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Using Known to connect #ello and Twitter

4 min read

In Life after "peak Facebook", I mentioned that an advantage of the Indieweb approach is that it's easy to incorporate new silos like ello.  There's still a little manual work required; ello doesn't have an API to automate posting.  But if you don't mind cut-and-pasting, it's easy enough.  This post gives a couple of examples, and then briefly discusses my posting flow.

First of all, the landscape:

  • The Indieweb-enabled TapestryMaker blog (running Known) is at
  • The TapestryMaker Twitter profile is @TapestryMaker
  • On ello, I'm currently posting as jdp23 (instead of having a separate TapestryMaker account)
When I configured the TapestryMaker blog, I connected it to Twitter and Facebook.*  So whenever I post, I get the option to "syndicate" it to those other sites.  I also use, a Google AppEngine-hosted application written by Ryan Barrett, to handle copying posts back from Twitter and Facebook.


Now on to the first example.  On ello, I saw a post by @womenwhotech I wanted to respond to.  So I created my response on the blog, and cut-and-paste it over to ello.  Known automatically syndicated it  to Twitter, where @womenwhotech replied; and copied the reply back to the blog.  
The Indieweb blog is doing a couple of things for me here:
  • it's an archive of all my posts: to ello, to Twitter, replies to other Indieweb blog posts, and so on.
  • by syndicating to Twitter, it's sending it out to a broader audience and notifying @womenwhotech 
And here's a slightly more complex example.  Ben posted on his Known blog, and copied it to ello.  I saw it on ello, and drafted a reply there (so I could write it in context), posted the reply first on the TapestryMaker blog, and copied it to back to ello.  As well as syndicating it to Twitter, Known also sent a webmention to Ben so the comment showed up on his blog as well.  How cool is that?

Posting flow

Known lets you create posts, status messages,* bookmarks, photos, music, and other types of content.  It's easy to do; just click on the icon, type what you want to say, and hit Publish.

Then again some of us are old-school and more deliberate before posting in public (especially if it's going to Twitter).  

So here's my flow for making posts.

  1. Write a draft.  Like I said, I'm old-school :)   Known's visual editor is okay, but sometimes it's easier to create it in a more robust environment and just cut-and-paste the HTML; I also have a separate private Known site that I use for drafts so that I can see how they look before I share them with the world.  
  2. When it's ready I post it on the TapestryMaker blog, and rely on Known to syndicate it and send out webmentions.   If it's a reply to a post on ello, I include the ello link in the "reply to a site" field.
  3. Then I cut-and-paste to copy it to ello, potentially summarizing it in the process.  This sometimes involves editing the raw HTML or Markdown.***  
  4. If it's a new post (as opposed to a reply), I then go back and edit the blog entry to include the link to ello. 

There's enough manual work here that there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes, and I certainly have from time to time.  Still, at leat for me, the value outweighs the effort.  And it'll get easier over time!

* I could also have set up Soundcloud, Flickr, FourSquare, and LinkedIn; others options coming soon

** status messages are Twitter-like; you get a window, make it easy to put in the in-reply-to links; posts let you write a "headline", both for display onthe blog and on Twitter, and give you a wysiwig editor.

*** raw HTML and Markdown?  You kids are so lucky today!  I remember when all we had wa PDP-11 assembler and Lisp!