Do people even read blogs anymore?
— Sarah Parmenter (@sazzy) January 24, 2020
I’m thinking about giving up tweeting for one week, and instead write out all my thoughts and reactions on my blog. So far this year, I’ve been having a lot of fun blogging more. In the past decade when I have an idea, I would head to Twitter and blurt it out. Now, writing out …
Since he doesn’t support Webmentions yet, I’m manually syndicating my reply to his website in support of his efforts.
It takes a bit more work to learn all of the tools and what is available when you can install many kinds of web sites and web-based apps and manage access to them. But as owner of your own domain, you get to fully control your footprint on the web.
If this has a ring of interest to you, this summer we revive last year’s summer Domain Camp, a set of activities and support areas to help you learn what you can do inside the big cpanel of possibilities (that’s your domain dashboard).
Each week we will include an intro video, a set of activities to do inside your domain, open office hours, and community spaces to ask and answer questions.
We are setting up camp again to start the week of June 11, 2019. Are you interested? If so, please sign up and let us know (or see form at bottom).
If participants would like to use it, I’d welcome them to the wealth of additional resources on the IndieWeb wiki as well as an open and friendly online chat where one can find lots of help and advice as you work to make your domain your own.
☛ How did let our beautiful WWW turn into a garbage fire of lies, hate, and privacy violations? I have some thoughts.
— zeldman (@zeldman) April 11, 2019
If you’re personally using WordPress as a possible solution to those problems, I’m happy to help point to some quicker ways for people to rapidly implement them without struggling as much as many others have along the way.
(If WordPress isn’t your thing, the wiki has a plethora of other pathways depending on your CMS or programming language of choice–just search. It is abundantly clear that no single CMS is going to dig us out of the hole.)
I’ve written about and documented how I’ve gotten a lot of IndieWeb related technologies running on my own website. In many cases, these solutions are simple plugin downloads and activations, though it helps to have an idea of what they all do and how they may help.
I was particularly impressed with Brent Simmons’ post yesterday explaining how he was using his particular talents to further the cause. Though some may feel overwhelmed at the apparent size and scope of the problem, many diverse hands chipping away at small pieces can help to make a major dent in the problem.
Jen Simmons has indicated a useful paradigm structured around making resolutions with simple concrete steps and deadlines.
Improve an existing site. Start a new one. Burn one down & start over. It’s up to you.
— Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) December 20, 2017
I have no doubt that even if you’re not a developer or programmer that you can help. If you’re not sure, ask me or others how.
I hope you’ll join us. Let’s roll up our sleeves and #LetsFixThis.
The return of Web 1.0
Not all hour-long podcasts are worthwhile, but I found this one by The Atlantic’s Matt Thompson and Alexis Madrigal to be pretty compelling. The subject: how to fix social media, or rather, how to create a variation on social media that allows you to properly pose the question as to whether or not it can be fixed. For both Matt and Alexis, social media (and in particular, Twitter) is not especially usable or desirable in the form in which it presents itself. Both Matt and Alexis have shaped and truncated their Twitter experience. In Alexis’s case, this means going read-only, not posting tweets any more, and just using Twitter as an algorithmic feed reader by way of Nuzzel, catching the links his friends are discussing, and in some cases, the tweets they’re posting about those links. Matt is doing something slightly different: calling on his friends not to like to retweet his ordinary Twitter posts, but to reply to his tweets in an attempt to start a conversation.
Social-media platforms once promised to connect the world. Today’s digital communities, though, often feel like forces for disunity. Anger and discord in 2018 seemed only amplified by the social-media institutions that now dictate our conversations. Executive Editor Matt Thompson sits down with the staff writer Alexis Madrigal to find out how we got to this state, and whether we can do anything to change it.
Discussion topics include: why our online problems are really offline ones, what these platforms have lost in pursuit of scale, and how Matt’s and Alexis’s experiments with solutions have fared.
Last year, Alexis removed retweets from his Twitter account (and was pessimistic about new changes bringing back the old Twitter). Matt just began an experiment turning his Twitter account into a place for conversation rather than performance by reclaiming “the ratio.” The effort reminds Alexis of another noble attempt at making your own rules online. Has it Made the Internet Great Again? Listen to find out.
Of primary interest here, Matt Thompson discusses his concept of “Breaking the Ratio” (🎧 00:23:16-00:27:28) a take on the idea of being ratioed on Twitter.
His concept immediately brings to mind a few broad ideas:
Micro.blog is, to some extent, a Twitter clone–loathe as I am to use the phrase as it is so much more than that–which acts in almost exactly the way that Matt and likely Alexis wish Twitter would. Manton Reece specifically designed Micro.blog to not have the idea of retweets or likes, which forces people to have more direct conversations and discussions. Instead of liking or retweeting a post, one must reply directly. Even if one just sends a heart or thumbs up emoji, it has to be an explicit reply. Generally replies are not so sparse however, and the interactions are much more like Matt describes in his personal community.
(I’ll be clear that micro.blog does have a “favorite” functionality, but it is private to the user and doesn’t send any notifications to the post on which it is given. As a result, the favorite functionality on micro.blog is really more semantically akin to a private bookmark, it just has a different name.)
The second thing, albeit tangential to the idea of breaking the ratio, is Ben Werdmüller‘s idea of people taking back agency and using their own voices to communicate.
The single change social networks could make that would have the most positive impact is to remove all kinds of resharing. Force people to speak in their own voices or not at all. Using other peoples’ language to express yourself forces you to evaluate the world on their terms.
— Ben Werdmuller (@benwerd) October 29, 2018
While the retweet is a quick and useful shorthand, it decimates the personal voices and agency of the people who use it. He’s suggested that they might be better off restating the retweet in their own voice before sending it on, if they’re going to pass the information along. I wonder if he’s ultimately ended up somewhere interesting with his original thesis and research I know he has been doing.[ ]
If one thinks about it for a moment the old blogosphere was completely about breaking the ratio as most writers wanted to communicate back and forth with others in a more direct and real manner. The fact that the blogosphere didn’t have likes, favorites, or retweets was a feature not an issue. The closest one usually got to a retweet was a blockquote of text which was usually highlighted, featured, and then either argued with or expounded upon.
I’ll note that I most typically use Twitter in a read-only mode almost exactly like Alexis indicates (🎧 00:29:56) that he uses it: plugged into Nuzzel to surface some of the best articles and ideas along with the ability to see the public commentary from the Tweets of the people I’m following and care about. To me this method filters out a lot of the crap and noise and tends to surface a lot more interesting content for me. I’ve created several dozen Twitter lists of various people and plugged them into Nuzzel, so invariably almost everything I come across while using it is useful and interesting to me.
Finally, I’d invite both Matt and Alexis, as fans of the old-school blogosphere, to take a look at what is happening within the IndieWeb community and the newer functionalities that have been built into it to extend what the old blogosphere is now capable of doing. My experience in having gone into it “whole hog” over the past several years has given me a lot of the experiences that Matt describes and which Alexis wishes he had (without all the additional work). I’m happy to chat with either of them or others who are looking for alternate solutions for community and conversation without a lot of the problems that come along as part and parcel with social media services.
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.
I far preferto communicate back and forth:
Even better Bill is if we had such conversations from the comfort of our own backyard using bridgy and webmenbtions, rather than someone else’s playground?
So I’ll post my reply to you on my own website and manually copy it across to yours and (begrudgingly) syndicate a copy into Twitter, so everyone can play along. I’m hoping that the ability to automate these sorts of conversations from site to site will improve them all around in the coming year.
What did I say about blogging again? I’m seriously considering all internet output/consumption in 2019 to be a blog, email, and feed reader. Join me in turning back the clock!— Meg (@djgussieberger) December 29, 2018
Personal websites and email can replace most of what people like about Facebook—namely the urge to post about their lives online.
The web was amazing before Web 2.0 and the advent of so-called social networks. Many people had their own sites and blogs from which they shared ideas and interacted with others in the community at large. It seemed to me like meeting others in their own homes back then and there was a widespread enthusiasm for blogging and personal expression. Then came the big social networks. With time, many personal sites and blogs disappeared from the web as people flocked to the big silos where their content became a heavily monitized commodity. To me, the web had lost much of its soul as people gathered in just a few, huge noise chambers.
(Joe’s full article is here.)
Yes, here we are again—I think what you’re saying is that even a single-line annotation of a link, even just a few words of human curation do wonders when you’re out discovering the world. (Perhaps even more than book recommendations—where we know that at leas...
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
it made me feel like we were trying to send some kind of concentrated transmission to the author—linking as a greeting, links as an invitation. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 04:14PM
I do find that Webmentions are really enhancing linking—by offering a type of bidirectional hyperlink. I think if they could see widespread use, we’d see a Renaissance of blogging on the Web. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 04:17PM
I’m really not sure if linking, in general, has changed over the years. I’ve been doing it the same since day one. But that’s just me. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 04:22PM