It’s a new year, so it’s time for a slight change of direction. You may have noticed your feed reader of choice just barfed up a few dozen posts from these here parts. I’m hoping that little bit of necessary unpleasantness will be one time only.
I’ve come to realize that my content-creating has become a lot more distributed, which means the long-form post format of this site has been seeing less and less love in recent years. Much has been written about Twitter killing the urge to write longer blog posts, and I won’t dispute that as a cause. I liked Andy Budd’s take on why his site has been suffering, I can relate to a lot of those reasons.
So for the past month I’ve been working on a way of piecing together content I produce on other sites and funnel relevant bits into a stream that I could present on this site.
You’re now seeing the result. I’m merging my traditional posts with links from Delicious and Google Reader (which is what I was up to when I wrote about the latter’s API), photos from Flickr, and Twitter posts (or tweets, if you prefer). The home page, archives, and primary Atom feed all work on this new system.
Totally nuts, right? The volume will be too high, and nobody wants to see every photo I upload or hear every inane thought I come up with while out for dinner. So that’s why I’m exercising editorial control and only bringing over the bits and pieces I’ve hash- or machine-tagged.
Photos on Flickr, for example, can be tagged as either mezzoblue:post=description or mezzoblue:post=photo. Both tags will show the photos here, in slightly different configurations (see the bottom of the August 2008 archive for both).
On Twitter I’m using a hash tag (#mb) which shows up in the original, but I’m stripping from the on-site version. Google Reader pulls in shared items tagged with mezzoblue. And I’m just throwing in everything from Delicious for now, since I got into the habit of using it for the now-deprecated mezzoblue Dailies.
I’m still not sure if I’m going to write up the scripts I built to make this happen, or package it up into some kind of actual open source release. I think the latter way would be more interesting, but there’s a lot of work that would have to happen to get to something even slightly worthy of putting out there for public consumption.
Now I do realize that not everyone will want this of course, so the way this site used to work isn’t gone. You can follow the clutter free post-only feed, or browse just my original posts on the traditional archive pages. Both are accessible from the main archives page, and will continue to exist. It’s just the defaults that have changed, but you can go ahead and ignore all the new stuff if you want.
Expect a few bugs as I stress-test my scripts live over the next few weeks, and let me know if you find anything horribly wrong.
and first major bug has been found: the full Atom feeds weren’t ready for prime time at all. For now I’ve backed out and made the default feed post-only again until I can figure out what’s causing old items to duplicate. Sorry about the collateral damage to your feed reader.