As I move forward towards launching a new version of my own site, and after seeing many people having their voices removed because it did not align with platform rules or political views I thought it prudent to visit the idea of hosting all of my content on my own platform and sharing it out into the web. This article is a result of those thoughts and how you can take control of your messages and make marketing across the various social media sites easier.
Currently, Facebook and Twitter are the top two ways I interact with friends, family, and others in my industry. I want to still be able to update social media, but I have come to the point where I know I can do it in a more thoughtful manner that allows me to take ownership of my content. There are two ways to do this:
- I could share my status updates and photos on a service like Facebook, and then automatically download and publish them to my website.
- I could publish my status updates and photos to my website first, and then programmatically share them on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
The IndieWeb movement has helped us out by creating great names for these models.
- Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate (to your) Own site (PESOS) is when you publishing begins on third-party services like you probably do it now, and then copies are syndicated or copied to a site you own and control.
- Publish (on your) Own site, Syndicate elsewhere (POSSE) is when your publishing begins on your owned site and then the content is syndicated out to third-party services.
There are a few things to consider when picking a method, and I will go over the one I am picking and more reasons why I feel as an Entrepreneur is a right decision for me.
|Convenience, Implementation, and Maintenance||3rd party platforms are big because they have excelled at making it easy for users to publish content, and you can still benefit from that with this method. For example, you can easily upload images from your phone. The complexity associated with the PESOS means needing to build a system to handle archiving for you. Additionally, many 3rd party sites are known as Walled Gardens primarily because while it is easy to get content in, it can be troublesome to get it out.||The Posse way of doing things initially a lot more work will be required of you unless you spend time on automating posting to 3rd party platforms. This may mean you would need the help of technical experts to accomplish this. However once done, the experience can be tailored to your preferences.|
|Dependence||With Pesos the 3rd party is essential to the system, if it is down/offline/or the account on the platform is deleted then the system stops functioning. This puts your vulnerability at a higher level than what it would be with a POSSE system.||With Posse, there is still the likelihood that your content can be brought down, but with a good backup strategy and tools like Cloudflare, the chance of that is smaller. Additionally, if you lose the ability to post to one 3rd-party platform that does not mean your message is removed from the internet entirely.|
|Quality||Getting data out of a third party service can reduce its quality. For example, images could be degraded or downsized, the same goes for videos.||With hosting your own media and content you have full control over the quality of assets that you use on your own site and how they are presented on other platforms.|
|Canonical||The data on the 3rd party will be considered the original and copies on your domain may have to cite the 3rd party URL||Canonical, or original to your site. This gives you total control over URLs, host, and the original data. The 3rd party can be set up to reference back to the original URL. This also allows you to start building traffic, lists, and more if you are a marketer.|
After going over the pros/cons for the two methods I finally settled on the Posse strategy for the future, below is a brief outline of how I am accomplishing this and what it means going forward. This should help give you a good idea about where to start.
- Update Site navigation - I needed to make room for space where I can post smaller Notes/commentary similar to what you would see on a Twitter or Facebook feed that catalogs short status updates, replies, interesting links, photos and more. Instead of posting these on a third party site, I wanted to start posting them on my site first. I am going to be leveraging tools from the OpenSocial project to achieve this as well as some custom things that I am building to extend the functionality.
- Awareness of conversations - Knowing when I'm being talked about is another important part of the move, I want to know when the content I post gets mentioned or shared and builds traction so I can give it the proper level attention. For this, I'm adding support for a standard called Webmentions many sites and platforms leverage this now and it should be something you look into even if your not getting off the social media platforms.
- Automatic Syndication - one of the hardest things about getting off of social media is syndicating to them. To this, I am developing my own Posse module that will allow me to control how and what is shared to these sites, and how it links back.
- Simplifying posting updates from my phone - being able to share photos, videos or other real-time updates from my phone is another important feature that Facebook and Instagram provide to me. Leveraging the Media module in Drupal and the entity reference, file browser modules allow me to do this quickly.
- Buffering content / Sharing content - being able to make it as simple as posting a link and getting a preview of content I want to share is something I am striving for, again tools from OpenSocial can get me most of the way there, but there are a few tweaks to make it better. Another tool I have developed is the Buffer Scheduler module, this allows me to create a list of items to post over time and set how big of an interval I want between posts. Then it is just a matter of filling up the buckets and letting the site publish and syndicate the content.
Finally, as I start introducing a larger array of content to my site. I want to find a way to make it easier for readers to filter content.
- Adding click-filter links to blocks and navigation to let people quickly navigate to the content they care about
- Providing an RSS feed to allow folks to consume my content
- Setting up a way to allow folks to selectively subscribe to content notifications. Leveraging the Message API and assorted modules will get me to this goal quickly.
The biggest challenge in all of this is just getting started towards this process, sometimes it is hard to argue for time for personal projects like this when you could be spending time with client work, but I think as an entrepreneur spending time on improving your processes is just as important as providing quality service to clients.