With the future of Twitter in uncertain hands I decided I should probably have a back-up plan for discussions around my website content.
I mentioned back in July 2022 that I’d enable Discus comments where it made sense, but with Discus being rather evil I instead started telling people to @ me on Twitter (@Xilefian) with their thoughts.
For myself, Twitter is great for visibility. Even before I had the fantastically cool clout of Minecraft-dev, my Twitter sphere was quite healthy in the communities around graphics programming and game development.
For the lucky few like myself, Twitter has been invaluable for learning and communicating. Thanks Twitter.
If Twitter had a mass-exodus (digg style) I wouldn’t be surprised if those who have the priviledge of high twitter-visibility go back to individual blogs with RSS.
This somewhat goes back to the days of Web 1.0 where everyone had a personal website.
So Twitter is kind of about you just blasting out whatever personal crap you have going on, whereas Mastodon’s servers promote a most focused blasting out of very-specific crap that you have going on.
If you want the personal blog style, you need to run your own server, or start spewing all over someone else’s server that was set up for twitter-style top-of-mind discussions.
So perhaps the form I imagine of “individual blogs with RSS” is individual Mastodon servers. There’s a technical barrier that’s probably greater than just rolling your own website (which is already a high technical barrier).
The other day I had a chat with Chi regarding the Twitter “news” and I mentioned that I am considering looking into using GitHub as a sort of stupid twitter-clone - and that idea actually stuck with me.
In terms of visibility, I think I’m doing pretty well on GitHub: As of this writing I have 209 followers on GitHub (give me a follow).
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to use GitHub for topic-based social discussion (as long as your topic is related to software development). My second biggest crowd after Minecraft is probably the game development scene, so why not use GitHub.
It would be interesting if GitHub set up a feed where you can see the top-of mind from individuals that you follow. Perhaps this already exists? Right now I just see a feed of all their boring, normal software development activity (make a repo, push a commit, merge a PR, etc).
This morning when I was making my coffee I was reading about all the Twitter employees who were unfortunately fired in the wake of the “news” and it got me thinking even more about my GitHub social discussion idea.
I decided I’d spend this weekend building a sort of comment system using GitHub discussions, so I booted up my development machine and began the way all good software starts: by google’ing for whatever already exists.
Even with my garbage tier search terms I immediately found that someone had already done what I had planned and it is quite glorious: giscus.
The name alone communicated that it was what I wanted for replacing discus on this site, and setting up giscus was ridiculously easy: it worked first time.
So I went ahead and enabled it on every page. I hope you have a GitHub account.
I am thinking of experimenting with some kind of top-of-mind style tweet-esque thing on the homepage of this site, so my personal top-of-mind stuff would be visible for discussion, and I can share cool games, projects, communities, political thoughts, and more.
But for now, Twitter is still here, so I’m sticking to Twitter for that kind of thing. This blog will do for continuing my long-form content, and the comment box will do for continuing discussion in a place that isn’t dependant on the existance of Twitter (but instead dependant on Microsoft’s seemingly infinite free storage on GitHub).
I should probably set up RSS.
Yeah I need to do this at some point. I’ll look into it when I got some time, but I need to read up if there’s any data laws I need to keep in mind when I write a boolean flag to your disk for if you have dark mode turned on/off. Perhaps there’s an OS/browser setting I can use?
Below here should be the new comment section. I’ve even left GitHub reactions enabled so you can drop an emoji that best describes your emotional state when reading the crap I write.