known so much too!)

Every now and then I'll write an extended reply to someone's post that gets to the point that headings, additional structure, and the frills become much more valuable. In those cases, I'd probably then default to make them posts/articles and add the additional touches and then do a manual mark up of u-in-reply-to to have them show up as a reply instead of just a mention. This happens so generally rarely that it's not too much of a headache.

Either way, the end result on the other person's site isn't something I can ever control for, so I try not to sweat it too much. :)

 

For the syndicated portfolio, you might want to take a peek at the PressForward plugin for WordPress [http://pressforward.org/]. While it is a stand-alone feed reader under the hood and could be used for creating an editorial flow, it will let you use a simple bookmarklet on your work published on another site to make a quick and complete copy of the post on your own site. Within the plugin settings you can set a "time to forward" (I use one second) such that people who visit that particular post will be automatically forwarded to the original (and canonical URL) on the commissioning outlet's site.

As an example, compare:
http://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/%F0%9F%94%96-feed-reader-revolution-its-time-to-embrace-open-disrupt-social-media/ (which is a bookmark with some commentary pointing to my post)
to
http://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/ (which is an exact copy of my post, which only I can see on my backend, that redirects the viewer to the original on AltPlatform).

This is beneficial as you can syndicate (POSSE) the post with your own URL to Facebook, Twitter, et al. and folks who click to read will be sent to your site for a moment before being forwarded on to the original. Thus you get a ping and the original outlet also gets a ping (as well as the advertising revenue for it.) And if, for any reason, the original outlet goes out of business, gets sold, or disappears, you've got a word-for-word copy of your original and can simply un-forward it so that it can appear on your site as it was originally published. Naturally if you prefer and the outlet doesn't stipulate otherwise, you could publish the original to your site and not forward it (or even forward it for an exclusivity window of time pre-agreed with the original publisher.)

Additionally, if you're using Brid.gy for backfeed, anyone who comments on your POSSE copies will have their commentary sent to your site. While others won't necessarily be able to see the commentary (if you're forwarding the URL to the publisher's original), at least you'll be aware of it and can reply to it and get your own replies in return. I suspect that in the future brid.gy may be able to scrape commentary based on the syndicated URL so that your personal version aggregates commentary from the publisher's original as well as mentions of it on Facebook, Twitter, et al.

There are still some missing pieces I'd like to see in such a workflow for journalists, but it's slowly and surely getting somewhere.

(I've written about other parts of PressForward before at http://boffosocko.com/2016/12/31/pressforward-as-an-indieweb-wordpress-based-rss-feed-reader-pocketinstapaper-replacement/ as I also have an off-label use-case to replace read it later apps like Pocket and InstaPaper.)

 

@sikkdays What a great little post. It mirrors a lot of my own thoughts about social media. If you haven't seen it yet, one of my friends Tantek started a project called "100 Days of Positive Posts" that went pretty well. You might appreciate the idea: https://twitter.com/hashtag/100dopp?f=tweets&vertical=default&src=hash

Like you, he posts on his own site and syndicates to other social media services to reach his friends.

 

@wordpressdotcom @Pocket I wrote this for you: Feed Reader Revolution http://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/

 

@feedly @Inoreader @TheOldReader @reederapp @digg @NewsBlur @netvibes I wrote this for you: Feed Reader Revolution http://boffosocko.com/2017/06/09/how-feed-readers-can-grow-market-share-and-take-over-social-media/

 

@BenjaminHarwood The best part is it supports cutting edge tech like webmentions & micropub out of the box as well as easy syndication to social media. It can also be quickly bundled with brid.gy to bring a lot of your social conversations back to live on your own website so you can use social media, but not rely on it being up forever. I also think it gives a better user experience on mobile as well.

While I love and use WordPress, I don't know what I'd do without Known.

 

I've updated my WithKnown install to v0.9.9 Derbyshire!

2 min read

Aside from one or two custom CSS tweaks, everything seems to be looking and working as expected! If readers or users see or experience any issues, please let me know.

I can't wait to try out all of the new core features and improvements that have arrived since 0.9.2! Including:

  • A simpler user registration experience
  • Fixed image preview rotation
  • Improved indieweb support (including for likes and reposts)
  • Improved migration support
  • Advanced access control internal API
  • Design and layout fixes
  • Better error pages
  • Support for PHP 7
  • Countless fixes and speed improvements in the background

You can get your own version of one of the best, most modern, and most forward-thinking Content Management Systems on the planet by contacting the fantastic team at https://withknown.com/. Or host your own version: https://withknown.com/opensource/ with lots of community developed plugins.

If you've already got Known and haven't upgraded, I've previously written up an outline about the upgrade process.

Coming up soon, I'll be upgrading my Known testing ground at http://known.boffosocko.com/ which, in some sense, is its own social media site, but also allows users to sign up for an account to test drive some of the core functionality in addition to syndicating their content to sites like Twitter and also backfeed their comments back from Twitter. For ease of use, I recommend setting up the bookmarklet after creating your account.

The 1.0 version of Known is anticipated some time in June 2017, but to be honest, in the almost three years I've been using it, it's been both fantastic and rock solid.

 

@EatPodcast If you've not come across it, the Atlas of Economic Complexity may be an interesting tool for you: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/

 

Replied to a post on github.com :

This sounds more like an OGP problem relating to a social and/or SEO plugin (Yoast or All in One perhaps). Does Independent Publisher set meta tags with open graph protocol? I don't imagine it does.

If you view the source of the page (that does show the featured image in social media) you'll usually see something like the following in the header of the page:
<meta property="og:image" content="http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/photo_path.jpg">
This is the meta tag the social platform is likely pulling the image from.

It's possible that it's the case that the SEO/other plugin is automatically pulling the photo from the theme in one case but not the other. These plugins typically have settings to allow overriding the featured photo, using a default photo if one isn't specified, or not using one at all.

This sounds to me more like an issue with another plugin causing the problem and not the theme.

 

Matt Bupkes' thoughts on social media a week ago: http://www.bupk.es/2017/04/17/1.html
Curious how he thinks things have changed after today?