Within the broader social media world there are a huge variety of types of posts. These range from common articles to status updates to likes or favorites to more varied post types like photos, bookmarks, RSVPs, checkins, videos, reviews, jams, reads, audio, exercise, food, recipes, and e…
As an IndieWeb newbie I am very much still getting to grips with many aspects of applying the principles to my WordPress blog. I had been struggling with how to implement reply-contexts until I came across this article by Chris Aldrich where he explains very clearly how to use the Post Kinds plugin. I hadn’t discovered the Response Properties box available in the post editor up until this point, but now I have I can show neat looking links, excerpts and author details for anything that I am replying to or commenting on. This post being a case in point.
Having moved my blog to WordPress, the first task was to choose an IndieWeb-friendly theme. Over at IndieWeb.org there is advice aplenty on what themes work well – I won’t pretend to understand it all yet. I have used Autonomie by Matthias Pfefferle. I like it’s minimalist look – no doubt some tinkering will occur.
The second task was to find a way to easily post to the blog without involving the ghastly WordPress app. To this end I dug into Drafts 5, which I haven’t used in an age. Initially I edited the Post to WordPress template that is available to download from the Action Directory. This was easy to set up but I quickly spotted a problem. For some reason that is beyond me, when I posted to WordPress using this action comments would be closed, overriding the default that I have set. I tried to rectify this but no joy.
Another option is to email a post to WordPress via Jetpack. I set up an Action in drafts which emails my text. Relevant tags are typed in the first line. The second line is a duplicate of the first few words of the blog post minus any markdown formatting – the reason for this will become obvious. The rest is the body of the post. Using this method seems not to interfere with the ‘comments on’ setting.
One slight hitch I discovered when emailing a post was that WordPress automatically created a post title – not something I use as a rule – using the current date. This is where that second duplicate line comes in. By inserting a title shortcode in the Drafts action which calls this line, WordPress uses this as a title instead of the date. While I don’t generally display the titles on the blog it should look better in RSS feeds than a date would. Probably not the most elegant solution but this does all mean I can type a post with tags and send it to WordPress in one click. And I’m all for fewer clicks.
For the past few months my blog has been hosted on Micro.blog. I really like the frictionless nature of using it. I mentioned this in a post in which I also said that I was done with WordPress. So why have I been fiddling around with a self-hosted WordPress site for my blog for the last week?
Firstly, when I said I was done with WordPress I was referring to WordPress.com. While there is a fair amount of customisation that can be done, access to plugins (and the subsequent tinkering that can be done) is limited unless you pay for a top-tier plan. If plug-ins are your thing, from a cost perspective alone it then makes sense to use a self-hosted site. And I like the idea of fiddling with plug-ins.
Secondly, I have become intrigued by the IndieWeb movement. I like the ethos of owning your own content and communicating with other web users without having to use social media. Micro.blog is IndieWeb compatible, and while it is accessible it does have one or two limitations. One drawback is that in order to comment on someone’s post you have to be a member, which means that you won’t have comments on your own posts from people outside of the Micro.blog community. Another drawback is when it comes to customising the website templates that are used – I am not that great at it. Admittedly, this is largely down to my own lack of coding knowledge, but I am more familiar with using WordPress. Additionally, there are several plugins available for WordPress that support the IndieWeb and I want to experiment with these and get my head around webmentions, endpoints and the like.
I suspect my logic here is somewhat skewed and someone with much better knowledge of both platforms could point out good reasons for me to stick with Micro.blog. I will continue to take part in the community there and I may yet go back to using Micro.blog to host my blog, but for now this is a particular itch I have to scratch.