Fifteen: A Call to Action—Start your Own Digital Commonplace Book Today

Start your own digital commonplace today! There are some platforms mentioned above, but none of them have the flexibility and adaptability that WordPress provides. I’d love to see how others are doing this and what it allows them to create.


Thanks for coming to my presentation!

Feel free to ask questions about any of the notes here on my website or from any of the Tweets. Comments on the Tweets will ping my site (using as mentioned), and I’ll be able to reply directly from my commonplace book. You can also use Webmentions from your website and then our sites/commonplace books can carry on a conversation of ideas.

If you’d like, feel free to explore my commonplace book (or at least the public portions—I post a lot of work privately). You can find today’s presentation and all the other things I collect under the label for the conference at #HeyPresstoConf20.

Did you present today and want to own a copy of your presentation on your own website? Take a look at some notes I made about using ThreadReaderApp to roll up all your tweets and publish them to your site using Micropub, which I mentioned earlier in this presentation.

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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.

19 thoughts on “”

    1. All sites should have a colophon for that, right? I also keep a separate IndieWeb collection with some details about usage and functionality too.

      Syndicated copies:

  1. With your Commonplace Book and IndieWeb we gather all content from many social media sites onto our own homepage.

    Do you know of anyone doing this for groups rather than one person? Say a homepage networking people working on a topic (e.g. climate change) in a city (e.g. Bonn).

    1. Wikis are essentially this, but aren’t often thought of as such. Example: Wikipedia with talk pages are roughly this but on a broader scale. I’m not aware of many truly collaborative commonplace books which might allow for networked thinking this way. There are a few silo examples I can think of like @observablehq which are collaborative digital notebooks. @AREdotNA will allow something like this as well.

      The internet is sort of what you’re looking for too. The interactivity, distillation, and UI is missing/broken in places and not well distributed yet. It would be great if there were more crosslinking/backlinking visible, perhaps the Webmention spec and display of backlinks across the web would make this more apparent.

      The best example I can think of on a particular scale is what the IndieWeb community is doing on their own individual websites, in combination with a chat channel, newsletter, news hub, and collaborative documentation with the best pieces showing up distilled into something more coherent on their wiki. Their multi-modal platforms allow small-scale conversation, experimentation, collaboration, and larger scale aggregation.

      I leverage a bit of this with my own site which collects copies of everything I post to the IndieWeb wiki (via PESOS using IFTTT->webhook->Micropub). I also get notifications from the wiki via the same process when anyone edits a page on which I’m mentioned. In this case I actively am using my commonplace book to talk with the IndieWeb’s commonplace book (a wiki), which incidentally has Webmentions though they’re not being displayed (yet).

      There are a few Reddit-like community aggregation hubs that use Webmention for potential conversation/cross collaboration/discovery. These include:
      But they’re not being used as heavily for the networking directly in their place, but between websites run individually.

      @CJEller3 has an interesting and clever smaller-scale example I saw recently: Scaling his idea up into a broader community would be interesting.

      I suppose that there’s no reason that one couldn’t have a multiuser CMS platform (WordPress MU?) that did this for people individually as well as for allowing a broader community. Greg McVerry and I have batted the idea of having either newspapers/magazines or public libraries host IndieWeb-as-a-Service platforms for their communities.

      Your question is a good one; I’m hoping we’ll get there eventually.

      Syndicated copies:

      1. I’m still waiting for people running forum software (like Discourse) to add IndieWeb friendly capabilities to make this space a bit more collaborative for conversations. After the conversation, the best portions could be distilled into a wiki-like experience. I’d love to be able to post on my website, webmention a forum to have my post appear there, and then get notifications via Webmention on that thread back from it. The closest thing to this that I’m aware of is Lobsters, which will let me post to it (manually), replies to my post (which contain my URLS) will get webmentions sent back automatically.

        Syndicated copies:

        1. Such tools would also be important.

          What I was thinking off were tools to display information from Twitter, Mastodon, blogs, Facebook, Insta, mail, etc. on one homepage (best also distribute again), so that people do not have to check all silos to be up to date.

  2. Thanks for your extensive answer. (Had almost missed it seeing the short version on Twitter and initially not recognizing the importance of the link at the end.)

    Yes, a group effort would require the group also deciding what is important. I guess that is the main difference with personal IndieWeb homepages. Curation, categorization, prioritization.

    Something Reddit-like or newspaper-like would be needed. I guess we have the technology, but we would need a design to make it work.

    1. Victor, If I’m understanding your last portion properly, there’s already Reddit-like aggregation hubs like IndieWeb News and that allow you to cross-post to them using the idea of Webmention.

      It would definitely be awesome to see other incarnations of these sorts of discovery related platforms. Pre-print servers could certainly work like this and allow people to post their research on their own websites and syndicate copies to hubs where others could discover and read it as well as comment back onto the original. They could also serve as archives of work if/when the original might disappear from the web to improve longevity.

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