Bore da. Chris dw i. Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg. 🏴 #ymarfer
But first, figuring out how to work this into my practice…
Bore da. Chris dw i. Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg. 🏴 #ymarfer
But first, figuring out how to work this into my practice…
“There’s only one way to eat a whale: ‘one bite at a time’.”
I’ll tell you the secret: I’ve been working on this site and learning from it slowly but surely since around 2005. Things saw an uptick in 2008 when I moved it over to this domain and there was another uptick around 2015ish when I found and joined the IndieWeb community. That has made all the difference.
Since then I’ve been slowly playing and experimenting to build the home online that I’ve always wanted. Having a community around me like IndieWeb.org has helped me immeasurably. It’s great having others around who come up with interesting ideas, write code I can borrow, provide a sounding board for ideas, can tell me about the pitfalls and traps I’d have never expected.
I started off as many did in the old blogosphere days by looking at what others had on their websites and trying to puzzle together how I could have it for myself. Then I made an ordered list of what sorts of functionalities, design, and layout I wanted to have. I did some research on plugins and methods until I could get each part roughly the way I wanted it. Each step along the way I was able to get the help and support I needed from the IndieWeb, Domain of One’s Own, and other communities and friends. Slowly but surely over time, I’ve been able to slowly tweak and refine things so that they work the way I’d like them to.
I was also able to provide my thoughts and feedback both on what worked and didn’t for me personally which I think has helped refine some of the code and plugins I’ve borrowed. I’ve also tried to document how I did many things (both on the IndieWeb wiki and on my own website), so that folks who find intriguing pieces can more easily have it for themselves. In many years of doing this, nothing warms my cockles more than to see others use the same paths I’ve walked, borrow functionality or documentation, and even—in some cases—completely copy entire pages of text from my website.
I’m far from done, but it’s been an entertaining, engaging, and incredibly fun hobby. Over time it has slowly turned into something. Even better, along the way, I’ve been able to not only save my memories for myself, document how things work, but I’ve made lots of friends and had a great time doing it.
Another not-so-secret, I do a lot of tinkering, and only know enough code to break things, but haven’t really built or written large amounts of code for myself, so if I can do it, I’m sure that with some help others certainly can too. I’ve seen some of the most creative, highly paid, and busy web designers, developers, and engineers on the planet take newcomers aside and show them how to register a domain name and write HTML from scratch. Our collective goal is to allow anyone to be able to do what we’re doing.
Given what it looks like you’ve already got Chris, you’re most of the way there and have a more solid base than when I started out. If you’re game, I’m happy to help and provide other advice about particular pieces based on my experience. My first recommendation is that you, or anyone else for that matter, pop over to chat.indieweb.org and introduce yourself. Then take a look at their Wikifying page, and work your way through it. In particular start thinking about this part: Write down your “dreams”. Once you’ve got a list of things you’d like your site to do, start searching the wiki, looking at sites, and asking questions in chat.
(For others who aren’t as far along as Chris, maybe think about what domain name you’d like to use for your website and start asking questions in chat. We’ll try to help you get what you’d like to have—there are millions of options and routes you can take.)
You’ll find lots of friendly, welcoming help because you’re definitely not alone.
This makes me want to use and syndicate to it more often.
Here’s to more positive growth to a healthier and happier online social experience.
Where is the IndieWeb?
One might consider the IndieWeb’s indieweb.org wiki-based website and chat the “logos” of IndieWeb. There is a small group of about a hundred active to very active participants who hang out in these spaces on a regular basis, but there are also many who dip in and out over time as they tinker and build, ask advice, get some help, or just to show up and say hello. Because there are concrete places online as well as off (events) for them to congregate, meet, and interact, it’s the most obvious place to find these ideas and people.
Beyond this there is an even larger group of people online who represent the “ethos” of IndieWeb. Some may have heard the word before, some have a passing knowledge of it, but an even larger number have not. They all act and operate in a way that either seemed natural to them because they grew up in the period of the open web, or because they never felt accepted by the thundering herds in the corporate social enclosures. Many are not necessarily easily found or discovered because they’re not surfaced or highlighted by the sinister algorithms of corporate social media, but through slow and steady work (much like the in person social space) they find each other and interact in various traditional web spaces. Many of them can be found in spaces like Micro.Blog, Tilde Club or NeoCities, or through movements like A Domain of One’s Own. Some can be found through a variety of webrings, via blogrolls, or just following someone’s website and slowly seeing the community of people who stop by and comment. Yes, these discovery methods may involve a little more work, but shouldn’t healthy human interactions require work and care?
The final group of people, and likely the largest within the community, are those that represent the “pathos” of IndieWeb. The word IndieWeb has not registered with any of them and they suffer with grief in the long shadow of corporate social media wishing they had better user interfaces, better features, different interaction, more meaningful interaction, healthier and kinder interaction. Some may have even been so steeped in big social for so long that they don’t realize that there is another way of being or knowing.
These people may be found searching for the IndieWeb promised land on silo platforms like Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, or Medium where they have the shadow on the wall of a home on the web where they can place their identities and thoughts. Here they’re a bit more safe from the acceleration of algorithmically fed content and ills of mainstream social. Others are trapped within massive content farms run by multi-billion dollar extractive companies who quietly but steadily exploit their interactions with friends and family.
All three of these parts of the IndieWeb, the logos, the ethos, and the pathos comprise the community of humanity. They are the sum of the real conversation online.
Venture capital backed corporate social media has cleverly inserted themselves between us and our interactions with each other. They privilege some voices not only over others, but often at the expense of others and only to their benefit. We have been developing a new vocabulary for these actions with phrases like “surveillance capitalism”, “data mining”, and analogizing human data as the new “oil” of the 21st century. The IndieWeb is attempting to remove these barriers, many of them complicated, but not insurmountable, technical ones, so that we can have a healthier set of direct interactions with one another that more closely mirrors our in person interactions. By having choice and the ability to move between a larger number of service providers there is an increasing pressure to provide service rather than the growing levels of continued abuse and monopoly we’ve become accustomed to.
None of these subdivisions—logos, ethos, or pathos—is better or worse than the others, they just are. There is no hierarchy between or among them just as there should be no hierarchy between fellow humans. But by existing, I think one could argue that through their humanity these people are all slowly, but surely making the web a healthier, happier, fun, and more humanized and humanizing place to be.
I’d appreciate others’ thoughts and perspectives on this regardless of where they choose to post them.
One of its benefits is to help WordPress sites show up in Fediverse databases like https://the-federation.info/wordpress, which should also give you a broader listing of the (currently 405 nodes with 9273 users) WordPress instances in the Fediverse for advertising on your site.
I think the biggest thing I’ve added to my website this past year was the ability to post to it with pen and paper. I wonder what sort of functionality the 8th year will bring? Pottery is apparently the “traditional gift”, so perhaps posting via clay with cuneiform as someone joked might actually come to fruition? I’m off to fire up the kiln…
Chris Aldrichto make some Indieweb memes.
The minute we saw Aaron's frantic, hand-lettered presentation of the Field Notes credo we knew just what to do. And here it is. In December, when Field Notes co-founder Aaron Draplin hijacked our site to sell pre-orders of his totally amazing Leap of Faith Edition 3-Packs, we went along with it. TBH, we’ve learned over the years that once Aaron gets fixed on an idea, there’s pretty much no stopping him. However, when he sent us the artwork for the Memo Books, we decided to do little hijacking of our own. The minute we saw his frantic, hand-lettered presentation of the Field Notes credo — “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now” — we knew just what to do. And here it is.
Other popular terms for such a system include Zettelkasten (meaning “slipbox” in German, coined by influential sociologist Niklas Luhmann), Memex (a word invented by American inventor Vannevar Bush), and digital garden (named by popular online creator Anne-Laure Le Cunff)
Please know that the zettelkasten and its traditions existed prior to Niklas Luhmann. He neither invented them nor coined their name. It’s a commonly repeated myth on the internet that he did and there’s ample evidence of their extensive use prior to his well known example. I’ve documented some brief history on Wikipedia to this effect should you need it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten
The earliest concept of a digital garden stems from Mark Bernstein’s essay Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas in 1998. This torch was picked up by academic Mike Caulfield in a 2015 keynote/article The Garden and The Stream: A Technopastoral.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff’s first mention of “digital garden” was on April 21, 2020
Progress on my digital garden / evergreen notebook inspired by @andy_matuschak🌱
— Anne-Laure Le Cunff (@anthilemoon) April 22, 2020
Which occurred just after Maggie Appleton’s mention on 2020-04-15
Nerding hard on digital gardens, personal wikis, and experimental knowledge systems with @_jonesian today.
We have an epic collection going, check these out…
— Maggie Appleton 🧭 (@Mappletons) April 15, 2020
And several days after Justin Tadlock’s article on 2020-04-17
He was predated by Tom Critchlow on 2018-10-18 who credits Mike Caulfield’s article from 2015-10-17 as an influence.
Archive.org has versions of the phrase going back into the early 2000’s: https://web.archive.org/web/*/%22digital%20garden%22
Hopefully you’re able to make the edits prior to publication, or at least in an available errata.