My New Social Pages
Published on under the IndieWeb category.
A few days ago I published a blog post on how I am using Micropub to post content to my site. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Micropub is a standardised way to post content to your site. By using Micropub, I can post content to my site from any Micropub-compliant client (although I have chosen to use my own client because I have a few custom requirements).
Regular visitors to this site will not see Micropub in action because it's all in the back end. But, you will see the results of Micropub which are now displayed on my new "social" pages. These pages, recently redesigned, let me share social interactions on my site such as "likes" and "bookmarks" that would otherwise be sent on a social media platform. I will use these pages to share some content on the web that I find interesting.
How my social pages work
Let's say I am drinking an interesting coffee and I want to share information about it on my blog. I can do that with my Micropub client. I have a form to fill out that asks about the name of the coffee, a description, a photo (optional), and some other questions like what varietals are in the coffee. Then, some computer code turns what I have written into a blog post. Within a few minutes, the post is on my site.
This same logic applies to my likes, bookmarks, reposts (also called "shares", which you may know better as "Retweets" on Twitter). I fill out a form and then the social interaction will be posted on my website.
Why am I posting these interactions on my site?
I am posting social interactions on my site both for myself and to help others discover new web pages and content that might interest them.
I browse the web a lot and find many interesting materials, from websites to articles to tutorials. I often end up coming back to resources I have seen in the past. Before now, I used bookmarks in my browser quite a bit but those bookmarks are not social. There are many excellent pieces of content on the web that I want to save for later or share with others and I don't know a better way to do so than on my website.
Curious about what coffees I am drinking? You can go to my "drinking" log. Want to find some links I have found interesting? Check my new "bookmarks" page.
The design of my social pages
My social pages have gone through two iterations. The first version of my social pages involved separate pages for each social interaction, from likes to bookmarks. They had the same design as my other pages. I felt that they were a bit overwhelming because dozens of links could appear on a page and they were quite close together. Also, it was hard to navigate between social pages so it was hard to get from my bookmarks to my likes.
I decided to go back to the drawing board and came up with the design you'll now see on my likes, bookmarks, and other social pages. The design is pictured at the top of this article.
I have a second navigation bar that contains links to all of my social pages now. You can use this to easily go through my social interactions pages. Each interaction is in a white box and those white boxes are separated quite a bit so it's easy to read the page without feeling overwhelmed. Also, each page is paginated. This means that instead of listing every social interaction in a category (i.e. likes) on one page, you can click a link at the bottom of the page to see more.
All of my social pages are marked up with h-feed microformats so you can subscribe to them if you have a feed reader that can read microformats.
Now that all of this infrastructure is in place, you can expect most future developments to be me actually posting content. Check on my likes page every now and again if you are bored and want to surf the web. Look at my RSVP page if you are curious about what events I might be at in the future. Check out my drinking page if you are curious about what coffees I am brewing.
By posting all of this content on my site rather than using social networks—although this is by no means a replacement for social media, which I do not actually use that often—I have control over how it appears. This means I'm able to make my social pages look pretty and how I want them to look. This is perhaps the best argument for "owning your own data", at least to me: if you own your own data, you can control how it is used and displayed.
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