This week, I’m attending two different research conferences (well, I only barely attended the first one, to be honest). The leadup to these conferences has involved some changes to my web presence, just in case people actually check my website when I put it on my slides. Overall, I’m happy with the changes that I’ve made, so I thought I’d take advantage of my free Delta in-flight wi-fi to blog about some of the changes I’ve made and why.
I keep four Mastodon accounts on four different instances, part of a broader effort to avoid context collapse in my online posting. I’ve recently taken advantage of Mastodon’s migration features to changes two of those accounts to two new instances.
My politics-and-religion account is now hosted on Mozilla Social, which I’m pretty excited about. Mozilla’s a great organization doing interesting things, and so I added myself to the waiting list for their Mastodon instance as soon as I heard about it. My spot finally opened up in early October, and I was happy to move stuff over there. I’d previously been posting that content to
mastodon.social, which was… fine? I’d never been really happy on that instance, though, and since a lot of my “politics” content is actually griping about the state of the internet, Mozilla Social seems like a much better home.
I also decided to move my professional account to a new instance. About six weeks ago, I got word that my account on the previous instance had been limited for violating community guidelines. All my Mastodon content is automatically forwarded from Micro.blog, to which it’s automatically forwarded from my blog, thereby keeping my own website at the center of my web presence, but making my content available through other channels. However, my previous instance had a rule against “automated cross-posters… on Public privacy setting” that I knew I was violating, even if I felt (and still feel) like my use of automatic cross-posting was fine. That said, whatever my personal feelings about that rule is, there’s no denying that I was in violation of it, and the great thing about the fediverse is the ability for different instances to have different guidelines—and the ability for users to migrate to different instances. So, rather than gripe at the admin for the previous instance, and instead of having to explain to someone at a conference why my profile had an “account limited” warning on it, I just moved myself to a different academia-focused instance. Hooray for federated social media!
At work, I teach a content management systems class where I have the students work with Hugo as an introduction to some of the content management concepts that we cover throughout the semester. In doing so, I realized that the latest and greatest version of Ananke (the semi-default theme for Hugo) had some upgrades to its page templates that looked a lot slicker than the older versions still present in the child theme that I created during the summer of 2022. So, I spent part of last weekend downloading the latest version of Ananke, switching my site over to that theme, and then redoing all of my preferred changes by making a new child theme. I’ve also applied a trick that I learned in an impromptu lesson in my content management class to give my Tags page a header image and some explanatory material. Between that and the theme updates I made, I’m pretty pleased with how my site taxonomies are set up now.
I’ve also been experimenting with the fantastic tinylytics analytics package for static sites. Google Analytics is too powerful and too creepy for me, but when I heard about tinylytics, it seemed like it might be worth a shot. The free payment tier has enough to keep me happy, but I’ve also been pleased enough by it that I’m considering a yearly subscription. Having analytics again makes me realize how much I missed it—it’s neat to see what parts of my website people are visiting. I’m also enamored with tinylytics kudos feature, which adds a non-creepy but potentially-useful “like”-style button to posts. I don’t know if any visitors to my site will use this feature, but I like having it there (it’s another way to keep my website the center of my online social presence), and it was a lot of fun to figure out how to build it into the templates of my Hugo site. I have more fiddling to do here (I’m not sure that the emoji I’ve picked for the feature is the right one, and I want to tweak the placement some), but I like that this is an option.
This is almost an afterthought because it’s not a huge deal, but while updating my theme and rehacking the theme templates to get them the way that I want them, I realized that there was a much easier way to integrate Hypothesis commenting into my website than how I’d been doing it before. So, I did that instead!
Over the past five years, I’ve been having a lot of fun taking more control of my web presence and learning more web skills along the way. I still have lots to learn and do in this area, but as I head into a conference this weekend, I’m feeling pretty good about how I have my web stuff set up.
You can click on the
< button in the top-right of your browser window to read and write comments on this post with Hypothesis. You can read more about how I use this software here.
Any Webmentions will also be displayed below: