My IndieWebCamp Austin 2020 Project: The Who, What, Why, How, When, Where of IndieWeb

Yesterday, the ever-thoughtful Jean MacDonald led a conversational session at IndieWebCamp Austin on Explaining the IndieWeb (video of the session).

The session highlights one of the communities’ ongoing struggles is to help to define itself simply to a tremendously large group of people from different backgrounds and wealths of experiences. The community has build a massive Wiki of resources, tools, ideas, definitions, and brainstorming that can at times seem impenetrable to the newcomer. Simplifying and breaking things down into smaller constituent parts may be a helpful exercise.

Toward that end, as another potential entry-point to the community, I’ve created a page called IndieWeb Questions that aggregates and attempts to quickly answer the common Who, What, Why, How, When, Where questions about the IndieWeb and provide a range of low-level jumping off points to highlight further information, before attempting to provide more specific technical information.

I’d like to invite those who participated in the session yesterday, others in the community, and especially those who may be new to the community to contribute to the page or point out parts that they may find difficult to understand or confusing. If you can’t log into the wiki to do so (yet), feel free to join the chat and add your commentary there or post on your site of choice.

I’d also specifically challenge people to write essays (preferably on their own sites) about what the IndieWeb is to them, how they define it personally, and what they’d like to see in the future and post it in the Articles section of this new page. A diversity of perspectives here may be helpful in welcoming the broadest diversity of people into the community in the future.

As ever, I expect the idea of IndieWeb to mean something slightly different to everyone the same way that they’ll approach it with different technical abilities and personal preferences. Hopefully in the end, the playing field will level out for everyone and we’ll all just think of it as “using and being on the web”.


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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

9 thoughts on “My IndieWebCamp Austin 2020 Project: The Who, What, Why, How, When, Where of IndieWeb”

  1. Ton Zijlstra says:

    Useful work. I’d suggest to change the order, and start with the why, then how, and what.
    There’s no need to define the IndieWeb first, I think. Talking to non-tech inclined people, I feel IW gets better reception and responses when it starts with people’s concerns and wishes first. Once those are clear, then spending effort to do it differently is less daunting.

    Last year someone remarked to me that an event I organised was a BarCamp without me ever using the term. Which was correct, and on purpose. During the event I focused on the facilitation and process, adding the jargon would have been out of place and have no particular effect on the proceedings. Afterwards when a participant asked me about the process I explained about BarCamps, and Open Space and how precisely I had made a mix of both formats for the event.

    My sense is when explaining IndieWeb using the term IndieWeb from the start is likely a distraction in a similar way.

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