👓 “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” | Paul Jacobson

Read “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
I’ve had an idea in my task list for a week or so now, and I just haven’t made the time to write about it, at least not as I originally intended when I read the post that inspired it. J…

Some ideas worth chewing on here. Paul almost uses the phrase “thought spaces” here and though he doesn’t, he’s certainly dancing around it.

👓 A Look at my Blogging in 2018 | Greg McVerry

Read A Look at my Blogging in 2018 by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com)
Inspired by Chris Aldrich's post on his 2018 review of blogging I decided to take a quick peak and see what my productivity looked like this past year. Overall I posted 4,449 times from my website. 2, 529 from my Known site (where I migrated to in December) and 1,920 times from my old WordPress sit...

👓 Why You Should Start A Blog In 2019 | Tedium

Read Why You Should Start A Blog In 2019 by Ernie SmithErnie Smith (Tedium)
The independent blog has been in decline for years. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s why you should start a blog in 2019—and host it yourself.

A great argument here for the IndieWeb, and his second in probably as many weeks. Even better, it sounds like he doesn’t yet know some of the cool new things that blogs are capable of doing now that they couldn’t do in 2006.

Reply to 5 CMS tools for indie bloggers | Indie Digital Media

Replied to 5 CMS tools for indie bloggers by Richard MacManus (Indie Digital Media)
This is a golden age for indie digital media creators, who have more content creation options than ever in 2019. In fact, there are arguably too many tools to chose from. That’s why I’m going to regularly examine the tools of digital media creation here on IDM - for everything…

I’ve primarily relied on WordPress.org for ages and have and have often used WithKnown, but I also have a few sites using Drupal. While I wouldn’t suggest non-technical folks using Drupal, whose technical requirements have rapidly been increasing over the past several years, I would recommend taking a look at a fantastic Drupal fork called BackDrop CMS.

While it still has a lot in common with Drupal, it has reconfigured the core to include some of the most commonly used and requested plugins and they’ve done their best to make it prettier and easier to use for hobby-ists and bloggers as well as small businesses and non-profits that don’t need all the additional overhead that Drupal brings. It’s also got a small but very dedicated community of developers and users.

I’ve also been hearing some great things about Craft CMS, which you highlight, as well as Perch by Rachel Andrew and Drew McLellan.

👓 5 CMS tools for indie bloggers | Indie Digital Media

Read 5 CMS tools for indie bloggers by Richard MacManus (Indie Digital Media)
This is a golden age for indie digital media creators, who have more content creation options than ever in 2019. In fact, there are arguably too many tools to chose from. That’s why I’m going to regularly examine the tools of digital media creation here on IDM - for everything…

👓 Tedium’s Ernie Smith: don’t rely on platforms | Indie Digital Media

Read Tedium’s Ernie Smith: don’t rely on platforms by Richard MacManus (Indie Digital Media)
My first creator profile for Indie Digital Media is especially resonant, because I’ve interviewed him before - for my previous blog ReadWriteWeb. In the more than seven years that have elapsed since that original profile, the opportunities, tools and revenue models for digital media have changed immensely. Nowadays, Ernie Smith…

Indie Digital Media by Richard MacManus

Followed Indie Digital Media by Richard MacManus (Indie Digital Media)

For creators & fans of independent digital media

A new blog by our friend Richard MacManus has not only hit the digital presses, but there are several posts up already. Like most of what he writes, this looks like it will also be required reading. I suspect it’ll also be of interest to the broader IndieWeb community as well.

Seeing this also reminds me to finish compiling a list I had started based on one of our conversations about topic-specific indie blogs.

👓 Words I wrote in 2018 | Adactio: Journal

Read Words I wrote in 2018 by Jeremy KeithJeremy Keith
I wrote just shy of a hundred blog posts in 2018. That’s an increase from 2017. I’m happy about that. Here are some posts that turned out okay…

I’m thinking I should sift through my 2018 and highlight a few things as well.

👓 E/N | sawv

Read E/N by jr (sawv)
The website's content means everything to the publisher, but it could mean nothing to the rest of the world. Back in the 1990s and maybe even in the early aughts, some websites were called E/N sites, which meant Everything and Nothing. E/N may have predated the term "weblog", which also began in the...

An interesting differentiation of type for a personal website. I like the ideas here and how they might contrast to both blogging and commonplace books.

👓 The power to publish as an individual | DaveNet

Read The power to publish as an individual by Dave Winer (scripting.com via DaveNet)
Weblogs: A new source of News

An awesome “old” and prescient post about blogging and journalism. It’s interesting to look at this through the modern lens of social media and IndieWeb. Of course this article was written at a time when IndieWeb was the only thing that existed.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

media organizations would do well to incorporate them [blogs] into their Web sites as an important new addition to the journalistic toolkit.  

December 21, 2018 at 08:09PM

Regular readers of Gillmor’s eJournal will recognize his commitment to user participation. “One of the things I’m sure about in journalism right now is that my readers know more than I do,” he says. “To the extent that I can take advantage of that in a way that does something for everyone involved ó that strikes me as pretty cool.”
One fascinating aspect of Gillmor’s Weblog is how he lifts the veil from the workings of the journalism profession. “There have been occasions where I put up a note saying, ‘I’m working on the following and here’s what I think I know,’ and the invitation is for the reader to either tell me I’m on the right track, I’m wrong, or at the very least help me find the missing pieces,” he says. “That’s a pretty interesting thing. Many thousands more people read my column in the newspaper than online, but I do hear back from a fair number of people from the Weblog.”  

Awesomely, this sounds almost exactly like something that David Fahrenthold would tell Jay Rosen about Twitter nearly 16 years later in an interview in The Correspondent.
My listen post

December 21, 2018 at 08:20PM

Anyone who’s dealt with networks knows that the network knows more than the individual.”  

December 22, 2018 at 09:15AM

Man, this is a beast that’s hungry all the time.”  

Mind you he’s saying this in 2001 before the creation of more wide spread social networks.

December 22, 2018 at 09:18AM

While many blogs get dozens or hundreds of visitors, Searls’ site attracts thousands. “I partly don’t want to care what the number is,” he says. “I used to work in broadcasting, where everyone was obsessed by that. I don’t want an audience. I feel I’m writing stuff that’s part of a conversation. Conversations don’t have audiences.”  

Social media has completely ignored this sort of sentiment and gamified and psychoanalyzed its way into the polar opposite direction all for the sake of “engagement”, clicks, data gathering, and advertising.

December 22, 2018 at 09:22AM

“The blog serves as a kind of steam valve for me,” he says. “I put stuff out there that I’m forming an opinion about, and another blogger starts arguing with me and giving me feedback, and I haven’t even finished what I was posting!”  

An early written incarnation of the idea of blogs as “thought spaces”.

December 22, 2018 at 09:24AM

The Weblog community is basically a whole bunch of expert witnesses who increase their expertise constantly through a sort of reputation engine.”  

The trouble is how is this “reputation engine” built? What metrics does it include? Can it be gamed? Social media has gotten lots of this wrong and it has caused problems.

December 22, 2018 at 09:28AM

His dream is to put a live Web server with easy-to-edit pages on every person’s desktop, then connect them all in a robust network that feeds off itself and informs other media.  

An early statement of what would eventually become all of social media.

December 22, 2018 at 09:31AM

He suggests that struggling sites like Salon begin broadening their content offerings by hosting user-created Weblogs, creating a sort of farm system for essayists. “Salon could highlight the best ones on page one and invest time and effort in the ones that are inspiring and exceptional.”  

This is a rough sketch of something I’ve been thinking that newspapers and media outlets should have been doing all along. If they “owned” social media, we might all be in a better place socially and journalistic-ally than if advertising driven social media owned it all.

December 22, 2018 at 09:35AM

Indeed, Winer says his most gratifying moments come when he posts an entry without running the idea by his colleagues first. “It can be a very scary moment when you take a stand on something and you don’t know if your argument holds together and you hit the send button and it’s out there and you can’t take it back. That’s a moment that professional journalists may never experience in their careers, the feeling that it’s just me, exposed to the world. That’s a pretty powerful rush, the power to publish as an individual.”  

December 22, 2018 at 09:36AM

👓 Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? | Study Hacks – Cal Newport

Replied to Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

As a public critic of social media, I’m often asked if my concerns extend to YouTube. This is a tricky question.

As I’ve written, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram didn’t offer something fundamentally different than the world wide web that preceded them. Their main contribution was to make this style of online life more accessible and convenient.

I suspect that people have generally been exploring some of this already, particularly with embedding. The difficult part on moving past YouTube, Vimeo, et al. with streaming or even simple embedding is that video on the web is a big engineering problem not to mention a major bandwidth issue for self-hosters. I’ve seen scions like Kevin Marks indicate in the past that they’d put almost any type of content on their own websites natively but video. Even coding a JavaScript player on one’s site is prohibitively difficult and rarely do major corporate players in the video content space bother to do this themselves. Thus, until something drastic happens, embedding video may be the only sensible way to go.

As an interesting aside, I’ll note that just a few months ago that YouTube allowed people to do embeds with several options, but they’re recently removed the option to prevent their player from recommending additional videos once you’re done. Thus the embedding site is still co-opted to some extent by YouTube and their vexing algorithmic recommendations.

In a similar vein audio is also an issue, but at least an easier and much lower bandwidth one. I’ve been running some experiments lately on my own website by posting what I’m listening to on a regular basis as a “faux-cast” and embedding the original audio. I’ve also been doing it pointedly as a means of helping others discover good content, because in some sense I can say I love the most recent NPR podcast or click like on it somewhere, but I’m definitely sure that doesn’t have as much weight or value as my tacitly saying, “I’ve actually put my time and attention on the line and actually listened to this particular episode.” I think having and indicating skin-in-the-game can make a tremendous difference in these areas. In a similar vein, sites like Twitter don’t really have a good bookmarking feature, so readers don’t know if the sharing user actually read any of an article or if it was just the headline. Posting these things separately on my own site as either reads or bookmarks allows me to differentiate between the two specifically and semantically, both for others’ benefit as well as, and possibly most importantly, for my own (future self).

👓 On Blogs in the Social Media Age | Cal Newport

Read On Blogs in the Social Media Age by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

Earlier this week, Glenn Reynolds, known online as Instapundit, published an op-ed inUSA Today about why he recently quit Twitter. He didn’t hold back, writing:

“[I]f you set out to design a platform that would poison America’s discourse and its politics, you’d be hard pressed to come up with something more destructive than Twitter.”

What really caught my attention, however, is when Reynolds begins discussing the advantages of the blogosphere as compared to walled garden social media platforms.

He notes that blogs represent a loosely coupled system, where the friction of posting and linking slows down the discourse enough to preserve context and prevent the runaway reactions that are possible in tightly coupled systems like Twitter, where a tweet can be retweeted, then retweeted again and again, forming an exponential explosion of pure reactive id.

As a longtime blogger myself, Reynolds’s op-ed got me thinking about other differences between social media and the blogosphere…

Cal has some interesting thoughts on blogging versus social media which I’ve been seeing more and more about in the past several months. In addition to the major efforts by the people taking up the IndieWeb philosophies (of which I recognize several people in the comments section on the post, though they all appear as pingbacks because Cal apparently doesn’t yet support the prettier webmention specification), I’ve been seeing more people I don’t know directly talking about these ideas in the wild. I’ve only recently begun to tag some of these occurrences on my site with the tags slow social and blogosphere revival though many other examples are assuredly hiding untagged this year and last.

He almost lays out an interesting thesis for the idea of “slow social” which is roughly something I’ve been practicing for nearly 4+ years. While I maintain my personal website mostly for my own benefit as an online commonplace book, I also use it as a place to post first everything I write on the web and only then syndicate it to social media sites. The little extra bit of friction keeps my reposts, likes, and other related micro-posts (or is it micro-aggressions?) to a relative minimum compared to the past.

I’ve also noticed a lot more intentionality and value coming out of people who are writing their own posts and replies on their personal websites first. Because it appears on a site they own and which is part of their online identity, they’re far more careful about what and how they write. Their words are no longer throw-away commentary for the benefit of a relatively unseen audience that comes and goes in a rushing stream of content on someone else’s social site.

I hope this blogging renaissance continues apace. It also doesn’t escape my notice that I’m serendipitously reading this article right after having seen New Clues by David Weinberger and Doc Searls

👓 Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream | Brad Enslen

Read Blog Engines and Indieweb Controlling Upstream by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)

All this WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg stuff got me thinking.  With WordPress it seems like the Indieweb starts making serious and cool progress and the WordPress people come along and knock the game board and pieces off the table.  And it sounds like the disruption from WordPress is going to continue for a couple of years.

Why not take a page out of Apple’s playbook and take control higher up in the food chain? Why not come out with an Indieweb compatible blog engine of our own?  Either fork an existing open source project or build new?  This does not mean you have to make it exclusive but make it the way the Indieweb wants the Indieweb elven magic to function.  Also put in the standard blogging features most people expect.  Why keep trying to adapt the Indieweb stuff to blog or CMS platforms that are at best indifferent, never designed for or just that don’t want to play ball?

This isn’t a slam on the coders who are working so hard to make everything work on WordPress, I’m just asking if maybe it’s not time to find better terrain to fight from.

If the Indieweb really wants widespread adoption they need to come out with a turnkey solution.  It would act as a solution for many and a proof of concept for others to emulate. Something that can be put in hosting C-panels for one touch install. Something that just works, is easy to move to and move away from. Something supported, active, growing with enough polish that it inspires confidence in the user.

I’d really like to hear serious discussion on this.

👓 A Look at Known: social publishing and Indieweb | Brad Enslen

Read A Look at Known: social publishing and Indieweb by Brad Brad (Brad Enslen)
Publish blog posts, photos and media to your own site, and syndicate it to your social networks. Keep everything on your own site. Source: Known: social publishing for groups and individuals I’m looking at Known this morning.  The website has that Silicon Valley – Apple vibe to it – lots of s...

👓 Can blogs rebuild America? | Parent Hacks | Asha Dornfest

Replied to Can blogs rebuild America? by Asha DornfestAsha Dornfest (Parent Hacks)

Our blogs and the gathering spaces they created changed our world. I think we're in a moment when we can do that again.

Back in the early 2000s, we started blogs, and started talking to each other, and became friends. REAL friends. We had no idea our individual, independent contributions would link up to create a movement that revolutionized media, marketing, and the national conversation (in my case, about parenting, but on other topics, too). [Shoutout to all the conference/summit organizers who created the in-person space to cement these friendships.]

Remember what the media landscape was like back then? Traditional publishing and media was closed to most, so very few people had access to an audience. We were part of changing that. It wasn’t “influence” or “personal branding” back then, it began as community.

I have personally been been doing something similar to this for several years now, so I’m obviously a big fan of this idea. My website is my social media presence and everything I post online starts on my own website first (including this reply).

I’m excited to see so many people in the comments are into the idea as well, but it seems like several are having problems knowing where to get started or where to go. I’d suggest many spend some time to check out IndieWeb.org and the resources not only on their wiki, but within their online chat. There are a lot of us out here who have experience doing just this and can help kickstart the process, not to mention we’ve built up a huge wiki with details, tools, and processes to help others out.

Asha, if you’re game, perhaps we could set up some video chat time to help folks out?

The best part is that the old school blogosphere has been growing again and adding some cool new functionalities that make having and using a personal website a lot more fun, useful, and even simpler. Let me know how I might be of help.