Why use Webmention?

Webmention is the connective tissue of an open, federated communication network of independent websites. It lets you publish content on your own website, and then receive and publish comments, replies, and other reactions posted by others elsewhere on the web.

A writer – or a company employing writers – would want to use Webmention in order to welcome and publish interactions from across the internet, while still publishing their own work “at home”, on their own branded domain, totally under their own control and ownership.

In effect, Webmention gives you an open alternative to publishing directly to a closed, corporate-owned social network or platform such as Twitter or Medium, without giving up on the interactions with readers that those sites so famously provide. You can always “syndicate” your content to these platforms, as well, to increase your reach – but your content’s canonical home stays on your own domain.

Webmention has use-cases beyond public writing and reacting, as well; for example, you can post – again, on your own, independent website – an announcement of a public event you intend to host, and then receive webmentions that act as RSVPs, publishing them as you receive them.

Why I use Webmention

Speaking for myself, I became interested in Webmention when I saw a colleague publish Twitter-based replies to his writing on his own blog, as if they were comments. It looked like magic, and I wanted to do it myself, at my own domain. I came to learn this is a technique called “backfeed”, one of many things Webmention makes possible.

I have indeed set up a backfeed on my blog, and it works splendidly, allowing Twitter-using friends to reply to my articles effortlessly. I have also used Webmention to share articles I publish with other websites that automatically aggregate lists of posts on various topics based on webmentions they receive. This extends my reach and readership through very little extra effort on my part.