If that’s the case, you should check out Manton Reece’s snippets.today. This has the potential to be huge.
Everyone: When you ask ”Isn’t that what Twitter already does?” the answer is no. Twitter does nothing well because of the 140-char limit.
You might even say Twitter does nothing. The Seinfeld of social networks.The province of snorts and gusts. Miscreant sarcasm and trollery.
At first this might sound like an oversimplification but it resonated with me. Twitter is making me increasingly frustrated these days. The 140 character limit might, might, have been a good thing to differentiate it at first but today I think that it’s one of the core problems of the service.
A hundred-and-forty character limit is actively harming nuanced discussions. Once you start tweeting directly to one person it gets even worse since precious characters are eaten up by the username of that person. So instead of discussion we get people screaming simplified messages into the void, we get Trump, we get people calling someone who tries to argue for something a racist, or a sexist, or a social justice warrior, a communist, a fascist, etc. Whatever name you find is properly insulting you use to smear the those who seems to not agree with you. When there’s not enough room to question or to debate you get name-calling.
I’m guilty of this as well. I’m also guilty of not speaking up and not questioning in a lot of cases. There have been so many times that I thought of something that I wanted to express, so many times that I wanted to ask follow-up questions to someone who wrote something that I didn’t agree with and so many of those times I chose not to. Because I couldn’t fit it within the limits of twitter without botching the message completely. So instead I kept shut.
So why do I keep using twitter? Probably because so many of my friends and people whose opinions I care about are there, and so much of the news that I read comes to me this way.
Fortunately the latter obstacle is not that much of a problem. I’m still an avid RSS user and I could replace a lot of my news sources on Twitter with various RSS feeds and readers. In part I am doing that already since I’ve more or less unfollowed every single account tweeting about Swedish politics or Swedish news. Instead I keep the RSS feed of some Swedish newspapers in my river of news.
Same thing goes for a lot of tech news as well.
The first problem, that so many of my friends and people who’s voices I care about is on Twitter is a bigger issue. I am actually after all these years contemplating joining Facebook. Maybe that would help me to keep up with my friends. In a way, I think it would be better for this than Twitter is.
As for the people who I’m not a real-life friend, who might not even follow and/or be interested in me, with but whose opinions matter to me, I think all of us – everyone who’s expressing strong opinions on the internet – should be better at expressing us on our own publishing space as well. More blogs, more of the indieweb.
This post got a lot more rambly than I planned. I’d actually only planned to quote Dave and to leave a sentence or two as a comment but things doesn’t always turn out the way we’ve planned.
So I have no great way of ending the post. No call to action for you, the reader or for myself. I guess I’ll get back on this topic.
In reality this is so not true. For the last five weeks I’ve been on vacation and most of that time have been spent raising my baby daughter. Before that I worked and raised my baby daughter. So off course I’ve accomplished something. I’m in the middle of raising a human being!
But that doesn’t make the feeling of needing to accomplish something less urgent. What I mean in this case is that I feel that I should create something, something that is visible online.
I have a lot of ideas of things to do and a lot of started projects that doesn’t seem to ever go anywhere. Here are some of the things I want to do/have begun doing:
Last summer I finally managed to carve out the time to learn how to use Objective-C and how to code iOS apps.
I’ve made two apps that kind of works that’s only been used by me and my girlfriend.1 However I’ve not managed to get them polished up to the point where I’ve felt comfortable posting them to the App Store.
This is very common for me. I start something and it gets ”good enough” for me to use it, but then I never make it good enough for others to use.#
The apps are a photo app to create time-lapse photos of something that slowly changes (like a pregnant woman’s belly) and a private photo sharing app that uses WordPress as a backend.
I also have an idea for a River of News based RSS reader.
Lately I’ve been really interested in the idea of owning your content, in ”POSSE” and the whole indie web, or silo-less web or whatever you want to call it. That has gotten me to start changing things around on this blog to accommodate ”microblog”, ”link blogs” etc. etc. (I’m also highly anticipating Manton Reece’s upcoming microblogging service.)
This has led to some progress but also to a cluttered site, both in terms of the content but mostly in terms of the underlying code and the services I use (for instance IFTTT and Radio3) to make this happen.
At the moment it seems like it would be faster to actually start creating a new theme from scratch (although with the same basic look) rather than refactoring the one I’m using. But it also feels like a drag to do that. It feels like I once again start over in something rather then polishing something up. (Do you see a pattern here?)
On the other hand, working on the theme might result in some open source code and that would really be me making something.
A couple of days ago I installed a River of News aggregator on my computer and I got blown away by it. Unlike other forms of RSS aggregation this seems like the perfect way to consume a large number of current topics via RSS. I also have a strong feeling that rivers of news will be important in a possible future with a more open web. Hell, Twitter is basically a bunch of rivers of news!
Today I also read a post that, among other things, requested a better way for blogs to recommend each other to readers and to curate content from each others blogs. This is likely accomplished by rivers and the OPML files that are the foundations of the rivers.
So I have multiple ideas of things to do involving rivers.
Or, I could just continue to Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. Sometimes playing a video game can feel like I’m accomplishing things.
I really, really, love to read but I read way to seldom. So maybe I should just continue reading Spook Country.
I don’t know. Hopefully something productive. I guess time will tell.
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.