Building My Own Threads


Started out as a joke. I wanted a chance to tell friends and family, maybe over dinner or something, that I built my own threads – as a spoof of Meta’s platform of the same name.

The idea came to me because my current most-used platform to keep in-touch with personal relationships is via Instagram. I love IG stories, and I now automatically cross-post those to FB, where my parents are at.

I don’t particularly like Instagram itself; in fact I wasn’t happy in Big Tech social platforms in general. I just think it’s a good middle situation, because I still get to communicate with friends & family.

My Own Place

I am, however, loving having my own place: a Mastodon instance I run on a server and domain I fully control. I meet wonderful, helpful people over there, who are also taking refuge from the rest of the Internet, which is now massively farmed for data to feed machines-for-profit at the cost of people’s rights.

Needless to say, I post more thoughts there because I feel safer; though admittedly this took some hard work. Blocking other servers, muting notifications, setting up content filters, finding interesting hashtags and users to follow… these are some of the stuff I have to do regularly. But it does pay off. I constantly get helpful feedback there, see accurate news, live posts of tech conferences (e.g., see the recent the hashtag for Python Conference in the US: #PyConUS) – it’s amazing.

Naturally I feel comfortable throwing ideas there; often when I work on hobby projects in real-time. When I get some idea, I post it, and someone can give me early feedback.

But It’s Not for Everyone

However, I don’t think people who normally visit my personal site would be interested in everything I post on my social. I imagine most visitors for my personal site are:

  1. long-time friends wondering what I’m up to recently (because it’s linked on my personal Instagram)
  2. professional contacts who want to see more of what I do (because it’s linked on my LinkedIn)
  3. new contacts whom I meet at events

In any case, these visitors just want the gist, and linking to my whole social feed will be overwheling.

So to address this need, I built a small project /threads page on my site, where I want to display some featured posts that I write from my social.

If my social feed is the “main” branch for my thougts, the threads page is like a release candidate before something gets to this blog.

The _drafts Directory Black Hole

Additionally, this is a response to my personal observation that the drafts directory is often a blackhole for ideas: I put stuff there hoping I could refine them someday to be worthy of publishing… but that day never comes.

When I get my thoughts & processes out the way I do on Mastodon, I get the early feedback I need, and this gets more chance of being refined and published.

Hopefully, a future problem I want to solve is providing an .rss feed that collects the whole thread into a single article. Because currently the Mastodon-provided .rss for short posts puts out each post as a separate article, which results to out-of-context short texts syndicated to readers.

Being Open

Having my own page for a cozy display of hand-picked posts gives me and my digital visitors tons of value, and I think others can also benefit from it. This is why I do it in the open, in an architecture that people can also slap it in their websites.

Still lots to improve (as said in the project readme) but it is open and anyone can take it, modify it, own it, and/or contribute to it.



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