"Facebook represents a dangerous deviation in media history. Once upon a time, elites proudly viewed themselves as gatekeepers. They could be sycophantic to power and snobbish, but they also felt duty-bound to elevate the standards of society and readers. Executives of Silicon Valley regard gatekeeping as the stodgy enemy of innovation — they see themselves as more neutral, scientific and responsive to the market than the elites they replaced — a perspective that obscures their own power and responsibilities"
You can now subscribe to realtime updates of IndieNews feeds via WebSub! (formerly known as PubSubHubbub)
It was relatively straightforward to add the necessary tags and ping the WebSub hub to make this work. I used Switchboard as the hub. I added the <link> tags and HTTP headers to indicate the hub and self URLs. When a new post is submitted, I then ping the hub, which is just an HTTP POST request with the URL of the feed.
I then went to test the publisher using websub.rocks. That part worked great, websub.rocks was able to subscribe to my feed, and I see it receiving the ping when a new post is added to IndieNews.
Then I went to try subscribing to IndieNews in Woodwind. Woodwind reported that it subscribed successfully, but it appears that it no longer shows me the WebSub statistics that it used to. I wanted to ensure it was able to subscribe to the realtime feed, so I then used websub.rocks to test Woodwind!
As it turns out, Woodwind failed to subscribe to the test feed in websub.rocks, but not because of a bug in Woodwind! It turns out I had a small bug in websub.rocks caused by a previous renaming of some things. It was a quick fix and I'm glad Woodwind was able to point that out!
After adding IndieNews to Woodwind, I then realized that these posts don't look quite right in readers, and we likely need to do some more brainstorming on how they should be marked up and consumed. The challenge is when displaying a bookmarked post, who should appear as the author, and where should the permalink go? To the bookmark or to the post being bookmarked? It's likely the case that you'd want to see both pieces of information, especially since you see both pieces of information on IndieNews.
Let's take a look at a post on IndieNews:
This is a post that Chris (boffosocko.com) bookmarked on his site, and submitted to IndieNews. His goal was to share the Wordpress plugin with the community, so that's the most prominent thing being displayed here. The "WordPress IndieNews" title links to the GitHub repository, and we see "github.com" below reflecting that. At the end of the line, we see "from boffosocko.com" which is a link to his bookmark post. This indicates to the viewer that this was submitted by someone else.
I am reasonably happy with the way this is presented on IndieNews. The question then is how should it appear when being viewed in a reader such as Woodwind? We clearly have more research to do in this area, so I've started by adding this screenshot and a short description to the Bookmark page on the wiki.
"The scariest part: over 90% of my feed’s subscribers use Google Reader. What happens when Google Reader dies?"
In the current world of silos dominating the social media space, people typically have to visit half a dozen websites or apps to see all the latest content from friends. At this point I'm sick of this "multiple inbox" model that I want to find an alternative as fast as possible.
Currently I open my usual social media sites (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, in that order) and read the home timeline only as a last resort. Below is an attempt to document the primary ways I find things online so that I can consider how I want my IndieWeb reader to present content to me.
I have a persistent streaming search from twitter.com running, looking for specific keywords. These tweets get sent to various IRC channels I am in. The keywords are usually words associated with specific projects.
For example "indieweb, indiewebcamp, indieauth, webmention" all get sent to the public #indiewebcamp IRC channel. A search for "aaronpk, aaronparecki.com, flickstagram, transportini" and a couple other terms (which I don't want to reveal, an important point that will have to be considered in the design of my reader) all go to a private IRC channel. One of the internal Esri channels has a search running for "esripdx, geotrigger, developers.arcgis.com" so we can see when people are talking about our projects.
When a particularly interesting tweet comes in, I may click it to see if anyone has replied to it and read the conversation thread.
Occasionally I come across an article newly posted on Hackernews, or a tweet I think will lead to an interesting conversation, so I leave a browser tab open to the URL and come back to it periodically to see if anything is happening. I usually close these after a couple hours to a day, occasionally up to 2 days.
When I am at a specific event, or in some other temporary situation, I often search a specific hashtag or a keyword to see what other people are saying. After the event, I typically don't care to follow the search anymore.
Along the lines of Tantek's people-focused communications, I often open Twitter or Facebook to a specific person's timeline, such as when I first meet someone, or when I want to get in touch with someone after a while and see what they've been up to. Sometimes this is people I am already following, but sometimes I do not want to follow them publicly or persistently, and just see what they have recently posted instead.
On very rare occasions, I open the Swarm app to look at who is nearby. I would say for the most part this is not terribly useful or interesting information, so I would not prioritize this feature in an interface, as the majority of the time I use Swarm this information is not helpful.
Currently, IRC is my primary "reader." Because I have so many Twitter searches running, I very rarely actually visit twitter.com and look at my stream.
I also have many other bits of information piped into IRC, such as notifications of webmentions of my various websites, debugging information from my website, notifications when someone calls my number on my apartment's call box, debug logs from other websites I run, etc.
In order to replace IRC as a generic notification platform for myself, I'll need a way to easily get arbitrary messages into my reader. Probably my best bet is to create a really simple blog that supports Micropub, so my various systems can quickly create posts on it. Then I can just subscribe to that blog in my reader.
IRC also sends push notifications to my phone for lines that match certain patterns, so I will need a similar mechanism to receive mobile push notifications about certain items that appear in my reader.
There are many existing RSS readers, but most of them follow the same model of reader that has existed since the beginning of RSS readers. I tried extending Selfoss to support Microformats feeds, with mostly success. However I realized that this reader was fundamentally stuck in the RSS reader model of having an "inbox" of unread items, and reading specific feeds individually. I think we can do better than this now.
I've heard many rumblings that the fantastic IndieWeb publishing platform Known will be getting built-in reader functionality soon. I look forward to that for sure, since it will make IndieWeb-enabled readers accessilble to a lot of people.
Another fantastic IndieWeb reader is Woodwind, which is relatively new and Kyle has made great progress on it already! I've been using it already, reading several peoples' blogs from it and using it to post likes on my site. The only reason I'm building my own and not just building on that one is because it's written in Python and I don't know the first thing about making Python apps. If you're looking for a completely functional reader to use right now, I'd definitely recommend it.
You can follow along with the development of Monocle, my IndieWeb reader, here: github.com/aaronpk/Monocle/issues
I am still in the design phase, but taking extensive notes as GitHub issues. Feel free to chime in with suggestions if you wish!
Similar to p3k, I will be writing as much of Monocle as separate libraries that can be re-used by other projects. To give you an idea of what this looks like, here is the list of separate modules I've written or contributed to that p3k uses.
but I suspect the hardest part is the client app for readers, which works in a way analogous to an RSS reader or email client, but would have to support a new format and would be optimized for clean reading and subsequent discovery, rather than the three-pane model which has dominated those apps for the last decade or two