Happy #IndieWeb Birthday to Me!

T

wo years ago today, I officially began to (try to) own all of my own web data and host it on my own server.

It began when I moved from WordPress.com to my own domain at BoffoSocko.com. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the IndieWeb movement, but shortly thereafter I ran across IndieWebCamp.org and began using their principles and philosophy, which seemed to me to be how the Web and the Internet should have worked from the start.

Though I still use corporate-owned social media sites (primarily for increased distribution), I no longer rely on them for being the sole source of my internet presence or identity.

Now, through the boffosocko.com domain and a variety of tools, I post all of my content here on my own site first and then syndicate it out to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and any other useful sites. [Sadly, because of API restrictions I do still natively post to Instagram, but using OwnYourGram, I’m able to programmatically post the same photo on my site simultaneously.] This means that if any of these silos were to disappear, I would still own all of my own content (including comments I make on other sites, which sometimes could be blogposts/articles in and of themselves, or worse, through administrative interfaces could actually not be approved/published, and therefore completely lost as if I hadn’t written them to begin with.)

Also slowly, but surely, I’ve been able to have all of the resulting interactions that take place on my content on many of these silos (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) appear back on my site in the comments section on the original post. This way, if you’re commenting and interacting on this post on Facebook (for example) and you comment there, the comment is ported over to the comment section on my own site where it exists for everyone to see and interact with.

If you’re interested in joining the movement you can see if there’s a meeting in your neighborhood (or even create your own.) For those living in the Los Angeles area, there’s a meeting this week on Wednesday, April 27th! Click here for more details. Later this year, there’s also a bigger Indie Web Camp here in Los Angeles too!

If you think the mission and philosophy of the Indie Web are interesting and would like some help setting something like this up for yourself, I’m happy to help! Just post a comment below or reply to this post (depending on what platform you’re reading this.)

I also want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all those in the indieweb community who’ve helped me come much farther and faster than I would have done by myself!

I’m copying some useful introductory material from IndieWebCamp.org below for those interested:

What is the IndieWeb?

The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.

indieweb

Join the IndieWeb

Beyond Blogging and Decentralization

The IndieWeb effort is different from previous efforts/communities:

Perhaps most importantly, we are people-focused instead of project-focused, and have regular meetups where everyone is welcome:

Homebrew Website Club

Homebrew Website Club is a (bi)weekly meetup of creatives passionate about designing, improving, building, and actively using their own websites, sharing their successes and challenges with a like-minded and supportive community. We have adopted a similar structure as the classic Homebrew Computer Club meetings. [1]

We typically meet every other Wednesday* right after work, 18:30-19:30, across cities and online. Some locations also have a 17:30-18:30 Quiet Writing Hour beforehand. Edinburgh is meeting every week, and some cities meet on Tuesdays!

 

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My 10th Anniversary on Facebook

Apparently, according to Facebook, today is my 10th Anniversary using their service. Mostly I remember that it was pretty lonely for that first year as very few people I knew even had an idea what it was. Fortunately more than 1,300 people I know have joined since and made it a much more enriching experience.

Yesterday I got a thank you from Foursquare for 7 years, and it’s easily been over 8 years on Twitter. Sadly, I miss a lot of the services that started around that time that are no longer with us. Toward that end, I’ll post some thoughts tomorrow about a more pivotal anniversary about which I’m much more excited, and which portends better things for the internet…

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Thoughts on “Some academics remain skeptical of Academia.edu” | University Affairs

Some academics remain skeptical of Academia.edu (University Affairs)
They warn scholars to €œthink twice€ before sharing their work on the popular social network.

This morning I ran across a tweet from colleague Andrew Eckford:

His response was probably innocuous enough, but I thought the article should be put to task a bit more.

“35 million academics, independent scholars and graduate students as users, who collectively have uploaded some eight million texts”

35 million users is an okay number, but their engagement must be spectacularly bad if only 8 million texts are available. How many researchers do you know who’ve published only a quarter of an article anywhere, much less gotten tenure?

“the platform essentially bans access for academics who, for whatever reason, don’t have an Academia.edu account. It also shuts out non-academics.”

They must have changed this, as pretty much anyone with an email address (including non-academics) can create a free account and use the system. I’m fairly certain that the platform was always open to the public from the start, but the article doesn’t seem to question the statement at all. If we want to argue about shutting out non-academics or even academics in poorer countries, let’s instead take a look at “big publishing” and their $30+/paper paywalls and publishing models, shall we?

“I don’t trust academia.edu”

Given his following discussion, I can only imagine what he thinks of big publishers in academia and that debate.

“McGill’s Dr. Sterne calls it “the gamification of research,”

Most research is too expensive to really gamify in such a simple manner. Many researchers are publishing to either get or keep their jobs and don’t have much time, information, or knowledge to try to game their reach in these ways. And if anything, the institutionalization of “publish or perish” has already accomplished far more “gamification”, Academia.edu is just helping to increase the reach of the publication. Given that research shows that most published research isn’t even read, much less cited, how bad can Academia.edu really be? [Cross reference: Reframing What Academic Freedom Means in the Digital Age]

If we look at Twitter and the blogging world as an analogy with Academia.edu and researchers, Twitter had a huge ramp up starting in 2008 and helped bloggers obtain eyeballs/readers, but where is it now? Twitter, even with a reasonable business plan is stagnant with growing grumblings that it may be failing. I suspect that without significant changes that Academia.edu (which is a much smaller niche audience than Twitter) will also eventually fall by the wayside.

The article rails against not knowing what the business model is or what’s happening with the data. I suspect that the platform itself doesn’t have a very solid business plan and they don’t know what to do with the data themselves except tout the numbers. I’d suspect they’re trying to build “critical mass” so that they can cash out by selling to one of the big publishers like Elsevier, who might actually be able to use such data. But this presupposes that they’re generating enough data; my guess is that they’re not. And on that subject, from a journalistic viewpoint, where’s the comparison to the rest of the competition including ResearchGate.net or Mendeley.com, which in fact was purchased by Elsevier? As it stands, this simply looks like a “hit piece” on Academia.edu, and sadly not a very well researched or reasoned one.

In sum, the article sounds to me like a bunch of Luddites running around yelling “fire”, particularly when I’d imagine that most referred to in the piece feed into the more corporate side of publishing in major journals rather than publishing it themselves on their own websites. I’d further suspect they’re probably not even practicing academic samizdat. It feels to me like the author and some of those quoted aren’t actively participating in the social media space to be able to comment on it intelligently. If the paper wants to pick at the academy in this manner, why don’t they write an exposé on the fact that most academics still have websites that look like they’re from 1995 (if, in fact, they have anything beyond their University’s mandated business card placeholder) when there are a wealth of free and simple tools they could use? Let’s at least build a cart before we start whipping the horse.

For academics who really want to spend some time and thought on a potential solution to all of this, I’ll suggest that they start out by owning their own domain and own their own data and work. The #IndieWeb movement certainly has an interesting philosophy that’s a great start in fixing the problem; it can be found at http://www.indiewebcamp.com.

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Webmentions for Improving Annotation and Preventing Bullying on the Web

Preventing abuse – Hypothesis by Dan Whaley (Hypothes.is)

There are potential solutions to the recent News Genius-gate incident, and simple notifications can go a long way toward helping prevent online bullying behavior.

There has been a recent brouhaha on the Internet (see related stories below) because of bad actors using News Genius (and potentially other web-based annotation tools like Hypothes.is) to comment on websites without their owner’s knowledge, consent, or permission. It’s essentially the internet version of talking behind someone’s back, but doing it while standing on their head and shouting with your fingers in their ears. Because of platform and network effects, such rude and potentially inappropriate commentary can have much greater reach than even the initial website could give it. Naturally in polite society, such bullying behavior should be curtailed.

This type of behavior is also not too different from more subtle concepts like subtweets or the broader issues platforms like Twitter are facing in which they don’t have proper tools to prevent abuse and bullying online.

A creator receives no notification if someone has annotated their content.–Ella Dawson

On March 25th, Ella Dawson wrote a blog post in which she requested that Genius disable its Web Annotator for her site.

Towards a Solution: Basic Awareness

I think that a major part of improving the issue of abuse and providing consent is building in notifications so that website owners will at least be aware that their site is being marked up, highlighted, annotated, and commented on in other locations or by other platforms. Then the site owner at least has the knowledge of what’s happening and can then be potentially provided with information and tools to allow/disallow such interactions, particularly if they can block individual bad actors, but still support positive additions, thought, and communication. Ideally this blocking wouldn’t occur site-wide, which many may be tempted to do now as a knee-jerk reaction to recent events, but would be fine grained enough to filter out the worst offenders.

Toward the end of notifications to site owners, it would be great if any annotating activity would trigger trackbacks, pingbacks, or the relatively newer and better webmention protocol of the W3C which comes out of the IndieWeb movement. Then site owners would at least have notifications about what is happening on their site that might otherwise be invisible to them. (And for the record, how awesome would it be if social media silos like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Medium, Tumblr, et al would support webmentions too!?!)

Perhaps there’s a way to further implement filters or tools (a la Akismet on platforms like WordPress) that allow site users to mark materials as spam, abusive, or “other” so that they are then potentially moved from “public” facing to “private” so that the original highlighter can still see their notes, but that the platform isn’t allowing the person’s own website to act as a platform to give safe harbor (or reach) to bad actors.

Further some site owners might appreciate gradable filters (G, PG, PG-13, R, X) so that either they or their users (or even parents of younger children) can filter what they’re willing to show on their site (or that their users can choose to see).

Consider also annotations on narrative forms that might be posted as spoilers–how can these be guarded against? For what happens when a even a well-meaning actor posts an annotation on page two which foreshadows that the butler did it thereby ruining the surprise on the last page? Certainly there’s some value in having such a comment from an academic/literary perspective, but it doesn’t mean that future readers will necessarily appreciate the spoiler. (Some CSS and a spoiler tag might easily and unobtrusively remedy the situation here?)

Certainly options can be built into the annotating platform itself as well as allowing server-side options for personal websites attempting to deal with flagrant violators and truly hard-to-eradicate cases.

Note: You’re welcome to highlight and annotate this post using Hypothes.is (see upper right corner of page) or on News Genius.

Do you have a solution for helping to harden the Internet against bullies? Share it in the comments below.
Related stories:
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IndieWebCamp Los Angeles 2016 Announced for November 4-6

The IndieWeb movement is a global community that is building an open set of principles and methods that empower people to take back ownership of their online identity and data instead of relying on 3rd party websites. Come learn more about the next generation of the Web.

For the first time since 2013, when it appeared in Hollywood, IndieWebCamp is coming to Los Angeles! I’m definitely going, and I invite you to join us. For the past two years or so, I’ve been delving into the wealth of tools and resources the community has been developing. I’m excited to attend a local camp, help out in any way I can, and will help anyone who’s interested in learning more.

Join us in LA (Santa Monica) for two days of a BarCamp-style gathering of web creators building and sharing open web technologies to empower users to own their own identities & content, and advance the state of the #indieweb!

The IndieWeb movement is a global community that is building an open set of principles and methods that empower people to take back ownership of their identity and data instead of relying on 3rd party websites.

At IndieWebCamp you’ll learn about ways to empower yourself to own your data, create & publish content on your own site, and only optionally syndicate to third-party silos. Along the way you’ll get a solid grounding in the history and future of Microformats, domain ownership, IndieAuth, WebMention and more!

For remote participants, tune into the live chat (tons of realtime notes!) and the video livestream (URL TBD).

General IndieWeb Principles

icon 4611.png Your content is yours
When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.
icon 31635.png You are better connected
Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.
icon 2003.png You are in control
You can post anything you want, in any format you want, with no one monitoring you. In addition, you share simple readable links such as example.com/ideas. These links are permanent and will always work.

 Where

Pivotal
1333 2nd Street, Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA, 90401
United States
Map

When

Friday (optional): 2016-11-04
Saturday: 2016-11-05
Sunday: 2016-11-06

RSVP

Indie Event
Eventbrite
Lanyrd
Facebook

Guest List
For more details see: IndieWebCamp LA 2016

Tentative Schedule

Day 0 Prep Night

Day 0 is an optional prep night for people that want to button up their website a little bit to get ready for the IndieWebCamp proper.
18:30 Organizer setup
19:00 Doors open
19:15 Introductions
19:30 Build session
22:00 Day 0 closed

Day 1 Discussion

Day 1 is about discussing in a BarCamp-like environment. Bring a topic you’d like to discuss or join in on topics as they are added to the board. We make the schedule together!
08:00 Organizer setup
08:30 Doors open – badges
09:15 Introductions and demos
10:00 Session scheduling
10:30 Sessions
12:00 Group photo & Lunch
13:00 Sessions on the hour
16:00 Last session
17:00 Day 1 closing session, break, meetup later for dinner

Day 2 Building

Day 2 is about making things on and for your personal site! Work with others or on your own.
09:30 Doors open – badges
10:10 Day 2 kick-off, session scheduling
10:30 Build sessions
12:00 Catered lunch
14:30 Build sessions continue
15:00 Demos
16:30 Community clean-up
17:00 Camp closed!

Sponsorship opportunities are available for those interested.

im-attending-indiewebcamp

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IndieWeb “Press This” Bookmarklet for WordPress

IndieWeb press this by Matthias PfefferleMatthias Pfefferle (GitHub)

I’m not sure why I didn’t upgrade this ages ago when I saw it mentioned (probably because of the manual nature of the upgrade and the fact that I don’t think it’s bundled into the IndieWeb plugin for WordPress), but here we go. And this is the first post actually using the bookmarklet.

IndieWeb press this

One big IndieWeb raison d’être is using your own web site to reply, like, repost, and RSVP to posts and events. You do this by annotating links on your site with simple microformats2 HTML.

Having said that, most people don’t want to write HTML just to like or reply to something. WordPress’s Press This bookmarklets can already start a new post with a link to the page you’re currently viewing. This code adds IndieWeb microformats2 markup to that link. Combined the wordpress-webmention plugin, you can use this to respond to the current page with just two clicks.

What’s more, if you’re currently on a Facebook post or Twitter tweet, this adds the Bridgy Publish link that will reply, like, favorite, retweet, or even RSVP inside those social networks.

Source: pfefferle/wordpress-indieweb-press-this: some IndieWeb magic for WordPress’ “press this” bookmarklet

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New Look for Boffo Socko

Boffo Socko has a whole new look...

For a while I’ve been contemplating a change in the look of the site, particularly given the changes in the internet for the past several years.

I generally wanted something that has the following attributes:

I’m sure there will be some hiccups and problems in the transition, but I hope to get these ironed out shortly. If you notice something bothersome, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

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BoffoSocko.com Now Supports Fragmentions!

A fragmention is an extension to URL syntax that links and cites a phrase within a document by using a URL fragment consisting of the phrase itself, including whitespace.

I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, but BoffoSocko.com now supports fragmentions.

“A fragmention is an extension to URL syntax that links and cites a phrase within a document by using a URL fragment consisting of the phrase itself, including whitespace.”

IndieWebCamp.com

 

Proposed Fragmention Icon
Proposed Fragmention Icon

To take advantage of the functionality, append a # and the text you’d like to highlight on the particular page after the address of the particular web page. Add a + to indicate whitespaces if necessary, though typically including a single, unique keyword is typically sufficient to highlight the appropriate section.

Examplehttp://boffosocko.com/about/website-philosophy-structure/#I+try+to+follow 

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