Over the last few weeks I have undertaken significant changes to my site. The design has been slightly updated, with Vollkorn replacing Calluna for a heartier reading experience. The navigation has been simplified, removing the social icons from the top right of the navbar and linking to them in my bio. Navigation items on mobile sizes are now icons as well. These visual updates will keep coming as I refine the design, but the biggest updates have happened under the hood in order to empower the new Snippets feed. I migrated to a new CMS, Craft, which allows for very simple, yet totally customizable content and has a great control panel. This flexibility allowed me to take control of a lot of the content that I have been publishing on social networks and create a canonical feed of little things I want to share. I call them Snippets.
I really enjoy Microblogging, in Twitter, ADN, or Facebook form. These social networks are great places to share, discover, and talk about almost anything. Some of the content is so great that it seems a shame to be dumping it into 3rd party services, which may be gone within a few years. Microblogging and social sharing will survive, whether or not the current players do. So I wanted to take control of the things I publish on these networks, without abandoning the great things only they can provide, the conversations and reactions to what is shared. So Snippets are the way I will post to these services from now on. I create and own the canonical material, which is then posted to Twitter, ADN, Facebook, Flickr, etc..
The way I have configured Snippets allows me to tackle another problem of social sharing, cross posting. In the past I have used IFTTT to post what I share on ADN to Twitter and Facebook. This is not ideal, it leads to truncated posts on Twitter and posts on Facebook that I end up deleting because my friends there don’t care what I think about some mundane aspect of my job. Cross posting lives in the tension of differing social network capabilities and distinct spheres of social connections. The flexibility of Craft allows me to bypass all those issues. When I create a new Snippet I write the canonical post, then I select which social networks it will be published on. I also edit the post to fit each selected network’s capabilities (character limits for example). Once the post is published each service has an RSS feed that is used, by IFTTT, to publish their version of the post. This process deals with both the differing capabilities and desired audience for each service. Facebook friends may see an article I liked and not necessarily my comments about responsive web design, but both will live on my website.
I am not trying to log all my activity on these networks, just the content that I want to claim because it originates with me. This does not include retweets, likes, comments, or any of the unique things that makes each of these services great. I am happy with the possibilities of Snippets and am excited to see how they expand.