It’s fair to think, what if you never monetize your website? What if no one reads your blog? What is it all for? We spoke with Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer at Adobe, author of How They Got Here: Interviews With Digital Designers About Their Careers, and a writer who’s been publishing on his blo...
With all that has transpired between Facebook and the media industry over the past couple of years—the repeated algorithm changes, the head fakes about switching to video, the siphoning off of a significant chunk of the industry’s advertising revenue—most publishers approach the giant social network with skepticism, if not outright hostility. And yet, the vast majority of them continue to partner with Facebook, to distribute their content on its platform, and even accept funding and resources from it.
A very solid question to be asking and to be working on answers for.
Personally I feel like newspapers, magazines, and media should help to be providing IndieWeb-based open platforms of their own for not only publishing their own work, but for creating the local commons for their readers and constituents to be able to freely and openly interact with them.
They’re letting Facebook and other social media to own too much of their content and even their audience. Building tools to take it back could help them, their readers, and even democracy out all at the same time.
Sadly, based on what I’m seeing here, however, even CJR has outsourced their platform for this series to SquareSpace. At least they’re publishing it on a URL they own and control.
It’s been a crazy two days. Yesterday, I published the Kickstarter for Bokeh. At the time of writing this, the project is 36 percent funded. I’m grateful to everyone who’s backed the project and shared it. There’s been a lot of stress building up to this moment. I believe in this ...
There’s not quite as much detail here as one could want. On first blush there’s nothing here when I read it because I missed the fact that there’s a video. But even with the video the details were awfully muddled about what exactly this will end up being. The fact that he mentions that it will be IndieWeb friendly could be interesting. I’m worried if some of the forthcoming microsub readers will render parts of this less useless unless it expands into other content types the way micro.blog has already.
Today, as we are facing the unethical evolution of many social platforms, there is a fresh movement called the IndieWeb that understands you're done with others owning your content, your identity, and yourself. This is why I support it and you should too!
Ben does an excellent job (in a short space) encapsulating what the VC world is and how it works. He also provides some insight into ways forward for those who might want to build businesses or infrastructure that have an indie web flavor.
I agree with him that we should ultimately be looking for more zebras instead of unicorns. This model is a much better method for building value and particularly for building long term societal value.
In sum, Ben seems to be saying that it won’t be easy–but what process of business building ever is? This may seem to paint a less-than-rosy picture, but keep in mind that Ben also doesn’t touch on the sea change of individual people who are personally choosing IndieWeb solutions for their online identities, presences, and communication. And it’s just this audience of people which Jeffrey’s piece was trying to reach out to. At the same time a lot of that audience is also most likely to begin building out businesses based upon these things, and here Ben’s expertise will stand in good stead.
Ultimately I’m sure this technology will continue to build until it reaches a full boil, and this will make it much easier for a wide array of creative and service businesses to be built upon it.
For those considering businesses who’d like a leg up, especially if you’d ever written a Twitter client of any kind, take a look at the Micropub and Microsub concepts. I’ll bet that with some modular pieces (and potentially pre-existing ones), you could add these to that old client and bring it back to life for a growing universe of more than 10,000 active websites and a potential universe of millions more. Based on the reaction to my recent presentation of some example Micropub use cases at a WordCamp, there is a huge group of people who are excited to see and use these tools.
Thanks for writing this all out for us Ben.
I was recently forwarded Jeffrey Zeldman's piece on A List Apart, Nothing Fails Like Success, on the impact of venture capital on startup business models. At the end, he questions whether the indieweb is a possible answer to the predicament we find ourselves in.
I feel uniquely positioned to answer, because I've been a venture capitalist (at mission-driven accelerator Matter Ventures) and have literally started an indieweb startup, Known. I've also bootstrapped a startup and worked at one that raised hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars.
It’s the 8th day in our 12 days of microblogging blog post series. Most Micro.blog accounts use the author’s name — personal blogs, writing about everyday topics or sharing stories and photos. But since Micro.blog-hosted blogs can have a custom design, separate pages, and a domain name, you ca...
When I was a Stanford undergraduate in 2012, everyone seemed to be building apps. The sexiest tech startups—Snap, Uber, Facebook—were almost synonymous with the word “app,” and that the world was moving increasingly towards ?...
There’s a valuable lesson in here and it’s something that a lot of app builders don’t even consider.
I am sorely disappointed in The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, CNN’s Brian Stelter, and other journalists who these days are announcing to…
I appreciate Jeff Jarvis’ points here about not succumbing to the techno-panic, but at the same time we do need some better ways to find and disseminate these stories than relying on toxic platforms. The conversation needs more space and flexibility and perhaps this is also part of the problem. There’s no reason we couldn’t simultaneously hope for better tools for journalists while still doing as Jeff indicates. Some journalists enjoy and find value in doing battlefield reporting, but this obviously isn’t for everyone. While platforms like Twitter make finding some unseen stories easier, they definitely aren’t the end-all-be-all of the depth and breadth of stories out there. Relying solely on looking at the conversation through the lens of Twitter isn’t always the best or even only way to appreciate the broader conversation. There are far more trenches we all need to be exploring.
Here yet again, I can’t help but think that journalistic outlets ought to be using their platforms and their privilege and extend them to their audiences as a social media platform of sorts. This could kill the siren song of the toxic platforms and simultaneously bring the journalists and the public into a more direct desperate congress. There is nothing stopping CNN or The New York Times from building an open version of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or even blogging platform on which everyone could participate. In fact, there are already several news outlets that have gotten into the content management system business and are selling their wares to other newspapers and magazines. Why not go a half-step further and allow the public to use them as well? The IndieWeb model for this seems like an interesting one which could dramatically benefit both sides and even give journalism another useful revenue stream.
Discourse is the 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet.
As I look at this it makes me wonder when small, single-purpose services might allow themselves to be white listed and/or custom styled to live on a users personal domain, yet still look like they’re part and parcel of that user’s native site.
As an example, Disqus and Webmention.io are interesting examples of how a company could specialize into handling comments for user’s sites. These two are both doing things very differently and at much different price points. Disqus is large and bloated and seems to have quite innovating and iterating. I have to wonder what it would look like with more players and more competition in the space?
In fact, I’m still wondering why hasn’t Disqus picked up and run away with the Webmention spec?
I’ve been writing on Medium for three and a half years.
Some of these reasons are very pragmatic for everyone, but he’s also got some business specific ones that touch on things many small businesses would want control over as well. He additionally points out some very subtle changes in media for people who are reaching out to niche audiences. Some of this is reminiscent to things Leo Laporte has spoken about in the past with respect to leaving television and cable to start a podcast network, except in that case there really wasn’t a huge amount of competing media, so instead of moving to silos (which didn’t exist at the time for his use case) he went straight to using his own platform.
As I read this, there are some underlying ideas that again make me think that newspapers, magazines, and other journalistic outlets should pick up the mantle of social media and help their readers (aka community) by providing them with websites that they can control and use to interact. Many newspapers and other outlets are already building their own CMSes and even licensening them out to other papers, why not take the next step and build a platform that can host and manage websites for individual users? They’ve got most of the infrastructure there already? Why not tack on a few simple things that allow their users to better interact with them on the open web. It solves their ownership issues as well as their reliance on social media silos and could even provide a nice, modest income stream (or even a bonus that comes along with one’s subscription?)
Perhaps Kinja wasn’t a bad idea for a CMS cum commenting system, it just wasn’t open web enough?
"Let's replace the shadows that Twitter and Facebook and Google have been on the media with some business-model fundamentals. As 2018 has shown, they've offered us a lot more heartache than it feels like they're actually worth."
This is a very staid and sober statement about the ills of social media platforms (aka silos) and a proposed way forward for 2019. His argument is tremendously bolstered by the fact that he’s actually got his own website where he’s hosting and distributing his own content.
Ernie, should you see this, I’d welcome you to come join a rapidly growing group of creators who have been doing almost exactly what you’ve prescribed. We’re amassing a wealth of knowledge, tools, code, and examples at Indieweb.org to help you and others on their journey to better owning and controlling their online identities in almost the exact way in which you’re talking about in your article. Both individually and together we’re trying to build web websites that allow all the functionality of the platforms, but in a way that is both easy and beautiful for everyone to manage and use. Given the outlet for your piece, I’ll also mention that there’s a specific page for IndieWeb and Journalism.
I’d invite you to join the online chat and add yourself as an example to any of the appropriate pages, including perhaps for Craft. Also feel free to discuss your future plans and ask for any help or support you’d like to see for improving your own website. Together I hope we can all make your prediction for 2019 a reality.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
But what if, in 2019, we take a step back and decide not to let the platform decide how to run the show? ❧
January 09, 2019 at 07:55AM
I’ve been working on a redesign of my site recently, using a more robust CMS, and the advantages of controlling the structure of the platform soup-to-nuts are obvious, even if it requires more upfront work. ❧
January 09, 2019 at 07:57AM
2019 is the year when publishers — whether big ones like Axios or the Los Angeles Times or tiny ones like mine or Judd Legum’s Popular Information — move away from letting someone else call all the shots. Or, at least, they should. ❧
January 09, 2019 at 08:01AM
I tried very hard in that book, when it came to social media, to be platform agnostic, to emphasize that social media sites come and go, and to always invest first and foremost in your own media. (Website, blog, mailing list, etc.) ❧
Though it doesn’t specifically come right out and say it, this article is very pro IndieWeb and particularly so for artists and people who are promoting themselves on the web.
Foldable Phone, Online Civility
- The Samsung Developers Conference Keynote features a foldable phone, SmartThings IoT, and Bixby innovations.
- Android will support foldable phones.
- Google employees stage a walkout over sexual harassment
- Tim Berners-Lee's Contract for the Web
- How to encourage civility online
- YouTube Content ID
- Facebook and "White Genocide"
- Young people are deleting Facebook in droves
- Facebook's holiday pop-up store
- Everybody gets free Amazon shipping
- Amazon's new HQ2(s)
- 8 new Chromebook features
- Google Home Hub teams up with Sephora
- Ajit Pai's FCC is hopping mad about robocalls
Picks of the Week
- Jeff's Number: Black Friday home tech deals
- Stacey's Thing: Extinct cables, Alexa Christmas Lights
Leo Laporte doesn’t talk about it directly within an IndieWeb specific framework, but he’s got an interesting discussion about YouTube Content ID that touches on the ideas of Journalism and IndieWeb and particularly as they relate to video, streaming video, and YouTube Live.
While most people are forced to rely on Google as their silo of choice for video and specifically live streaming video, he points out a painful single point of failure in their system with regard to copyright rules and Google’s automatic filters that could get a user/content creator permanently banned. Worse, as Leo indicates, this ban could also extend to related Google accounts (YouTube, Gmail, etc.) One is thus open to potential chilling effects of intimidation, censorship, and deplatforming.
Leo discusses the fact that he’s not as beholden to YouTube because he streams and hosts all of his content on his own website and only utilizes silos like YouTube as ancillary distribution. In IndieWeb parlance what he does is known as POSSE or Post to your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere and this prevents his journalism, commentary, and even his business from being ravaged by the whims of corporate entities whose rules he can’t control directly.
The discussion starts at 1:05:11 into the episode and goes for about 10 minutes for those who are interested in this particular sub-topic.