Edit your RSS feed to control your site’s output to micro.blog
If you’re an indieweb purist you publish everything – novels, essays, images, links, thoughts, jokes and tweet-length notes – to your website before syndicating them to social media such as Twitter, Facebook and micro.blog.
RSS will power your syndication. The better social media services work out of the box with RSS, monitoring your feed and retrieving content whenever it’s published. The older, closed networks will require some API wrangling, normally performed by a third party automator such as IFTTT or Zapier.
Most static site generators automatically create an RSS feed, which micro.blog uses to publish new posts:
This is good, but means that everything, whether it’s a note, image or 2,000 word essay, looks the same – a title and a link to the post on your website. What if you want to just post the note or the image, rather than a title and link back to your site?
By changing what your RSS feed outputs, you can control what appears on micro.blog. There are three things you need to consider.
Firstly, micro.blog will publish your complete post with no link if you generate an empty
title node, i.e.
<title></title>. If the post is more than 280 characters long, it’ll publish those 280 characters followed by an ellipsis and a link back to your site.
Secondly, this means you can post images directly to micro.blog if you use an empty
<title>. You just need to remember to make image
srcs absolute rather than relative (e.g. use
https://www.thisdaysportion.com/images/engine-2.jpg rather than
Finally, your website can have as many RSS feeds as you like, so you can write a special feed especially for micro.blog, while leaving your ‘main’, complete feed alone. (See my micro.blog feed.) Static site generators output whatever text files you like from templates, including
json, which makes them perfect for generating RSS feeds.
Here’s what notes I publish to my site first look like on micro.blog:
You could create separate feeds for each content type you publish (e.g. one for images, one for essays and one for notes), but that’s maybe a little inefficient. I’ve opted for one micro.blog feed that outputs different entries depending on whether the content is a post, note or link.
You can also do all sorts of clever things when you generate your own feed, such as automatically add a category emoji you specify in a post’s front matter. Anyway, here’s the Jekyll code for generating my micro.blog feed:
See my micro.blog RSS feed code on Github.
Things to note: I’ve created an
everything array which concatenates all site collections into one. I’ve also taken advantage of Jekyll’s defaults to add
is_link front matter to collection items automatically, so my code can tell what type of item it’s dealing with as it loops through the
Consider subscribing to the RSS feed. That way, you’ll get notified whenever I post anything new. If you’re not sure about RSS feeds, I wrote a guide to RSS.
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