Owner of Social Network Data aka Indieweb
During the campaign for Congress, I had to transform my social networks into a real sales platform. They all had to be super aligned with the same purpose.
I should have already installed/hired some social media manager, like Hootsuite or Zoho Social (Zoho has been my online service provider for years), as this is no trivial task. There were more than 8 networks. And many of the contents are copies of each other.
In addition to the difficulty of managing the various networks, there is confusion as to what content I would release as official. Canonical. Especially networks that are essentially competitors.
- Twitter or Mastodon?
- Tiktok or YouTube Shorts or Instagram Stories?
- Facebook or my blog?
It gets substantially worse with stories like Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. He’s made so many changes to the platform that it’s not impossible to think the company will eventually go broke. Thus, years of content would be thrown away. And the constant changes in rules and permissions?!
Indieweb: The owner of the content is ME
To address some of these concerns, I’m trying to centralize the source of information to a system that I have full control over. And nothing better than this site itself to be responsible. Here I do whatever I want, optimize images (one of my concerns is that I’ve never had much discipline in removing the metadata from images), and customize their appearance. This then becomes the official center of what I do.
POSSE is the practice of Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere, in other words, publish links or copies on other social networks always citing the source of the content, so that anyone can follow you directly at the source.
Reposting on Twitter and Mastodon is easy as they are usually text and few images. Meta/Facebook sites are more boring because they are richer in content and have no API to automate. Video ones are even more work, as hosting videos in person is quite expensive (I’ve always felt that YouTube does an almost humanitarian job in hosting such a volume of data).
For now, I must keep old content on its source platforms. Gradually I will try to write only here. Eventually start to even export all the old content from these services to have back and put static on the site.
Microformats, Fediverse and Webmention
To adapt the site to be the center of the online universe, some changes need to be made:
✅ Make it easier for computers to also understand the site
I also implemented microformats on the site and in the contents, so that any other system that reads the site can extract the main information: the author, title, content, and publication date. Several of this information already appears visually on the site. As humans, we can understand easily, but computers cannot. Therefore, a series of modifications were made so that the contents are also easily understood by machines.
Separating the different types of content
As I use the blog as a tool for longer texts, daydreams, and ideas, I’m thinking of creating specific lists for small texts (tweet/toot) and maybe images (today the site has a tag that points to my posts of photos). So everything would be better indexed and found. Blog and notes. My site manager, Hugo, allows for several approaches. The question is how to do a better implementation.
Integrate comments, replies, and shares made on other sites
I’ve tried using some commenting tools before, like Discus and Cactus.chat (super cool concept of using Matrix as a comment source). I don’t have a lot of traffic here, so it wouldn’t matter. But the goal is now bigger: to include comments and reposts of my content made on other sites.
The W3C’s standard (the organization that standardizes the internet) created webmentions, a way to formalize that someone is commenting on someone else’s content. That’s the only way I can maintain a great discussion about the content I’ve posted on any network.
“Automatically” republish content written here on other social networks
This will take some time as I will need to use some external services that will read my site’s RSS and try to post on social media instead. Essentially using a HootSuite/Zoho Social type solution. Even better if it’s open source. I will investigate the use of n8n.
As soon as I manage to implement more things, I’ll post them here. I want to give the least amount of work to the next ones who are excited to take control of their own digital lives.