From IndieWeb

What goes where? / Best Practices for Notes & Replies was a session at IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2024.



People use their own website, perhaps used to use Twitter, or use Mastodon etc.

The question is where to post what?

Used to use Flickr in the old days. These days I post them to my own website. I don't quite know where to post these.

Also notes and longer articles, do these go on your own website like an activity stream? It's good for me when I visit any of your websites and see that, but perhaps confusing for a first time visitor.

In a phase of a redesign of my website, so thinking about these things.

Tantek (https://tantek.com): had a composite stream on his homepage for a long time. Started by posting notes on home page, like you would see on Twitter. Then started posting blog posts, replies, likes. Looked at prior art. There are a lot of designs about how to show content on home pages.


Early example: Facebook timelines composing content from different sources.

Tantek spent a lot of time working on design; typography, styles.

Tantek says feel free to take any design elements from his website.

Bigger challenge for Tantek: usability of posting notes quickly, and with less work.

Used to post to Twitter multiple times a day, now mostly does not post every day; some of that is the process Tantek has, and also something that the IndieWeb can do better at: a simple UI for posting contents to our own websites. We can do better than social networks because we don't care about ads or engagement.

Challenge for session: Draw a sketch for easily posting notes and replies on one's personal website. Notes and replies are the simplest place to start.

  • Q for Tantek: why did he post more on Twitter?
    • Tantek says an easier to use interface would encourage him to promote more.
  • Twitter got it right by simplifying to a text box for posting.
  • The original Blogger had a text field; no title field. They added the title field later.
  • James: there may be a cultural aspect of posting short notes on websites. A lot of websites are portfolios or blogs, fewer short notes that one would associate with social networks that support microblogging. This is likely because Twitter, Mastodon, etc. already serves those use cases.
  • Q for site authors: do you want to read short posts within long posts?
    • Provide different RSS feeds for short and long notes?
  • Reading a personal website is the fastest way for people to post content.
  • Optimise for the simplest case first in UX design.
    • Tantek: would rather optimise for going to his website to publish content, without using an external tool.
  • James: Make a HTML textarea on your homepage where you can post content
  • James: bookmarklet for creating that text area -- ideal if your site doesn't have authentication?

Omnibear -- related to the bookmarklet topic

  • Ease of publishing is one piece of the problem
  • microsyntax helps, like Twitter's hashtag -- microsyntax helps with writing fast
    • you don't want to think about extra input boxes for tags, etc -- ideally, everything is in one place.
    • autolinking URLs and highlighting syntax; keeps you in the mode of writing instead of worrying about bigger parts of content authorship
    • when using hashtag: see other posts that have used the hashtag.
    • hashtags, URLs highlight automatically in Twitter

Your editor could show you other posts you've written with that hashtag, helping you remember what you've written.

  • Readwise: browser plugin, when you go to a website, you can mark text, then it gets exported to Obsidian (a writing tool) for later use.

Maybe possible with a bookmarklet, knows what you selected, gets the URL

  • a bookmarklet can get highlighted text, we think.
  • webactions is related: a button for reply / other actions.
  • why do we post to personal sites and somewhere else (i.e. Mastodon)
    • don't want to distract people visiting my site with too much short content and replies
    • if it's only one line of text, I would go to Mastodon, Twitter, etc.
    • Matthias: only posts longer content to my blog. notes are usually 3-4 paragraphs. notes shown on homepage.
    • James says good morning on Mastodon.
    • The context of social media involves content of different lengths -- what you are comfortable posting on Mastodon (a really short post) might not be something you want on your website.
    • David: If I have content anywhere, I want it on my website.
  • First step: what content you are publishing, what format it is in.
    • may showcase big projects
    • hashtags: a good way for people to explore other content you wrote on a given topic
    • text box: least possible number of decisions to make.
    • categorising things into boxes takes time

text box on your site = least number of decisions to make

  • Tantek: when started posting in 2010 and syndicating to Twitter, tried many ways of explaining to people what he was doing, many people didn't get it. Explanation he then used: my personal website is my Twitter client and people understood that. There were so many clients at the time; it was more understandable.
  • When you post something, it doesn't have to go to your homepage. You could say, only if the post if a paragraph or two or more then it displays on your personal home page.

See Also