Dan Gillmor on Indieweb as an alternative

I have been meaning to elaborate on my thoughts on #IndieWeb for a while. Chris Aldrich’s recent post outlining a proposal for a book spurred me to finish jotting down my notes and reflections.


I find #indieweb hard to explain. In part I would describe it as an alternative way of working on the web, a collaborative community and a technical solution. I can’t remember exactly when I first came upon it. I know thought it was associated with the concept of POSSE. It was probably a part of Connected Courses and my move to Reclaim Hosting. Twitter tells me that my initial investigations were associated with Known.

What interested me was the potential to extend and own my presence on the web. Initially, I posted to Flickr from a Known instance and pulled in comments from Twitter and Google+ with the #IndieWeb WordPress Plugin(s).

More recently I have become interested in exploring ‘post kinds’ as I continue to investigate ways that I can better manage my presence on the web. In particular, I like the idea of sending comments from my site, but have yet to either master some of the technical aspects or develop a suitable workflow.

I must admit, I still get lost with some of the mechanics. I wonder sometimes if this is because I am balancing multiple spaces. I would like to better understand how the various platforms and plugins work. For example, what is the difference between Known, Micro.Blogs and WordPress? What does Bridgy do? Are there any limitations to it? For example, can I connect it with more than one space, particularly in regards to Twitter. I also find more solace in reading various reflections, listening to weekly updates and think that the main site has come along way, especially in outlining the different entry points. I think that the addition of a book would be a valuable resource. As always, I am still investigating.

So what about you? Have you had any experiences with the IndieWeb? Do you have any thoughts and comments that you would share with Chris Aldrich?


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My #IndieWeb Reflections by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

36 thoughts on “My #IndieWeb Reflections

  1. Reading Aaron’s #IndieWeb Reflections, I want to say #metoo, but without debasing that hashtag.
    I’m struck that he and I seem to be in very much the same place. I too find it hard to explain; but then again, I don’t try much. I too get lost in the mechanics, although I am slowly making progress. I too juggle multiple spaces, unsuccessfully.
    I’m hoping for good things from the book Chris Aldrich has already started working on, and I keep trying to educate myself. In the end, though, I feel (and fear) that the silos have answered the “how do I publish this on the internet?” question so effectively, for so many people, that the impetus to learn and make things — as I learned NucleusCMS — almost two decades ago, is all but gone. Discovering content management systems and weblogging, after hand coding a clunky monthly newsletter, was almost magical. I doubt that today’s “publishers” feel anything like the same satisfaction, but I get it again from the IndieWeb.

    <a href="https://www.jeremycherfas.net/blog/tag:Geeky">Geeky</a>
    <a href="https://www.jeremycherfas.net/blog/tag:Indieweb">Indieweb</a>

    • I really like your point Jeremy about satisfaction. I wonder if it comes down to why you are publishing? For me, I am interested in developing ideas. If your interest is simply pushing out information, then maybe a more ‘safe and secure’ platform is preferred. Something to think about I guess.

  2. I sent a web mention from my own site, via Telegraph, and got this in (part) of reply: Maybe you should investigate.

    Your access to this site has been limited
    Reason: POST received with blank user-agent and referer

  3. Hi Aaron, nice to read from another Australian looking into the IndieWeb. 🙂
    You’re right that the concepts used in the IndieWeb haven’t yet solidified into something that less technical users can grasp. I guess that’s what makes it fun for more technical people to play with, and yet is a frustration for those just looking for something that works.
    To try and answer your questions: brid.gy publishes posts from your site to silos such as Facebook and Twitter. You’re right that this is a one to one mapping from your site to one account on each silo, though you can publish to both silos at the same time in one post. brid.gy will also listen for replies on those silo accounts and send them back to your site as webmentions.
    The differences between Known, Micro.blog and WordPress is going to be a long list 🙂 but I’m guessing you mean from the perspective of a new user learning about the IndieWeb? I don’t use any of them, but WordPress looks like it has the easiest set up process for installing IndieWeb modules. Known has more IndieWeb functionality built into it’s core, but I think getting it set up in the first place might take more work than WordPress. Micro.blog is quite different from the other two, it’s IndieWeb friendly but only provides a hosted service.

    via unicyclic.com

  4. I wouldn’t call it “an alternative way of working on the web”, but as the original way of working on the web. True to the methods of the original web that made all this possible.

    I also would emphasize the higher security of the real web compared to the closed silos of Twitter et al.

    Just my two escudos.

  5. Hi Aaron, I’ve had a domain and self-hosted WordPress for over a decade but only recently discovered the IndieWeb community. I installed all the plugins and jumped right in. I’m still learning and figuring this out. It’s fun and frustrating and something I may continue to do #ManualUntilItHurts.

    I am currently working on getting some of the more obscure (Untappd, Foursquare) social silos integrated.

  6. Continuing the conversation about forgetting and ethics, Antony Funnell speaks with Kate Eichhorn and Kate Mannell about digital forgetting.
    Eichhorn, the author of The End of Forgetting, discusses the long and complicated history that children have and challenges associated with identity. She explains that our ability to control what is forgotten has been diminished in the age of social media. Although new solutions may allow us to connect, this also creates its own problems and consequences, such as the calcification of polarised politics. Eichhorn would like to say things are going to change, but she argues that there is little incentive for big tech. Although young people are becoming more cynical, there maybe resistance, but little hope for a return to an equitable utopian web.
    Kate Mannell explores the idea of forcing a sense of ethics through the form of a hypocratic oath. Some of the problems with this is that there are many versions of the oath, it does not resolve the systemic problems and it is hard to have an oath of no harm when it is not even clear what harms are actually at play. In the end, it risks being a soft form of self regulation.
    I found Eichhorn’s comments about resistance interesting when thinking about my engagement with the IndieWeb and Domain of One’s Own. I guess sometimes all we have is hope. While Mannell’s point about no harm when it is not even clear what harm is at play reminds me about Zeynep Tufekci’s discussion of shadow profiles, complications of inherited datasets and the challenges of the next machine age. In regards to education, the issue is in regards to artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

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