Henrik Carlsson's Blog

I’m taking back my content

Or how Dave Winer got me to post frequently on this blog again.

Almost a year ago I wrote about how it was time for me to take back my data. In that post I announced that I planned to switch most of my search engine use from Google to DuckDuck Go. That has worked out fine and DuckDuck Go is still my main search engine. Yay! (I also said I planned to switch away from Dropbox as well. That has not happened, thus far.)

Now it is time to start doing the same conscious effort to take back my content!

What do I mean by that? Well, if you follow this blog you know I very rarely post to it. However if you also follow me on Twitter you know that I post short status updates and links there quite often. I also occasionally post to my Instagram account. Lately I’ve started questioning why I spend so much time and energy creating content for other peoples website instead of my own. At the same time I’ve seen Dave Winer, the father of RSS and so many other great things, launch his new project Radio3.

Radio3 is a web app that lets the user post status updates or link blog style posts to Facebook, Twitter and an RSS feed.

The idea is to start a great flow of news to these services, while enabling new networks to boot up on the open web, building on the RSS support. So when you post using Radio3, you’re helping the web news system reboot. It’s like using solar or wind energy, or riding a bike instead of driving. It’s good for the environment. ;-)

– Dave Winer, Radio3 mail list

I love this philosophy! The idea that I don’t have to chose between Twitter and my blog and that both will still be ”first class citizens” of my digital presence is really compelling.

So I started playing around with Radio3 yesterday. My initial idea was the use its RSS feed to post to my blog via IFTTT. For some reason that did not work out at all. Instead of investing a lot of time into trying to find out why I reached out to Dave on Twitter and asked if he had any plans to add support for WordPress in Radio3. The answer was that it was coming the very same day.

So I waited for a couple of hours and then it arrived. When I tried it out I realized it worked, but not in the way I wanted to. As of today (and yesterday) Radio3 doesn’t give me the ability to chose what post type or post format the post will be posted as on my blog and since I’d like any link post to be of the post format link and any short text post to be of the post format status that’s a problem. It’s a small problem that I could possibly overlook but then there was another thing: The text of my Radio3 post was posted on my blog as title of a blog post, not as a posts content. This is not the way I want it.

Both of these ”problems” are small problems that I could live with, but combined they really bugged me.

However I had invested to much time1 into Radio3 to give up that easily so I picked up my hammer, my screwdriver and a whole lot of duct tape and started cobbling something together. After a lot of frustration with WordPress’ XMLRPC-API i finally managed to hack a solution where I post in Radio3. That gets published on Twitter and in my Radio3 RSS feed. That feed is then fetched and parsed every five minutes by a script on one of my servers. If that script finds any new items in the feed they will be posted to my blog as the correct post format and with the text as post content, not post title.

This way it works the way I want and I’ve used it a couple of times today and I’m very pleased with the result.

So this is my long-winding way of saying that I am going to post here a lot more often since everything that in the past just became a tweet will now be a tweet and a tweet-length blog post.2

So thank you Dave Winer, for giving me the necessary kick in the butt to actually revise the way I post to social networks.

  1. In reality maybe an hour, so not that long. 
  2. Since the road to hell is paved with cross-posting I’ve turned of the IFTTT recipe that auto-posts to Twitter every time something new is posted on this blog. There is no need to bug you, dear reader, with to much cross-posting. If you want to stay up to date on when things happen on this blog, please use its RSS feed

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