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How to Live the IndieWeb Dream

I’ve posted this in a threaded conversation hidden away on my own website, but it really needs to be highlighted as its own post, so I’m putting another copy of it here for discoverability. Thanks Chris (@fncll@social.coop)  for your kind compliment. I’d welcome you and anyone else to come join me. There are a bunch of us out here who are ready, willing, and able to help!

 

a comment by Chris LottChris Lott (from BoffoSocko.com (Comments))

I feel like I’ve been here before, looking at this site and feeling like that Chris is living the federated dream…all your posts, articles, annotations, quotes, etc. truly having a single home “here,” including hypothes.is annotations, whatever. I also feel like I’ve been here wondering where to start?
It’s overwhelming. I’m relatively tech-literate, I have decent WordPress chops, do some minor coding and hacking, but find myself in the rare position of needing a guide, not necessarily for Dummies, but close, to get started traveling through the Fediverse. Is there such a thing?


My reply:

“There’s only one way to eat a whale: ‘one bite at a time’.”
—Anonymous

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.

Published by

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 “How to Live the IndieWeb Dream”

  1. @chrisaldrich I set this up to focus on writing more and better and publicly. Doing indieweb hacking counts, right? I’m going to focus on the writing for now, but I am also going to bookmark this and set a reminder to come back to in a month.

  2. @chrisaldrich Chris you are definitely winning centralising all content from BoffoSocko.com mothership.

    My only thought is: it puts a lot of pressure on that single domain name. I’d have thought something involving your name might be fitting for that. I’d love to understand better the naming choice?!

  3. @warner There’s certainly no reason one couldn’t have dozens of domains for multiple things, however I find that it’s far easier to search one location than many. A big part of my domain name choice is that my name was taken in several popular top level domain choices. I’ve documented some of the rest of the particular details here: The Story of My Domain

  4. @chrisaldrich ha thought you might have a boffosocko link to explain 😉
    Shoulda guessed Hollywood slang. You might get a kick out of “Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Film Set” by Tony Bill I reviewed in this vlog while I was out there. Wonder if they’re in there!

    Thanks for shouting out my Cerulean link shorterner btw. My personal one is arguably even wittier, and is probably more in line with your single-home philosophy as it’s a subdomain: Shrt.rner.me

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