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Syndicating this Blog, Part I

Posted on:January 26, 2024

I’ve decided to write a series of posts discussing how I syndicate my blog. In this first post, I’ll provide some background before delving into the technical aspects.

Ok, so my goal is to publish one post a day on my blog, and I’m comfortable sharing most of it on LinkedIn and Twitter (despite kinda hating Twitter now). While there are things I’d prefer to keep private, if it’s on my blog, it’s already on the Internet, so I don’t mind sharing it elsewhere.

Some people have specific ways they want to use various platforms, but for me, it’s not a big concern. I’m not a big fan of social media in general – it promotes unhealthy behaviors and contributes to stress and mental health issues. This has been proven time and again, and I’ve experienced it firsthand as well. I rarely post on LinkedIn because I find much of the so-called “thought leadership” content vapid and pontifical. In my opinion, if you want to pontificate, do it on your blog – your personal space where you own the content, rather than providing free material for platforms that consume users’ time and attention while profiting from their data. But hey that’s just me.

I still recognize that sharing can be beneficial for potential opportunities. To strike a balance, I plan to share the same content across platforms that I post on my blog. This way, interested readers can follow me wherever they prefer consuming content. It also allows me to maintain a consistent online presence without tailoring my writing for each medium, which is just easier for me.

Ok, so that’s my general commentary on my approach. Now let’s discuss how this is done. If you’re familiar with this topic, you’re aware of the numerous tools available for authoring, sharing, publishing, and scheduling content across different platforms. In the past, I’ve used tools like Buffer, Tweet Deck, Hootsuite, and Zapier – all of which work quite well.

There’s a catch, though. These tools cost money and aren’t always the most flexible. If you’re non-technical, I wouldn’t blame you at all for using them. But as an engineer, I can set up some things on my own because the available tools have become so efficient. So I’ll be setting up my personal blog syndication using AWS SAM, leveraging Lambdas and Step Functions. For a personal project like this, I think it’s a great approach.

Why? Well it’s quick to set up, even though some might argue it’s over-engineering since you could run simple scripts locally, using your cron tab and local Python or bash scripts or something. You’d achieve the same result without extra costs or complexity. However, I’d suggest going with the AWS approach for a few reasons.

First, if you know how to do this, it’s hardly any additional effort, and AWS abstractions are quite straightforward once you grok them. Second, if you decide to extend the application in various ways later (ex: maybe using AI to do fancy things), you won’t run out of room to grow for a long time. So why not? Plus, since it’s running in the cloud, it’s always on – which has some advantages (and disadvanatagees) over local setups. Lastly, for me personally, this is another chance to play with some technology. So why not?

Ok, that’s all the background you need for now. Next time, I’ll share more about the actual setup and how to do it.