Replied to Indie Communities and Making Your Audience Known by Ben WerdmüllerBen Werdmüller (Ben Werdmüller)

It sounds ludicrous now, but back in 2014, when I cofounded Known as a startup, a lot of people were questioning whether a business even needed a website. Pockets of people - for example in the indieweb community, which I enthusiastically joined - were pointing out how short-sighted this was, but it was a minority opinion. There was Facebook and Twitter! Why would you want to have any kind of property that you fully controlled on the internet?

Fast forward to today, and... 

As I read this, there are some underlying ideas that again make me think that newspapers, magazines, and other journalistic outlets should pick up the mantle of social media and help their readers (aka community) by providing them with websites that they can control and use to interact. Many newspapers and other outlets are already building their own CMSes and even licensening them out to other papers, why not take the next step and build a platform that can host and manage websites for individual users? They’ve got most of the infrastructure there already? Why not tack on a few simple things that allow their users to better interact with them on the open web. It solves their ownership issues as well as their reliance on social media silos and could even provide a nice, modest income stream (or even a bonus that comes along with one’s subscription?)

Perhaps Kinja wasn’t a bad idea for a CMS cum commenting system, it just wasn’t open web enough?

5 thoughts on “”

  1. I think this is exactly spot on, and I see two societal pillars that can support these kinds of small communities: journalism and academia. Particularly in support of local or niche journalism, smaller communities can actually provide support and better reporting. And for academia, discussion is clearly a core part of learning.

    I don’t think existing startups can provide the infrastructure that’s required here. I’m a bit jaded about open source at this point, too, but giving these institutions the building blocks is going to be important.

    And the biggest thing of all: better hosting that actually makes all of this much easier than it currently is.

  2. I think this is exactly spot on, and I see two societal pillars that can support these kinds of small communities: journalism and academia. Particularly in support of local or niche journalism, smaller communities can actually provide support and better reporting. And for academia, discussion is clearly a core part of learning.

    I don’t think existing startups can provide the infrastructure that’s required here. I’m a bit jaded about open source at this point, too, but giving these institutions the building blocks is going to be important.

    And the biggest thing of all: better hosting that actually makes all of this much easier than it currently is.

  3. I think this is exactly spot on, and I see two societal pillars that can support these kinds of small communities: journalism and academia. Particularly in support of local or niche journalism, smaller communities can actually provide support and better reporting. And for academia, discussion is clearly a core part of learning.

    I don’t think existing startups can provide the infrastructure that’s required here. I’m a bit jaded about open source at this point, too, but giving these institutions the building blocks is going to be important.

    And the biggest thing of all: better hosting that actually makes all of this much easier than it currently is.

  4. I think this is exactly spot on, and I see two societal pillars that can support these kinds of small communities: journalism and academia. Particularly in support of local or niche journalism, smaller communities can actually provide support and better reporting. And for academia, discussion is clearly a core part of learning.

    I don’t think existing startups can provide the infrastructure that’s required here. I’m a bit jaded about open source at this point, too, but giving these institutions the building blocks is going to be important.

    And the biggest thing of all: better hosting that actually makes all of this much easier than it currently is.

  5. I think this is exactly spot on, and I see two societal pillars that can support these kinds of small communities: journalism and academia. Particularly in support of local or niche journalism, smaller communities can actually provide support and better reporting. And for academia, discussion is clearly a core part of learning.

    I don’t think existing startups can provide the infrastructure that’s required here. I’m a bit jaded about open source at this point, too, but giving these institutions the building blocks is going to be important.

    And the biggest thing of all: better hosting that actually makes all of this much easier than it currently is.

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