So I’m typing this from within my favorite text editor of choice using this markup language that was made(?) by Daring Fireball over ten years ago. And I used to be satisfied with this. But it’s not enough for me anymore. See, the whole “tech” appeal of writing my blog from the console and what not probably made sense if you didn’t blog hyper-frequently, like more than 3 times a day. Nowadays, I catch myself doing it probably once or twice an hour.
Blogging On the Hour?
I used to have a little memo on the blog index page explaining where the
word “blog” came from and a bit as to why I use weblog instead of blog on
here. But now with things like Mastodon, I’m starting to wonder if this
actually falls in line with the whole testament I made when I wanted
to take things in-house nor with my commitment to the IndieWeb.
Everything I write and post should be coming from me. Or at least, the
digital authoritative representation of me. I can prove that I own (or
at least, I’m leasing) my domain name at
jacky.wtf. I can try to prove
that I produced content on platforms like Twitter or Instagram but if
things aren’t shown as there were intended (say algorithmically
repositioning), then what control do I have out of the relinquishing of
content to a bunch of media distribution companies?
Granted, I take pride in my site. It’s been chugging along for about 6 years now under different domain names. But I want to make things more closer to home. I shouldn’t have to give you like 13 different URLs to have you find a kind of content that I want to share, produce or reference to. I should be able to say something like the following:
Hey. I’m Jacky! My site’s at jacky.wtf. You can find info about what I’m doing right now, some photos I’ve taken and even my last random notes I’ve taken down.
Something like this would translate into the following when using silos (closed-source, closed-network platforms):
Hey. I’m Jacky! I have a site at jacky.wtf, but I put all of my photos and videos on Instagram and I stay using Twitter to keep people in the loop.
Using these isolated services make it hard for us to express ourselves in the days of MySpace (for my generation) or even further back. It has created ingenuity in terms of content production within these constraints but the act of being forced in a box for the sake of revenue reeks of that post-industrial content creation farms. There’s an adage; if you’re not paying for the service, you are the product.
The most immediate thing and one of my personal anchorages to the silo rings (Twitter, Facebook et al) is that I’ve built relationships with people and content on there. The act of following local people and then having them carry content from like people into my streams led to a bidirectional growth. A growth for my incoming read of content from everyone and their audience and I built a following on that same notion that said content would be up kept.
Noting that, it isn’t terribly different from how one would attempt to find people to befriend offline1. Going to studios or venues of things that you’re interested in doing (improv, baking, archery or just playing video games and drinking cider in an arcade) were ways to find friends. You also could have made them in classes you had in school, sermons during theological places and so on. I don’t know what existed before hashtags outside of planets but those two concepts were ways to find people and content on things you were interested in. Reddit’s plumbing is built around this notion. Twitter is compartmentalized around this notion too. Even platforms built on the notion of decentralization and federation uses a centralizing tactic of federating hashtag content to build community. It’s a bit inevitable.
Building a Tower
There’s this concept in engineering called the single point of failure; the
notion that by centralizing a lot of critical processes, you increase the chance
of failure (catastrophic or not) to occur. One could say that by using
platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or the like. Currently, my
“identity” is still splintered across multiple places/services on the Web.
To fulfill what I’m reaching at, I’d have to have
jacky.wtf be the
place where my images are posted from, my blog posts are published at, my
check-ins are stored and so forth. There is a concern with security and
it’s actually relatively reasonable.
To plug the IndieWeb once more, there’s a notion of doing all of this kind of stuff. Self hosting (or owning on a shared system) all of your content, controlling who gets to see what and doing it in a way where people can craft what they want and people use solutions that they build for community.
This post went from a bit of a reflective (nostalgic?) trip into my experience on the Internet for the last 15 years to me potentially wanting and wondering what’s next. What’s actually next for the social facets of the Internet that aren’t driven largely by corporate interest?
Looking at the Anvil
This (oddly) has me returning to my terminal writing this post. It took me some time to write this post but the idea of it has been lurking since June. It’s possibly me slowly but surely being to write off Jekyll and beginning to move into either a home-grown solution or using something else. I don’t know yet. I don’t think one usually does; especially when it comes to moving. You don’t know what kind of memories you end up actually making when you move in somewhere.
I’m interested in finding out, though. Thanks for figuring this out with me. Let me know your thoughts.
I use “offline” instead of “real life” because the words and content created by people are done by real people. It wasn’t or isn’t not real. ↩