Excluding posts from the timeline

I’ve heard from a few folks recently who would like a better way to control on a per-post basis what appears on their blog and what appears in the Micro.blog timeline. The idea is that they are effectively writing for multiple audiences, and while they might want all posts on their blog, not everything needs to appear in the Micro.blog timeline where it’s more likely to spark a conversation.

One of the main goals with Micro.blog is to make blogging easier, so we very deliberately try to keep the posting screen uncluttered. Even basic fields like the title of a blog post don’t appear until they are needed. I’m not in a hurry to add more options, because more options can lead to confusion, making Micro.blog harder to use and more likely that someone will give up before posting.

However, there is a lot of power underneath Micro.blog, just one step removed from the default interface. We can leverage categories to build this feature of picking which posts should appear in the timeline.

The timeline itself is not magic. It is built from RSS and JSON feeds that tell Micro.blog where your posts are. Usually there is only one feed configured under Account β†’ “Edit Feeds & Cross-posting”, and that feed includes all your posts. To limit what appears in the timeline, we can remove that feed and replace it with a feed that includes a more limited set of posts.

Micro.blog-hosted blogs already have RSS feeds for each category. Today, I improved the feeds to match the default RSS feed, so that they include the full text (and any photos) instead of a truncated version of the post.

You can create a category named something like “Micro.blog” or “Timeline” that will contain posts that you’d like to appear in the Micro.blog timeline. Categories are managed on the web under Posts β†’ Categories. Then, remove the default feed from Account β†’ “Edit Feeds & Cross-posting” and add the RSS feed for that new category. If the category is called “Timeline”, the URL for the RSS would look like this:

https://your-username.micro.blog/categories/timeline/feed.xml

Now when you’re posting, assign the new post to that category and it will appear on Micro.blog:

Timeline checkbox

Your followers will see that post and can reply. All other posts will still appear on your Micro.blog-hosted blog on the web, and other readers can follow those posts in a feed reader.

Manton Reece @manton
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