From IndieWeb
(Redirected from status update)

A note is a post that is typically short unstructured* plain text, written & posted quickly, that has its own permalink page.

Creating, publishing, and owning your own notes is a key step towards reducing dependence on Twitter.

*Though unstructured meaning without a heading/title or any other explicit structure, notes can include several lines of text or even lists using "*" or numerical markers due to common whitespace support.


Most of the reasons why apply quite strongly to publishing your notes on your own website. In addition:

  • Simplest post building block. All posts have a simple text component, whether name, caption, comment, or text equivalent. Build notes first, and then you have a building block you can build upon for every other post type. This is the smallest step you can take to owning the timestamped content you publish.
  • Do better than Twitter, here are a few ways. Choose those that matter to you:
    • presentation: your notes permalink pages can be cleaner and have more informative presentation (e.g. a facepile of all favorites/retweets, not just a few) than tweet permalinks
    • interactivity: better auto-linking and auto-embedding than proprietary Twitter Cards, multiple embeds instead of just one. E.g. use the CASSIS auto_link function which works better than Twitter's auto-linking/embedding.
    • navigation: providing next/previous and other navigation links
    • direct linking: direct hyperlinks rather than wrappers around your links
    • speed: load simpler HTML+CSS note pages rather than all of the JS that Twitter depends on.
    • editability: you can edit your own notes, you cannot edit tweets.
    • flexibility: post notes longer than 140 characters.

How to

How to publish

Here is a minimal note post:

<div class="h-entry">
 <time class="dt-published">2013-03-07</time>: 
 <p class="p-content">
  <a class="u-author" href="/">I</a> ate a cheese sandwich.

Which might be rendered like:

2013-03-07: I ate a cheese sandwich.

How to POSSE

The most common POSSE destination for notes is Twitter because implementing note posts on your own site is a great way to start to own your data, with posting notes only on your own site, and having it automatically POSSE to Twitter, and never ever posting directly to Twitter again.

See: Twitter#POSSE_to_Twitter for details on How to POSSE notes to Twitter, and replies too!

(need additional note POSSE destinations along with motivations for doing so).

IndieWeb Examples

Here are documented examples of IndieWebCamp participants' sites that support publishing notes and do so (i.e. before POSSEing to silos). In date order (earliest first) :


Tantek Çelik using Falcon on since 2010-01-01.

Barnaby Walters

Barnaby Walters using Taproot on since 2012-03-24 (note shows 2012-04-14 updated date, but POSSE tweet shows 2012-03-24 date). Notes previous to that one were imported/crossposted from onto (did not originate there).

Aaron Parecki

Aaron Parecki using p3k on since 2012-08-19.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris using Ferocity on since 2013-03-21 (note POSSE tweet same day). Earlier "notes" on are likely a result of imports from Twitter and Tumblr archives rather than posts originating on

Ben Werdmuller

Ben Werdmüller using idno on since 2013-05-31.

Shane Becker

Shane Becker on since 2013-10-23 (note POSSE tweet same day).

Chloe Weil on Chloe Weil since 2013-12-03 (note POSSE tweet same day). See also related blog post:

  • 2013-12-04: Hipster: "I built Twitter."

Chloe Weil

Chloe Weil on Chloe Weil since 2013-12-03 (note POSSE tweet same day). See also related blog post:

  • 2013-12-04: Hipster: "I built Twitter."

Jonny Barnes

Jonny Barnes on has been posting notes since 2013-12-03

Michael Bester

Michael Bester on since 2014-01-13. See also related blog post:

Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith on since 2014-05-27 (Note POSSE copy may say 2014-05-26 presumably because of timezone differences, Jeremy's is in BST, while a PDT viewer sees datetime adjusted accordingly). See also related blog post:

gRegor Morrill

gRegor Morrill on since 2014-06-25

David Shanske

David Shanske on since 2014-03-17. Had imported older material as notes prior to this.

atomicules since 2015-05-18 (originally at which 404s since at least 2018-02-17). I use Jekyll with a notes subdirectory to _posts. The note is simply stored as the title element in the yaml front matter. I use a rake task to generate and syndicate the note from the command line.

Jonathan LaCour

Jonathan LaCour has been using Known on since 2015-08-06.

Ryan Rix

Ryan Rix (rrix) since 2016-04-15 publishes notes through Arcology and syndicates them to Twitter and Facebook using Bridgy

Glenn Jones

Glenn Jones on since 2016-06-16 per his notes page (post permalink is 404 as of at least 2018-02-17)

  • older notes that appear to have disappeared (if restored, bump this back up)
    • was since 2014-01-15
    • was since 2014-01-14 but that note appears to be gone!

Martijn van der Ven

Martijn van der Ven has made posts marked up as notes since 2016-09-25, when his blog was relaunched in an IndieWeb style. Most posts since then have been titleless notes, including some multi-paragraph ones.

Jamie Tanna

  Jamie Tanna has been using notes since 2019-05-06

Kimberly Hirsh

Kimberly Hirsh has been posting notes using since 2019-12-28. She previously published notes inconsistently via WordPress beginning in March 2017. Notes are automatically cross-posted from to Twitter and Tumblr.

Ross McDonald

AxiomEval using Silk Web Toolkit and a Clojure Micropub microservice on since 2023-01-08.

Past Examples

Past examples of indieweb note posting, either offline or otherwise no longer working:

  • Brennan Novak on since 2010-07-17 ( - 404 since at least 2018-02-17).
  • Sandeep Shetty using Converspace on since 2012-11-05 ( - 404 since at least 2018-02-17).
  • Amber Case using p3k on since 2013-09-08 ( - 404 since at least 2021-04-25) (note POSSE tweet same day).
  • Frédéric de Villamil using publify on since 2014-01-10 ( - redirects to since at least 2021-04-25).
  • Kartik Prabhu on ( - server not found since at least 2021-04-25).
  • Shane Hudson on settled on 2014-09-09 ( - 404 since at least 2021-04-25).

    beforehand there were many test notes and notes were implemented on Wordpress but have since moved to Craft CMS and have now decided exactly how I want the notes to be. POSSE was also implemented on Wordpress, but is not yet ready on Craft.

  • Kyle Mahan on since 2013-11-28

Common Aspects

There are certain UI elements which are common to most implementations. These include:

  • Profile photo (often with rounded corners)
  • Full Name (often emboldened)
  • Auto–linked URLs, usernames and #tags
  • Dates (sometimes relative, almost always the option to see real date)

Autolinking and embedding

Various sites/solutions auto-link and/or auto-embed URLs and other linkable things in notes.


  • auto-link URLs directly
    • even better: if the URL is to a known person, use their name as the link text and perhaps include a small icon of their face before their name.
  • auto-link @-names to Twitter profiles
    • even better: auto-link @-names to individual's indieweb sites and show their full name instead of Twitter handle. Obviously keep @-names in note content when POSSEing to Twitter.
  • auto-embed GIF/JPG/PNG URLs with <img src>, hyperlinked to the original
  • auto-embed MOV/OGV URLs with <video src>, hyperlinked to the original
  • auto-embed Youtube URLs with the equivalent Youtube <iframe src> embed (algorithmically convertible)

You can use the CASSIS auto_link function to do all the above (except the "even better" enhancements) automatically to a piece of plain text.


  • auto-linking URLs through URLs shorteners (please don't break the web)
  • cluttering image/video embeds with extra text (e.g. name/title from destination)

Compare for example:

Less Common Aspects

  • username/nickname - as well as the full name, there’s often a silo-specific nickname/alias
  • URL to their indieweb home page
  • posting application/tool
  • posting location - aka geo
  • Link text instead of bare URLs. 1/4 of the implementations above have examples of this showing on the first page as of 2014-06-23; names here link to examples: Michael Bester include the bare URL in addition to or instead of the link text in their syndicated copies. Not sure what Barnaby Walters does because the links all appear after the point where the syndicated copy truncates. All of them also use bare URLs.


Location (AKA Geo) of notes is somewhat rare and not very well done. Nonetheless, there are questions, use-cases, and examples.

Why location

Why? What's the point of posting a note/tweet with location information? (one that's not a checkin)

  • What does it do for me (as the user posting it)?
  • And what does it do for people reading my notes/tweets?
  • Why is it interesting/useful to anyone?

Related but different: checkins, events, photos with location.

Here are use-cases for why your notes should support location information:

Use-cases for posting geo / post location information with notes:

  • location specific service provider help
  • meetup in non-home city - specifically expressing being in the same (non-home) city
  • explicit I'm not home - indication of being in a non-home city
  • "help!" if you're in trouble - geolocating it would be useful
    • uncommon but urgent use-case.
    • though in a "help" situation it's faster to simply *type* where you are etc. than wait for geo location information to come-up, confirm, etc.
      • because geo information is so often "invisible" - it requires extra UI steps to make it work = extra time = not going to do it in an emergency
      • worse - devices get geo information wrong all the time - and having it be wrong in an emergency would be particularly bad
    • basically, lack of trust for device geo = not going to use it in a help situation
  • if you don't know where you are and need help, then some (even possibly error-prone) geo information may be better than nothing
    • but now we're talking quite a bit of an edge case.

How To Add Location

Use the p-location property to markup location information inside an h-entry.

In addition, use h-geo or h-adr to markup the details of your location information, whether lat/long coordinates or a structured address, respectively.

IndieWeb Location Examples

See location#Indieweb_examples.

Silo location examples

Silo examples can be useful for research purposes and to help inform indieweb design.

Tweet with location

Live example:


Past Example when Twitter used to show a map on tweet permalinks of the location:

Space characters

Space characters are often entered into text posting UIs, and more and more preserved when presented, and when exported or edited.

Typical silo notes implementations display most space characters written in their posting interfaces. IndieWeb implementations should preserve space characters also.

See the space page for more details, IndieWeb Examples, Silo Examples, and further brainstorming.

Indieweb space characters thinking

Summary: IndieWeb implementations would have to preserve space characters in posting UI to storage to display round-trips. See below for presentation details.

Two options for publishers:

  1. Use p-content if you expect only the plain text of your post to be retrieved, and then (preferably, but possibly only optionally) have its white-space preserved.
  2. Use e-content if you publish fully marked up links, embeds, and whitespace (e.g. with <br/>,   etc.) and expect whitespace in source to be collapsed per HTML parsing rules.

When presenting space characters implementations should:

  • Do <br/> substitutions - Indieweb implementations could (are any already?) automatically insert <br> tags for linebreak space characters (a kind of auto-space, similarly to auto-linking URLs in notes). In addition, there would need to be an approach to handling multiple sequential space characters, and leading spaces on a line.
  • Substitute multiple sequential inline space characters to &nbsp; if that behavior is really desired (I've never needed/wanted to preserve multiple spaces in a note) 18:14, 20 August 2015 (PDT)
  • Two more auto-space cases (pretty sure this should take care of mimicking pre-wrap behavior - Tantek)
    1. line-break then inline space: turn the inline space into an &nbsp;
    2. sequence of inline spaces: turn every adjacent pair into _&nbsp; (where _ represents a inline space character)
  • CASSIS auto_space() now implements this, and live on

For more details and history, see: space characters in text.


Since notes are such a ubiquitous content posting type (Thanks to Twitter), it's no surprise that subtypes of notes are evolving for representing additional structure or types of information. Let's document them as they emerge.

Health Fitness Tracking

Main article: exercise

Tags: fitbit, pedometer, physical activity


Step Tracking

Syntax: number-of-steps #steps anything-extra


BMI Tracking

Syntax: number #bmi


microsyntax and picoformats

Main article: microsyntax

microsyntax and picoformats are broader efforts to briefly and readably structure information in pure/plain text form.


Note Display

When displaying a note, it is customary to just display the note content and no explicit note title.

While this is fairly straightforward for a site itself (which often has its own post type information, perhaps even as an additional class name on the h-entry like h-as-note), for sites that display h-entrys from elsewhere it helps to have an algorithm to determining when is a note a note and should thus be displayed as such.

Note Type Algorithm

Summary: if the name of the h-entry is essentially the content of the entry, it's a note, just display the content (and no explicit name/title).

Algorithm for a parsed h-entry

  • set the tname to trim(name)
  • set the tcontent to trim(content)
  • if the tname == tcontent, then it's a note, return.
  • if the tname ends with an ellipsis ("..." or "…") then
    • drop the ellipsis character
    • if the tname is a prefix of tcontent, then it's a note, return
  • otherwise it's not a note


  • mf2util function is_name_a_title can be used for this purpose. If it returns false, then you know it's a note.

Displaying Whitespace

Since there are two ways indieweb sites post notes with whitespace (namely whitespace characters vs whitespace markup), when code that consumes such notes displays them, they should handle both methods.

This rough heuristic may work:

  • if the note only has p-content, then auto-link it and use white-space:pre-wrap to display it
  • else (if note has e-content HTML)
    • if content HTML has line-breaks AND DOES NOT have any <br> or <p> tags inside
    • then use white-space:pre-wrap to display it
  • end if


The origin (or at least inspiration for this page) of the use of the term "note" for a brief text post without name or title is from the Activity Streams 1.0 Object Type Schema:


Questions about notes, implementing them, publishing them.

markdown or plain text

Q: As an implementer of notes on my own website, should I store markdown or just plain text and autolink/autoembed everything?

A: Typical implementations store plain text for notes and use an autolinker/embedder to create links and embedded images. E.g.:

  • Tantek on uses Falcon which stores all notes as plain text entry-content inside an h-entry in a flat file.
  • ... add your implementation example here.

See also: storage.

how long should notes be

Q: As an implementer, what's the maximum size I should allow for notes?

A: Up to you and your own site needs! Typical implementations do not have note length limitations.

  • Tantek on uses Falcon which has no explicit lenght limitation on notes, however as part of the publishing UI shows what will be POSSEd to Twitter and how many characters are remaining to do so without having to elide the text.
  • ... add your implementation example here.

how to display in a list

Q: When displaying a list of h-entry notes, e.g. in comments-presentation on a post, or in an indie reader, when should the name, or name+content, or just content be displayed?

A: See notes display for how to determine when to use a name or name+content and what to display accordingly.

Including a p-name in a note

Q: Why should you put a p-name in a note? It seems uselessly redundant.

A: You probably don't. Some Feed Readers may have problems with title-less content because their UI assumes a title will always exist. This is in part because the RSS & Atom standards both required a title in all item/entry elements, even though many readers would still function correctly if one wasn't supplied.

  • Avoid fake titles / post names like "No Title":
    • "You should probably not add “No Title” to your titleless “IndieWeb” notes. Even if your site’s front end doesn’t show these “titles,” your RSS feed still might. Which would cause feed readers to display these notes as “articles,” i.e., _with_ a title (equal to “No Title”).#indieweb(" @janboddez January 21, 2023

Historically in the 2010-2011 timeframe, Google Buzz and Google Reader (both long since defunct) displayed content with no title to as blank entries in a list. This advice is no longer relevant, and notes should not have a p-name.

See Also