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RIP Facebook for Bridgy

As planned, Facebook turned off some of its key APIs for posting and fetching data on Wednesday, and I disabled Facebook for Bridgy entirely.

It’s a sad day. Facebook was the single biggest reason I came up with Bridgy way back in 2011. I’ve always wanted to own my data online, on my own web site, but my friends and family generally used social networks like Facebook instead. I didn’t care too much about dogma or evangelizing, but I still wanted to connect with them wherever they were, and if they were online, more often than not they were on Facebook.

Social networks are under siege in the press right now, so it’s easy to forget all the ways they’ve made our lives better. Not only have they brought us indispensable tools for day to day life, they’ve also enriched our ties to many real people, not just those we care about most but also entirely new people, across the globe, who we may never have met otherwise.

We regularly look to big social networks for inspiration and motivation in the IndieWeb. We analyze and document features, UI designs, and yes, even antipatterns…but more importantly, we work hard to interoperate. We may try to live on our web sites, but we still treasure and value the relationships we have with everyone else. They’re still on the social networks, Facebook above all.

I’ll still use Facebook directly now and then. Friends will get engaged, colleagues will start new jobs, cousins will have babies. I’ll still expect to see someone at a party whose name I’ve forgotten – you know, we met her at that place, for that thing – and look it up on Facebook first. Embarrassment avoided, life improved. But I’ll use it less. I wish there was another way.

So long for now. See you on the web!

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Introducing Baffle

A while back, I wrote up a design for bridging Microsub clients to traditional feed reader backends. Fast forward to a few weeks ago: I hacked together a bare bones prototype at IndieWebCamp 2018. Fast forward to now: I’m launching Baffle!

Baffle lets you use Microsub reader apps like Together, Indigenous, and Monocle with traditional feed readers like NewsBlur and maybe eventually Feedly and more.

Right now, it only supports viewing channels and timelines. If there’s enough interest and usage, I can add channel management, muting, and blocking. I’d also consider adding Feedly if I hear enough desire.

Happy reading!

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Tree, trunk, branch, crown
Climbing up and sitting down
Morning sun becomes noon-blue
All the world is old and new
 
Road, street, track, path
Ship, boat, wooden raft
Nest, bird, feather, fly
All the world has got its sky
 
Spreading shadows, setting sun
Crickets, curtains, day is done
A fire takes away the chill
All the world can hold quite still

  - All the World, Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Beautiful homespun poem, and my favorite book to read to Brooke, bar none. Happy Fathers Day.

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Turning off Facebook for Bridgy

I announced recently that Bridgy Publish for Facebook would shut down soon. Facebook’s moves to restrict its API to improve privacy and security are laudable, and arguably the right idea, but also mean that users can no longer use third party apps like Bridgy to create posts.

I didn’t realize it at first, but similar API restrictions hit the backfeed (aka listen) feature, which sends comments and likes back to your web site. Bridgy can still see comments and likes by Bridgy users, but that’s a tiny fraction of the Facebook comments and likes that it used to see.

I spent a while looking for a workaround, and even looked into scraping HTML, but you have to be logged into Facebook to see even public posts, on both www and m, so no luck there. [Insert silo snark here.]

So with a heavy heart, I’m shutting down Facebook on Bridgy entirely. Publish will still work until August 1, but listen largely stopped working on May 24, so I turned it off altogether and disabled new user signup a few days ago.

See you on the web!

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