Owning my RSVP’s from Meetup.com using IFTTT and Webhooks to a Micropub endpoint

Owning my RSVP’s from Meetup.com using IFTTT and Webhooks to a Micropub endpoint
It’s a slightly circuitous set up and I may find a better way to do it eventually, but last night I was tinkering at a way to better own my RSVPs from Meetup.com. Previously it has been a completely manual set up, but it’s something I do often enough that the hour long investment was more than worth it. (I specifically want to own my data here because I’m hedging my bets for what ends up happening with Meetup.com in a post-WeWork bankrupcy world.)

Since I’ve been adding PESOS workflows using the Micropub endpoint on my website lately, I tried setting up a direct ping using IFTTT.com from the RSS feed from Meetup. Sadly the timestamps on that feed are not of the time that I RSVP’d, but the time the event was published. As a result the trigger seems like it would never actually fire to make a post. I also thought about taking a feed of all the events of the groups I’m a member of and feed that in, but alas, that feed doesn’t seem to exist. If that were possible, then I could create drafts of the data and then RSVP as yes, no, maybe, etc. for each of them in a slightly more manual (and thoughtful) way, but I’d also have the benefit of seeing all the notifications for everything pop up in my own website.

Since I always immediately add my RSVP’s from Meetup.com directly to my Google Calendar anyway, I thought I’d use that as the data source and trigger mechanism instead, and lo and behold! It works!

Now I can quickly RSVP via Meetup.com, use their interface to add the event to my Google Calendar, leverage IFTTT.com’s Webhook to send a Micropub request to my endpoint, and I’ve got an RSVP post with all the details on my website! It also cleverly creates syndication links on my posts as well.

Perhaps I could now use some of the infrastructure to create an upcoming events widget in a sidebar, to the home page of my site, or even on my neglected /Now page?

Since this Webhook to Micropub process is something I’ve been working on a bit, I’ll soon have a post with a step-by-step set up and an example or two of how it works, so that others can implement it too. I’ve been using it for read posts, listen posts, watches, and even for creating annotation posts on my site. Depending on the data source, some of the process can still have some manual portions, but at least I’m getting all the data I’d like to have.

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This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich

Annotation posts >> Highlight posts

Because they’re so similar, I’ve decided to discontinue the custom highlight posts my site had in lieu of the more prevalent annotation post kind. The layout and format of both as highlighted text quoted from another site was almost exactly the same with the primary difference being my additional commentary added to the highlighted text to call it an annotation. Conceptually I considered “highlight + commentary/reply = annotation”. The difference is marginal at best–pun intended.

Since I only had 13 highlight posts versus 121 annotation posts (plus various additional annotations and highlights which I’ve rolled up into the body of some of my read posts) over the last year and a half, I felt it seemed redundant and bothersome to maintain two separate, but nearly identical post kinds. Semantically one may think of a highlight on some text as an annotation anyway, thus the idea of annotation subsumes that of a simple highlight.

As of this evening, I’ve changed all the custom highlight posts to be of the annotation kind. Other than the one word visual difference of the post kind text changing from “highlight” to “annotation” this change won’t affect much except for those who may have been subscribed to the highlight feed. Going forward you may consider subscribing to my annotation feed instead.

I had created highlight posts first, but in the end annotation posts have won the day. And for those that don’t have them, fear not, because honestly annotation posts are really just glorified bookmarks with custom text in the context. (The glorification only entails a highligher icon instead of a bookmark icon and a bit of CSS to color the text yellow.) I do find having them delineated for my personal research purposes useful though.

This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich

Spent a few minute to finally set up my website with Brid.gy so that it’s now pulling responses back from Mastodon. It’s so nice to see all the interactions that were once “lost” to me coming back to live with their proper contexts on my website.

For those looking to tinker with their websites as it relates to interacting with Mastodon, the IndieWeb has a reasonable number of potential options in addition to your ability to roll your own.

This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich

A brief year in review of my website, domain, online identity, commonplace book, journal, diary, etc.

With this post I will have posted to my personal website every day this past year. #​​AMA

This may seem incredibly impressive in a post-blog era when some people think it’s an achievement to have written on their personal site even once this year. When the average person thinks about how they use social media in our all-new, shiny, surveillance capitalism era they’ll possibly realize that they may actually post far more. They’re just doing it in dozens or more different places generally for the financial benefit of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, Medium, Goodreads, Swarm, Youtube, Reddit, Flickr, Yelp, Pinterest, Meetup, Kickstarter, Patreon, Nextdoor, Tumblr, Mastodon, Periscope, 500px, Pocket, Flipboard, SlideShare, Disqus, FitBit, Strava, Reading.am, GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab, Last.fm, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Telfie, Letterboxd, Trakt, Soundtracking, Tripit, Conferize, Upcoming.org, Colloq.io, Noti.st, Peach, Kinja, Plurk, TinyLetter, Venmo, Beeminder, Everyday Carry, and many, many, many others.

If anything, I suspect that I may be at the low end of writers and social posters. The major difference is that I own all of my data and have it in a single place where it’s more useful and searchable for me.

It turns out I made over 7,300 posts to my personal website this year. (For comparison, just the other day, I made my 10,000th tweet–after almost 11 years on Twitter.) This year’s output averages out to about 20 posts a day and includes at least one day with 53 public posts. (Many of my posts are private, where even Facebook is unaware of them. In fact, for large portions of July-October this year I only posted privately as a personal experiment.) These posts include nearly everything I’ve read, watched, listened to, bookmarked, replied to online, and otherwise written about this year. It also includes almost all of my checkins, RSVPs, and bookmarks as well as many of the more memorable things I’ve eaten or drank and most of my major acquisitions. It’s certainly a heck of a multi-media version of how I spent 2019. Better, it hasn’t taken a lot of work to do, it’s relatively easy to use, and I refer back to a lot of it–often. As a result, I also use it dramatically differently than I do traditional social media.

Of course my site is never exactly like I’d like it to be (I’d like to have more photo collections), but it’s finally getting somewhere closer to the sort of commonplace book I’ve always wanted. I’ll keep hacking away at posting things more easily and collecting what I think are some of the more interesting data I come across on a daily basis. Fortunately while most social media platforms have broadly quit innovating to make new and interesting features, I have the ability to change things to make them the way I want them to be. This sort of agency and flexibility is incredibly invaluable.

The best part is that it’s all on a website I control, and all the data is mine in a way that a traditional social media experience has never come close to. If you have the same wish for yourself or your friends in the coming new year, do let me know –I and many others are around to help you make it a reality for yourself

This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich