I like the concept of using embeds of external content on your own site. This way you can show what you’re interested in or what your message is, like you would when retweeting, but your audience is not tied to one provider like Twitter or Instagram.

However, importing these posts like many people do is something I want to avoid: the posts should remain owned by their authors, they should be able to delete the post, and likes, views, etc should count towards their posts. Embedding provides the solution to this. The content is loaded from the external site (e.g. Twitter) and if an author has deleted the post, the embedded block will remain empty.

When a user on a federated service posts a message, the expectation is that it will be shared with other servers. Just like when you email someone, you understand that the message leaves your computer and possibly goes to another provider. However, if you tweet or post on Instagram, you would be rightfully annoyed to find your post copied onto someone else’s website, even after you have maybe deleted your post.

I also wanted to find out whether posts with such embeds showed up correctly when published to a federated network using the ActivityPub protocol. It doesn’t yet do so… Whether it’s a tweet with a video or text only, or an Instagram post, they show up mangled in the fediverse.

What would be ideal is the published, federated post containing nothing more of the embedded object than the link. Receiving servers could then display the embedded object themselves, if they so choose. A bit like how Friendica shows imported tweets.

I’ve now mostly removed all those posts imported from tumblr that were just a reblog of someone else. That’s more than 1500 of them. These shouldn’t have been imported in the first place.

Next task in the tumblr import mess cleanup is to fix the posts that are broken. Especially videos didn’t come through correctly, so I will just re-upload them again. But also photo sets aren’t ok.

In the mean time I’m trying to add microformats2 and other meta tags to this blog in a child theme. The existing plugins don’t quite do it the way I want. The eventual goal is to be able to have a better integration with Twitter and others using bridgy.

I also have plans to use categories more to separate subjects as if they are separate blogs, with an overview on the homepage. You may notice the homepage is currently very sparse, but that’s because the content it’s going to point to is not ready.

I guess I’ll be deleting everything from all those imported posts that is just a reblog. I may be some time…

Why did these get imported in the first place?

Anyway, after that I’ll have to go through the image uploads and remove the photos that are no longer attached. That should leave just the posts and photos that I actually made on tumblr. I’ll go through the attachments, fix the videos that got broken and reupload the photos from the originals. Then it’s time to actually set up the category pages.

Installation out of plastic bottles at Glow Eindhoven 2015.
Glow Eindhoven 2015. Photo by me.

So the import from my Tumblr into my WordPress is done. Over 2000 posts… And it has become a right old mess. Here’s what I noticed so far:

  • Titles on Tumblr text posts are optional. Apparently on WordPress (or just in this theme, I don’t know) they are not. So the import tool has made the whole text of the post as the title, showing up like that in recent posts lists, archives, etc.
  • Photo sets are presented as square thumbnails, losing the layout that was in Tumblr. Often there’s a mix of portrait and landscape photos and I chose the layout to have the correct areas of the photo visible in the preview. Because Tumblr, and probably WordPress, lack the focal points that Mastodon has.
  • The previews of photos in photo sets in Tumblr are presented much nicer and closer together than they are in WordPress
  • Photo sets that were posted on mobile in Tumblr, which displayed incorrectly on the Tumblr web, also import incorrectly into WordPress. On mobile the photos were previews that you could tap to see the full image. On Tumblr web, and now here after the import, the photos are just low res inserts in a text post. It is related to the fact that on mobile, the posts no longer have different types: they have different blocks of content, same as this new WordPress editor. However, all older interfaces read those as text posts.
  • Videos, at least posted on Tumblr mobile, import as a single image. That’s not good.
  • The import tool imports everything, also reblogs. I guess that’s just how Tumblr presents the content. I would have been ok with just importing the original posts. But then, what about those reblogs where I added text or photos? I’ll be adding category classifications to these posts so they can be easily found.

I also don’t really like this WordPress theme. Maybe I should practice some more (I will make several test posts) or tweak it. Some early gripes:

  • Titles don’t seem optional
  • Fonts, especially titles and the author blurb, are way too large
  • There doesn’t seem to be a side bar, everything is in the footer
  • Featured images don’t work
  • It’s unclear where your post ends and the next one begins

I’ll probably be fixing some of the older posts that suffered most from the import. And as I said I will be making some text posts. I’ll be trying the various gallery features and see how to emulate the Tumblr mobile experience.