At the end of last year I started using Good Reads again, but quickly found I want to record what I’ve read but don’t want to write a review.

I am much happier writing one line notes/reviews here. I’ll probably manually POSSE to Good Reads, but consider this where I keep the record.

I’d really like to map posts with the book emoji, 📚, to the Read Post Kind automatically. That means posts from would get sorted here without me having to go to the dashboard and edit. I do have a function on the blog to add a wwwd category to any post containing colon wwwd colon but I don’t know how to set the post kind in the same sort of way…

Just over a year ago I read about the kickstarter project, it seemed a no brainer to back. I got in early at number 51.

Since the launch (25-April-17) I’ve been using I’ve made over 300 posts categorised as micro. It has made me think quite a bit about blogging and social media. It is certainly one of the bigger steps of this blog’s history 1.

I am beginning to feel real affection for the software/service that is developing into. Here, in no particular order, are some reasons why:

  • The apps, for mac and iOS are so simple elegant and clean. Both are in very early version, but they are the fairly stripped down type of software I find enjoyable to use.
  • I don’t need to use the app, I can post content in all sorts of ways 2
  • The discourse on is at a different pace than twitter, mostly more thoughtful, certainly less hypeful. I am reading things that are sometimes marginal to my interests and enjoying them.
  • The folk on who produce the discourse.
  • If suddenly goes away my content and conversations will not. I’ll lose the continuing discourse & software but I can go on posting my short form posts to my own blog. The posts I made and any conversation around them is still here.
  • Manton, I started listing to his timetable microcast when I signed up for the kickstarter. The pace is developing is on one hand reasonably quickly but on the other hand it is incredibly thoughtful. He really does seem to care about principals as opposed to grabbing huge user numbers. On one podcast he describes working on the export that would allow hosted users to leave the service. This as an early feature!
  • You can use the service for free. I pay for cross posting of my rss feed to twitter. That is $2 a month, the service is very neat, the tweets are sensible reflections of the post, but I also want to pay something to keep the service going.
  • For a variety of reasons I’ve not fully grasped I feel like I am becoming a little more thoughtful posting than I was on twitter. I’ve not stopped using twitter, but some short posts feel as if I should own them on my own blog. Not necessarily anything deep or important but owning some of these feels better.
  • photo blogging is weaning me away from instagram, I get a lot less engagement but I like it. I still like Instagram, but I’ve not posted in December yet, I have visited and like a pile of pictures. I wish Instagram would: 1. let me post here and then push out to Instagram, 2. see my friends posts without out algorithmic help.
  • I am learning a bit more about the indieweb and the workings of WordPress.
  • Learning and thinking about blogging, social media, both from the growing community and by thinking my way through how I want my blog to work.

That final point is not finished by a long way. I still am puzzled about how webmentions and other indieweb technology I am using works in practise. I’ve not finalised how I want to present the different kinds of post here on the blog.

Some other posts about microbloggin

  1. These would would include: starting my own blog as part of my school’s site, joining twitter, moving to my own domain, changing from Pivotx to WordPress and Every part of the blog has changed except for the text of the posts, but I think of it as the same blog.
  2. I post, in no particular order, in WordPress, from TextMate, any text in any app on my mac via appleScript, from Drafts via Workflow on iOS and with the applications.
On WordPress and Webmentions by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Collect)
In a backchannel conversation, I was asked about what is involved in setting up webmentions. I responded there, but thought that I would keep a note of it here: Hmmm, my suspicions to why my webmentions/linkbacks are not getting through is that they are being flagged as spam by spam filters. On th...

I really love the idea of webmentions, they seem to return us to the earlier days of the web, where conversation spanned sites. It also feel much more of an acknowledgement to get a mention on someones own site as opposed to a social media silo.

I’ve already turned off the moderation of webmentions here, they get published immediately.

As Aaron’ says the solution is technical. Even the basic use of webmentions take a step or two more than just setting up a blog.

I notice mentions from some folk come through as mentions but don’t link to the post they come from. I do get the full post via email notification, so they must be sending all the information,but either my blog is not handling it correctly or they are not formatted in a way the blog understands.

I love the record of thinking and linking that now stretches back 12 years, 5 months, 4 days on this blog.

I don’t like the breakages.

A lot of the links on this blog are to the blogs of the school I used to work in in Glasgow, Sandaig Primary. The site is now gone. A lot of it is in the internet archive. I had hoped that the Amber plugin would sort that, but since the domain is now up for sale, the links lead to the sale page.

I could go through the posts and fix all the links. I guess someone with more understanding than me could do it in the database. I’ve opted for a cruder solution. I’ve added a bit of JavaScript to the blog which changes all links to Sandaig to the archive.

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
// Stuff to do as soon as the DOM is ready;

jQuery( "a[href^='']" )
this.href = this.href.replace(/^http:\/\/, "");


This has probably broken something else and certainly is adding to the pile of oddities that I’ve added to the blog. But hopefully It means that links on posts like this: Impermanence and Comments will work.

I had been hoping to give a two minutes presentation at TeachMeet SLF 2017 this year, but had a calendar clash with parent’s night.

Teachmeet is famously aimed at giving an chance to teachers to present as opposed to educational experts 😉. Now I’ve been returned to the teaching fold I was looking forward to being a authentic voice again. Not that I was going to talk about classroom practice, I am still rediscovering my feet, but it would be nice to have ‘Classroom Teacher’ on a slide1.

I am fascinated by the ways that we share and talk about our work. I enjoy reading Twitter but love reading blog posts more. I was planning to frame this talk around a wonderful tweet:

‘Good works’ @MrMcMahonTPS & P7sThornlie. Deep thinking, critical reflection, positive action–“to generate possible worlds” #Bruner #Friere

and my response :

I love the inspiring tweets celebrating the work going on at Thornlie. Selfishly wish there were blog posts with details, recipes & more.

I later posted this:

But tweets are like poppies spread, You seize the flow’r,

It not that I don’t find value in twitter but I think it should only be part of an online conversation.

Comparing Blogs to Twitter

Given the two minute limit I was hoping to just provide some provocation.

It is in many ways a lot easier to tweet than to blog. But as my pal John Sexton reminds me

140 – skill in its own right! 2

There is a tendency for tweets to be a bit more knee jerk and the opportunity for Blogs to be more mindful.

Ownership, who owns your tweets, can blog posts can be more full ‘owned’?

Audience and community are easier to build on Twitter but I wonder how engaged the audience is?

Is it worth blogging if you don’t have an audience. I think so. I often blog about things that I don’t think others are interested in, this allows me to think, learn, recall later and perhaps through the power of google and serendipity find a friend.

Perhaps my main point is that twitter allows you to say “Look a a lovely fish” while a blog post allows you to explain how you catch a fish.

the best of both worlds

Optimistically I see the domain of ones own notion and the #indieweb movement as ways for us to embrace both forms of communication.

My recent playing with and adding some indieweb plugins to this blog have been an interesting experience. I am attempting to own my own content but use silos as a distribution system.

Given the two minutes allowed for a nano presentation I can only leave you with some links and a plea for more educators to blog as well as tweet.

Credits: blog archive by Rflor, Fish by Andrey Vasiliev and Fishing by Vladimir Belochkin all from the Noun Project

  1. I am aware of the many many ironies and chuckles contained in this paragraph.  ↩
  2. This would not have been used at TM as John only tweeted it yesterday, but it is worth repeating.  ↩
Replies from and oh hai, comments – Colin Devroe (
However, this is causing me a bit of frustration because it feels as though the conversation about a post is happening on rather than on people’s own blogs.

Here I get the text from comments on replies and from replies to that reply. Colin’s blog only seems to get a link to

I am not really sure how it is all glued together. The final piece would be to be able to join the thread from the comments here, that might be a technical step too far?

Reposts and quoting
For, I believe the right approach is to first introduce a simple “quote” feature. This UI would be streamlined to support quoting a sentence out of a blog post, with your own thoughts tacked on. It would fit with the spirit of easy posting in, but it would encourage more thoughtful posts and naturally scale up from traditional linkblogging.

likes Reposts and quoting | Manton Reece

I very much agree that quoting from and adding something to a post is of great value, but some times I love something I don’t understand well enough to add value. That is why I’ve an enviable stuff category here.

I signed up for the kickstarter of, it went live earlier this week. is a new social network for independent microblogs.
Start a microblog today. Easy to publish, own your content, great cross-posting.

The service is very new and so far has changed and developed every day.

The idea is, you publish short posts, these are mirrored on via RSS. The posts can be from any RSS feed. You can get a hosted blog at or use your own hosting.

The iOS app will post to your blog or your own WordPress blog. Or you can use your own system. There is a microblog bot that will post your posts on to Twitter too.

The difference between the hosted blog and your stream is a mite confusing at the moment. I wonder if a different domain name might have helped.

Both the hosted blog and the twitter bot are paid for options. The docs make it clear that you can host your own and point to IFTTT as an alternative to the bot.

The system follows the indieweb principle of controlling your own content and sending it on to other spaces.

Replies on to your posts are sent as webmentions to your own blog and show up as comments if you have the webmention plugin installed. I had that already to get twitter replies as comments.

My setup

I’ve added a new category here, micro. I’ve edited the blog to not have posts with this category show on the home page, they show on micro instead.

I set the app to create posts with the status format in the micro category.

I turned off the jetpack social posting to Twitter function. I’ll manually post normal posts. I’ve set up a bot to post to Twitter.

The service is very much a work in progress, and I’ve not really read the docs but I’ve noticed a few interesting things.


On is that the posts on consist of descriptions with no titles. When you post form the app, you get a post on your blog without a title. A post with a title on your blog is posted as a link to With a post without out a title the description becomes the content of the post.

That means you get lots of posts listed in your dashboard as ‘no title’. Since I didn’t like this I tried to auto add titles to posts without titles with a little Google-fu and some WordPress coding.

This worked out fine, except the posts on consist of a title and a link, the tweet posted by the twitter bot is the same.

I am now looking to create a custom RSS feed without title. More googling ahead.

Alternatively I could use the code from Tweaks for that adds dates as titles, ignore these.

Or just learn to live with ‘no title’ posts in the dashboard.

Me on

Preparing for the microblog is a lot more coherent than this post if you are looking for setup advice.

I’ll post the code I’ve mentioned above at some point, it is pretty simple stuff.

This is hopefully a useful tip for organising pupil created content on WordPress blogs like Glow Blogs.

Most of the content posed to blogs consists of posts or pages. Posts join the stream, pages are static generally accessed from menus.

This is another way to organise content that can be useful. Especially if several pupils are posting similar content at the same time. It helps organise that content and the early posters don’t get pushed away down the stream.

An Example Banton Birds

At school we are trying to pay attention to the local birdlife. We took part in the BIG BBC Bird watch with local Bird watchers, Mr & Mrs Carter. We started feeding the birds and trying to get some photos.

The pupils are doing a bit of research on the birds we saw (not too many it was a windy hour) and I hope they will continue over time adding other birds seen in the playground and around.

I want to organise these bits of research automatically collecting them together. To do this the pupils create, not posts or pages but a custom post type, project.

How it is done

This is just one way to do this but it is, at least on Glow Blogs, the most straightforward. It uses the JetPack Custom Content Types module and the unfortunately 1 named Portfolio Projects.

These projects are like pages in that they are out of the flow but like posts have Project Types (like categories) and Project Tags (like tags) that can be used to organise them. The also have a shortcode that can be used to create an index of the projects by type or tag2.

  1. Activate the Jetpack plugin.
  2. In Jetpack Settings Activate Custom Content Types.
  3. In Settings-> Writing Enable Portfolio Projects for this site
  4. Pupils create Projects for each item, add a project type (in this case Birds).

To create an index of these projects I add a page Banton Birds and add a shortcode to the page:

[portfolio include_type=birds display_types=false]

To make the index more visual the pupils make sure they have added a featured image to their posts. That automatically creates a thumbnail.

I’ve used this technique several times on blogs myself, including the Projects page on this blog. I’ve used it too to provide and organise photos and links on the Biggies blog for the pupils.

1. For Glow Blogs where we have a lot of pupil e-portfolios through a custom plugin.

2. You could do the same with pages using the hierarchy and the Display Posts Shortcode plugin, but not as easily.