Webmention and Twitter

After the Webmention session last weekend, I was inspired to revisit a quirk of Micro.blog’s Webmention implementation. Bridgy is an IndieWeb-friendly service commonly used to forward tweet replies via Webmention. If you were using Bridgy to connect your blog to Twitter, Micro.blog had been essentially ignoring any tweet replies to your blog post. Unlike Micro.blog’s support for Mastodon and blogs, there was no way to represent a Twitter user in Micro.blog, and so it didn’t make sense to thread tweets into a Micro.blog conversation.

Including tweets in Micro.blog would have other ripple effects that I wanted to avoid. For example, what happens if you reply to a tweet? I’m not interested in turning Micro.blog into a Twitter client. Quite the opposite. I’m actively trying to distance myself from Twitter and avoid dependencies on any big social networks unless they are based on open standards.

Back to Webmention. I think I’ve found a good compromise solution for compatibility with Bridgy, bringing Micro.blog’s Webmention support more in line with what Webmention.io can provide.

When Micro.blog receives a Webmention for a tweet via Bridgy, it now does create a special reference for that Twitter user and stores the tweet text. The tweet still does not appear anywhere on Micro.blog. The tweet is available as part of the conversation on your blog, though. If you don’t have replies enabled on your blog, you can learn more in the Help Center about using Conversation.js.

This is all a long way of saying: when you post a link to your blog post on Twitter, tweet replies will be collected and included under your blog post on the web.

There’s an additional gotcha you should know about using Bridgy and Micro.blog together. Bridgy needs a link to your blog post for it to be able to match up tweet replies to that blog post. When cross-posting to Twitter from Micro.blog, Micro.blog only includes a link back to your blog if your blog post has a title, or if it needs to be truncated to fit in the tweet.

If you want all cross-posted tweets to link back to the microblog post, even if they were short, you can use Bridgy itself for the cross-posting instead of Micro.blog, and disable cross-posting in Micro.blog. I’m not planning any changes to Micro.blog’s cross-posting in the near term.

Manton Reece @manton
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