Twitter, Instagram and Facebook always have something to show you. Whether it is posts you’ve already seen, posts from people you never asked for, or sponsored content and recommendations that you don’t care for. It doesn’t matter if the people you care about posted something new or not — the platform will always have something for you, and it’ll always be new.
A while back, I switched from Twitter to TweetDeck for the non-algorithmic, true chronological feed of tweets. While doing so made sure that I saw everything and not just what the platform was boosting, it also made me realize that there wasn’t always something new to see. Twitter had been making me believe that there was.
My next step was to read Twitter along with the rest of my feeds on Feedly. This was even better, not only was I reading them chronologically, but Feedly would let me know once I had ready everything and didn’t show me the same content again.
This wasn’t just a shift from an algorithmic feed to reverse-chronological one. It was a shift from the news stream pattern to the inbox pattern. The news stream never stops and it is always trying to keep us engaged. An inbox is different — sometimes we open our inbox and there is nothing to see.
Imagine if our email inbox showed us an old email when there were no new emails just to keep us engaged — we’d lose our minds, we’d never really know when we’re done with our email. The inbox pattern is meant for processing and clearing, it puts the focus on what we want to get done. The news stream pattern is meant for engagement and keeping us on the site for long, it puts the focus on what is good for the platform.
Engagement per se isn’t a bad thing but certain engagement tactics may make us do things that we don’t necessarily want. I’ve been much happier treating my feed like an inbox, happy in the fact that there is nothing more to see!
Philip added the initial support and with a few adjustments to the Customizer we added the ‘Allow the operating system’s dark mode to override my color settings‘ checkbox. I didn’t want to force this change on every site because it would break the colors that people have picked for their page and headers. But if you do select it, the site changes colors based on the operating system’s setting:
More recently, I was able to complete my laundry list of accessibility improvements including:
Adding aria markers where needed
Making sure all HTML was semantic
Improving keyboard navigation
You can get all these changes in version 1.4.0 from Github, or the latest from the themes repository. I have also requested another round of review from the WordPress theme review team so that I can officially add the accessibility-ready tag, but, I am not sure what the process here is. Hoping someone picks it up soon 🤞🏽
Data trails linked to our various online identities.
Customization limitations on Wix
In the peer-to-peer time I demoed WordPress to a few people who were contemplating using it. Their main concern was if they’d be able to find the right theme for their requirments and if it’ll be customizable enough to make their site look the way they want. I spent some time helping setup a travel blog. I also triaged issues for my WordPress theme—Zuari.
We saw a mix of people of attending—from seasoned developers, to graphic designers, and to people just thinking of making their first website.
Since this was the first such meetup I gave a quick introduction of the IndieWeb movement and technology, and encouraged everyone to join the wider community on the wiki and chat. After that, we went around the room introducing ourselves, talking about our websites and experiences in building them. Some of the topics we covered were:
Differences in using WordPress, and services like Wix and Squarespace.
Hitting certain limitations on Wix, and how in WordPress there is always a plugin for that.
Cost (time and money) of hosting your own server vs the price of Squarespace.
How one-click WordPress installs offered by hosting services aren’t really easy to use for beginners.
How the Balance Project would like to run their own community website and not give all their data to Facebook.
Finding an audience on one’s own blog vs on platforms like Medium and LinkedIn.
We didn’t have a lot of peer-to-peer time left after the discussions, but I was able to show a photographer how they could design their portfolio website using Gutenberg on WordPress.com.
There was quite some interest in a group like this, the technical folks wanted to dive deeper into Webmentions and Micropub, and others expressed a need for a place to ask their questions and get their doubts clarified. So, we’re thinking of hosting another one on the 21st of August. Join the WordPress Goa meetup group to get notified when we do.
After staying in review for nearly seven weeks, my WordPress theme finally got approved and deployed on the WordPress.org theme directory. Big thanks to @rabmalin for the review 🙏🏽
I wanted to make a theme that supported the new Gutenberg block styles, and gave a lot of customization options to the users. I have been working on it on and off since November last year. The idea was to give it an hour everyday, but travel and life did not let me be as consistent as I’d like. By March I realized that it might be better to work on a subset of features and do a version one release first. Now that this is done, I am excited about making improvements.
Hopefully by the end of the year I can actually recommend the theme to people who want to join the IndieWeb 🤞🏽 If you give it a spin and run into problems do raise an issue and I’ll try to help. Pull requests are welcome too!
My websites have been hosted on WebFaction since I can I remember, but with them recently getting acquired by GoDaddy, I started to look for alternatives. Looking for a cheap shared host to keep the three WordPress sites I maintain, I decided to check WordPress.org for recommendations. They suggested Bluehost, DreamHost and SiteGround. After a week of trying, Bluehost support couldn’t convert my domain account to a hosting account so I setup a new one on DreamHost.
The migration went smoothly but it took me a while to get used to the way DreamHost manages users, sites, and apps. Now that the DNS has (hopefully) fully propagated, the website is up and running on the new server, on https (for the first time 🥳), and using the new theme I am working on. Excited to be working on my site again!