Skip to Content

Planning emsenn.net, Summer 2019

I’ve been using the domain as my “personal website,” at https://emsenn.net, in one way or another for a bit over a year now, though what that means has shifted over that period.

I’ve recently decided to stop sharing so many of my drafts as I work on them, at the advice of @yam655@sonomu.club, who was recently speaking with me about building a community and audience around my writing.

So instead of treating my website as a document repository, I’m going to treat it as a means of communication - more specifically, a way of broadcasting long-form text to subscribers. In this context, “broadcasting” means “sending, but not receiving, information,” and “subscribers” means “people who have chosen to receive the broadcast.”

Since I’ve been using Mastodon software service for a while now, I’ve grown to like the Fediverse, the rough conglomeration of cultures that communicate using the ActivityPub protocol.

So it seemed natural to move to WriteFreely, a federated blogging platform. The software, open-source of course, is maintained by the same people who run the Write.as web service. There, one can post anonymously or run their own blog.

That’s what I’m choosing to do, for now - I’ve gone ahead and signed up for their “Pro” plan, which has let me set up a custom domain.

So now, if you go to https://emsenn.net, you see a title (my name), a list of pinned posts, and then a chronological feed of my posts - most recent first. At the bottom of the page, there’s a field where you can put your email address to subscribe to new posts - they’ll show up in full in your email. If RSS feeds are your preference, they’re available at https://emsenn.net/feed/.

There’s a web interface for adding new posts and managing the site, but I’ll be adding posts directly from Emacs, my text-editor of choice. In it, I write files in the Org-mode format, and use the writefreely.el script to upload them to Write.as.

…Actually in playing with it, I can’t get that to work quite properly if I try and update a post. So what I’ll probably do instead, for now, is export to Github-Flavored Markdown with Ox-GFM and then use the web interface to post and update. A bit clunky, but as I’m no longer prioritizing my website as the main place I host my writing, I’m okay with it.

I glossed over it at the start, but that is the main reason I’m comfortable moving my website from an ultra-light just-HTML thing to a web service: I plan on offering that sort of HTML document through some sort of store-front, for lack of a better term. I’m already doing something like that with my writing with Teraum - you can see an example at https://emsenn.itch.io/crown-of-idbol-bark/ - though at the moment there’s only a PDF available.

With that burden lifted, to be placed somewhere else in the near future, emsenn.net can be a broadcast platform, and WriteFreely seemed like an adequate choice to get that done.

Editorial and License Information

My name is emsenn and I wrote this essay for the benefit of the commons. To the extent possible under law, I have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to it. If you're viewing it on a remote server, you're encouraged to download your own copy. Essays like this are made possible with financial support from readers like you. Thank you. To read more of my work and to learn more about me, visit https://emsenn.net