Recently, I’ve had two positive experiences with one old and one new open-source social media software. Here’s my ever-so-limited take on them as a lowly end-user. (For earlier experiences, see this post.)

gnusocialGNUSocial. The plain vanilla format looks decent enough, and does a good job of microblogging, with 15 language options. (Each instance can set the maximum limit of characters per post.) An installation can crosspost to Twitter, though not all free-hosted options allow it.

GNUSocial is the continuation of the software used at before the owner installed a new type which I’ve yet to figure out. I was not able to download the backup file on the site.

My experience with the theme disappointed, with several glitches that were never addressed, such as the inability to edit my profile.

Experience with the Twitter-looking qvitter theme, which I tried at, was very nice, though it gives up threaded conversations. (One can toggle back and forth between the original and qvitter formats, however.) With a few clicks in qvitter, one can finally see the thread and context, so it’s not an entire wash. Overall, because it’s a stable program and works well, a 4 out of 5 stars.

withknownKnown. As a part of the indieweb effort, two developers have knocked the ball out of the ballpark by allowing crossposting to, and by pulling in likes and comments from, sites like Twitter and Facebook into its posts. See it work in the developers’ stream. Other services like Flickr (isn’t that one passé?), Foursquare, and Soundcloud can be connected as well. The Pro option connects to Google+ (and the self-hosted option, I think).

Still in beta, features are coming on rapidly. A few themes are available. I was impressed that the bookmarklet worked perfectly in Opera browser. A number of formats besides microblogging statuses is possible, including blog posts, check-ins, photos, and audio, among others. Not sure how the pro option will affect its open-source status. That’s a worry. Because of that, especially, and considering it’s still in beta, we give it a 3.5 out of 5. (But, wow, do I like it.)

In both, people have been very helpful. As the latter service grows, however, expect support to be a paid option.

With these two social-media platforms, and with other options mentioned in the link in the first paragraph, there’s really no reason to feel limited by walled gardens of commercial offerings.

Hang on! We’re transferring the site to a new server, so the ride may get bumpy for a bit.

Other Forthright/GoSpeak sites are also being transferred: BNc, Forthright Mag, FPress,, etc. I have great hopes for this change.

Much work in a short time.

On top of that we’re traveling and had to change out our rental car today because of engine problems. Got the same small sardine-can model, no courtesy update, sorry very much.

open-source-social-media[See my present connections here.] Federation. Decentralization. Privacy. Ownership. Open-source social media has sought its niche in one or more of these concepts. I’ve dabbled, followed, had a small impact in some of these projects, but I’ve never installed any of them. (Not counting WordPress, BoltWire, and various wikis.)

My perspective is that of user experience. A developer would take quite a different tack to discuss technical issues. I’m sure I use only a bit of the potential in these projects. I mention them below in the order that I remember joining. Continue reading

Patience, friends, we’re trying some themes for ye olde personal blog. Please don’t mind the mess. I’m tempted to go with the Mercury theme, which I’ve placed on two of our Brazilian sites.

If I install a theme like Mercury which allows status posts, I may post more than usual, so you might revise your email subscriptions to the site. I believe there’s an option to get a daily site update, rather than an immediate email for each individual post.

WordPress is a blessing. Most of our sites use it. Having many theme options also provides us with many choices. So this tongue-in-cheek WordPress theme dictionary, with sarcasm and fun, comes from one who truly appreciates the work of the people behind it.

After hours of searching for themes and looking at hundreds of them, I made up a short list of words and phrases that WordPress theme developers use to describe their creations. Here they are, in no particular order. Continue reading