Henrik Carlsson's Blog

Why I cross-post/syndicate, and why I think it’s a good idea

For the past few days there’s been a lot of discussion about whether to to cross-post your content to different places or not. I assume much is this discussion bubbles up now because Facebook is heavily restricting its API.

Ben Werdmüller makes a good case for why open source publishing tools such as Known should not spend time developing connections to proprietary APIs that can be shut down on a whim. A lot of people agrees with him and it also seems like many are rethinking whether to syndicate posts to different social networks or not, with most participants arriving at the conclusion that they shouldn’t.

I’m not going to argue against this, but I am going to tell you why I think cross-posting is valuable and something that I plan to keep on doing. Basically, it all boils down to what can be summarized as my mother doesn’t use a feed reader.

In a more broad sense it means that different people that I want to be able to see the things I write, and whos posts I want to read (my family and different groups of friends), use different social networks. My mother doesn’t read my blog. Nor does my fiancé. That means that if I post a cute picture of one of the kids my closest family won’t see it, unless I cross-post it to Instagram.

Same goes for a lot of my friends who have stopped using RSS and instead use Twitter.1

Other people use micro.blog, or Medium or any other site and/or network.

And yes I mentioned micro.blog because to some of us, micro.blog is also a cross-post. I don’t post on micro.blog, I post on my own blog and syndicate to micro.blog. Sure, an important distinction between micro.blog och say Twitter or Facebook is that the former does all the heavy lifting for me. All it needs is an RSS feed. It even sends webmentions for replies, which I love.

So I definitely think that the case can be made that it’s not worth the hassle to support all kinds of different proprietary APIs to cross-post to the latest snapstagram, but that’s about time spent, not about cross-posting being something bad.

Someone brought up the idea that cross-posting is anoying for a person who follows someone on multiple places and while I can see that, the solution is really simple. Don’t follow someone in more that one place, if that someone is someone who cross-posts most or all things.

  1. Note that I currently don’t syndicate to Twitter. That’s simply because I want to keep myself away from Twitter because reading things there only makes me angry. 

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