Update: thanks to Ryan Barrett for pointing me to his Keep Bridgy Publish dumb post, which explains why Bridgy doesn't include the features mentioned below!
Nerd alert: This post is me geeking out and will involve talk of protocols.
In keeping with the IndieWeb concept of POSSE (Publishing on my Own Site, Syndicating Elsewhere), I try to make social media posts on my own site first and then make similar (not always identical!) posts to my accounts on silos like Twitter and Facebook. I then add links to the posts on my site indicating that you can find the "syndicated copies" of that post on those silos.
My process for doing this is something like:
Make a new post, likely with a micropub client like Quill.
Log in to Twitter and make a similar post, making note of the URL to the new tweet.
- Log in to Facebook and make a similar post, making note of the URL to the new FB post.
- Edit the metadata to my post to indicate the new syndication links.
- Re-publish the post on my site.
Because of the way my site is set up, this manual process requires the use of my laptop, so I can't do it on the go.
When thinking of ways to automate this process, I found myself drawn to another nice IndieWeb tool called Telegraph. Telegraph takes the URL for a post, finds links inside that post, and (if they support webmentions) allows me to notify those sites about that my post links to theirs with a single click.
I like the way Telegraph works for several reasons:
It's not purpose-built for a single website - it can be used for sending webmentions from any site that publishes their content with the right markup to any site that can receive them.
- It puts the final decision to send a mention in my hands - I can choose to send mentions to any particular link mentioned in my post, or not.
- With a bookmarklet, the process of sending webmentions becomes very simple. I visit the page for my post, click my Telegraph bookmark in my browser, and Telegraph shows me the links and send buttons for my post.
There already exists a great tool for copying content from my site to certain silos: brid.gy. While brid.gy's primary use case is to use webmentions to syndicate comments and other activity from silos onto your own site, brid.gy also has a Publish feature which accepts a URL from your site and attempts to create a similar post on the silo of your choice. Brid.gy Publish is a great feature, and I make good use of it. However, there are still a few pain points that I feel when using it:
While Brid.gy Publish gives a nice preview of what it will do, I can't tweak the content before publishing without editing my own post.
- Brid.gy does not, as far as I can tell, support bookmarklet functionality. So, publishing takes multiple steps:
- Visit my brid.gy profile page for a particular silo account.
- Enter the URL for the post on my site.
- Approve the post.
- Copy the URL for the new silo post from brid.gy.
- Finally, while Brid.gy lets me know in its UI that my post succeeded, Brid.gy has no mechanism for informing my site that the new syndicated post is available. I still need to enter the syndication URLs into my post manually and re-publish my post.
With that groundwork of existing tools, here is what (I think) my ideal workflow would look like:
- Make a new post to my site, likely with a micropub client like Quill.
- While looking at my post, click a bookmarklet that takes me to a syndication tool.
- The syndication tool shows me previews of what my post would look like on each silo where I'd like to publish. I can tweak the content, if needed.
- A single "Publish" click for each silo would create the post on that silo, but would also update my website with the new syndication link.
This tool seems non-trivial to implement, but I think there are several building blocks which could be quite useful:
silo.pub is a micropub-to-multiple-silos service that can simplify the process of getting content into silos. Brid.gy Publish also does much of this.
- Micropub supports querying source properties of a given post. (it also supports querying for a list of syndication targets, but this seems primarily intended for setups where the micropub server itself will handle the syndication).
- Micropub supports updates. this could be used to add the syndication targets back to the original post. In fact, this use case is in the spec.
I am not currently aware of anyone who does POSSE with this particular flow. I would be interested to know other folks' thoughts on this! Feel free to let me know with a post on your own site that mentions this one, or hit me up in the #indieweb-dev IRC chat!
Jonathan Prozzi and I have challenged one another to make a post about improving our websites once a week. This one should have gone up last week! A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts about my IndieWeb setup called "Easier POSSE with Micropub Edits?" in which I wished for a tool that would let me take a given post from my site, syndicate it to silos like Twitter and Facebook (tweaking the content if I want), and updating the post on my site to show the links to those syndicated copies...