What is the IndieWeb and how can it help authors? 1 Comment

Author Buzz is introducing IndieWeb features – something we hinted at a few months ago. What is IndieWeb and why should authors use it?

First the boring answer

IndieWeb is a community of people building software to enable independent websites to maintain their social data on their own web domains. Two of the most prominent tools used to this end are Webmention and microformats. These allow sites to decentralize social communication and distribution of content.

Now the interesting answer

A core feature of the IndieWeb is something called WebMention. It allows cool stuff such as having replies to your tweets appear as comments. This is not automatic, but a free tool called brid.gy can do this for you.

Another useful thing you can do is reply to WebMention-enabled blogs with your own blog post. This means that your conversations can also be content for your blog.

We have two plugins that will enable WebMentions on your Author Buzz blogs. The first is called WebMention (funny that) and the second is called Semantic-Linkbacks which makes likes on tweets with a link to your blog post as things that look sort of right. I strongly recommend Semantic-Linkbacks for the best-looking mentions, trackbacks, and pingbacks.

There are other tools that we will explore to allow you to take control of your social data but we are starting with the core two.

How can IndieWeb help authors?

There are three areas that IndieWeb features can be of specific help to authors.

1. Social Proof

When you share links normally the interactions around those links are fragmented on different social media sites. By allowing your social media interactions to appear as comments, you can show both potential readers and potential agents that you have good audience engagement.

If you have good engagement, your content must be interesting. If it is interesting, maybe they should take a closer look.

If you go to a new town and see two places to eat. One has a full car park and one has an empty one, where do you eat? The odds are you will assume that those customers clearly know something. The full car park is a social proof of which food outlet is best.

That same social proof is good for your site too. If it is good for your site, it will be good for enticing new readers and possible agents to take a closer look.

2. More Content

Now you can bridge that gap between interacting with other people’s content and writing your own because your own content can also be an interaction.

If you see a blog post with WebMention enabled, you can reply to the post with your own post. As long as you mention (link to) the page, post, or whatever in your reply, that is. On Author Buzz our blogs can be set up to auto ping other WebMention enabled pages when you, well, mention them.

That means that you can create more content by creating content about other content. Your readers can go and find the thing you are talking about and the readers of the thing you are talking about can come and find you.

3. Closer Contact

Your content can become the hub of your social interactions. This means that you can maintain closer contact with fans and followers.

Likes, retweets, and replies to tweets linking to your post can show up on the blog post as comments and reactions (with the help of brid.gy).

This should make it easier to stay engaged with your all the fans, followers, and lurkers that make up your platform. I’d call that a win.

How to get IndieWeb on your blog

IndieWeb can be activated on any Author Buzz blog by activating the WebMention and Semantic-Linkbacks plugins. These are available for any WordPress install (not wordpress.com though) but you might want to grab the IndieWeb plugin which will set everything up for you.

Give it a try today.

About Matthew Brown

Matthew is a writer and geek from Kent (UK). He is the founder and current chair of Thanet Creative as well as head geek for Author Buzz. His ambitions include appearing in some future incarnation of TableTop with Wil Wheaton and seeing a film or TV series based on something he wrote. Matt is also responsible for fixing stuff here when it breaks.

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