How to retweet? (Link posts?)

Ok, this is kind of a larger question with sub-parts. Y’all may have noticed I keep asking about stuff related to Twitter integration. I added FOAF markup to my XHTML 1.1 (strict) blog what seems like fifteen years ago, so I’m no stranger to the semantic web, but I kinda gave up for a while and just used Twitter for the social for over a decade now.


  1. Is there any native support for adding an external URL to a post? I believe I can make the post a “link post” (ala Daring Fireball) through a custom theme, but is the URL stored in the backend as a “this is the external url for this post” or as “this is a field added by a custom theme”?

  2. Is the Twitter cross-post code capable to tell their API “retweet this URL/tweet id” given appropriate input via modified RSS or something? If not currently, would this be a possible feature or more like just too much?

  1. Not exactly. I personally find link-style posts with external URLs in the feed to be a kind of usability issue… Most feed readers don’t handle them well, so it’s confusing to know where the link is going to go. So I think the best approach for link blogging is to just include the external link as a hyperlink for some word or phrase in the post commentary you’re adding. (If you want a much longer answer, I blogged about link blogging several years ago here.)
  2. No, although if you include a link to a tweet, I think Twitter will usually show that as a quote tweet. But there’s no support in Micro.blog for native retweets.

RSS 2.0 (I’ve just learned) explicitly supports link-posts. The GUID field is defined as the post permalink unless “permalink=false” is specified, in which case anything goes. The LINK field specifies the target of the link. Pretty straight-forward to implement.

(If we insist that there are mature implementations that handle every use-case perfectly, then IndieWeb is dead-on-arrival! My philosophy is to use semantic markup as clearly as possible and encourage others to do the same.)

This isn’t about what’s technically possible. I think what @manton is trying to say here is that from a user perspective, link posts can be confusing because there’s not enough consistency in behavior. And at least in my personal experience, I agree.

I just read your blog post and you literally include a screenshot of exactly what I’m looking to do! I’m sorry if I was causing confusion by mentioning Twitter. How can I do the thing in your blog post that your screenshot shows? I couldn’t find how to specify the URL.

Micro.blog supports Markdown and HTML, so to link anywhere, do it this way:

Well said! [example.com](https://example.com/blog-post-123)

or that way:

Well said! <a href="https://example.com/blog-post-123">example.com</a>

and it will show up like this on your blog and the Micro.blog timeline:

Well said! example.com

@sod, in the blog @manton linked he was specifically talking about link blogs and included a screenshot of how a link post is rendered on M.B. There’s nowhere that I could find to make a link post.

I recommend following the format that @sod shows, or just paste the URL at the end of your post and Micro.blog will link it for you. The behavior I described in that blog post for how Micro.blog processes link-style posts is just to support external blog feeds, like Daring Fireball. There’s no way to create them inside Micro.blog because I personally think external URLs in the RSS feed link tag create new usability problems and aren’t worth the trouble.

Having said that, one thing we’ve considered is setting custom fields for a post that could be accessed from templates. Basically controlling more of the “front matter” metadata for a post. If we add that in the future, then it would be a good place to keep track of an external link URL that could then be added to the RSS feed. For now, if you really want your RSS feed to work that way, you’ll need to host it somewhere other than Micro.blog, and then add the feed to your account in Micro.blog.

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I would absolutely love front matter metadata! :smiley:

Or, in one way or another, hack support into Micro.blog. :yum: For example, in theory, one could have a category for link posts and check for that in the RSS template. “Is this a link post? Then fetch the last URL from the post body and use it.”

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Oh no. You’re going to make me learn Hugo plugins, aren’t you? :wink:

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