👓 Instagram’s Christmas Crackdown | The Atlantic

Read Instagram’s Christmas Crackdown (The Atlantic)
No meme account is safe—not even @God.

There are so many reasons here for these folks to join the IndieWeb. A solid, popular feed reader would solve many of these problems.

“We are our own BuzzFeed,” said Declan Mortimer, a 16-year-old who ran the @ComedySlam account, with more than 11 million followers. Kaamil Lakhani and Jonathan Foley, who work together on @SocietyFeelings, said they were even in the process of building a dedicated website, as accounts such as @Daquan have already done.

Despite the Christmas setback, most meme account holders mentioned in this article said that they weren’t planning to abandon the platform anytime soon. But the incident served as an acute reminder of how quickly they can lose it all and be forced to start from scratch. “We’re playing on rented property,” said Goswami, “and that’s just so apparent now more than ever before.”

👓 India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans | WSJ

Read India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans by Newley Purnell and Corinne Abrams

Foreign companies will no longer be allowed to sell products from their own affiliated companies in India

NEW DELHI—India is tightening restrictions on foreign e-commerce companies operating in the country, a new challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. as they bet billions on the nascent market.

Current rules forbid non-Indian online sellers from holding their own inventory and shipping it out to consumers, as is typically done in other countries. Instead, they have found a work-around by operating as online marketplaces and selling what are effectively their own products held by their affiliated local companies.

They will no longer be allowed to sell such goods, a division of India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, an apparent attempt to close that loophole.

The new rules, which take effect Feb. 1, also bar foreign companies from entering into exclusive agreements with sellers. Amazon, for example, has in the past been the exclusive third-party online retailer to sell smartphones from the popular Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus.

Abneesh Roy, an analyst at Edelweiss Securities, noted that ahead of elections set for early next year, the government could be moving to appease owners of smaller shops that have been hit as customers buy more goods online.
“Shopkeepers have been unhappy,” he said. “In an election year, the government will definitely listen more to voters.”  

It’s nice to see foreign countries looking at what has happened to coutries like America with the rise of things like e-commerce, actually thinking about them and the longer term implications, and making rules to effect the potential outcomes.

Now the bigger follow up question is: is this a good thing? Perhaps there won’t be the community interruption we’ve seen in the US, but what do the overall effects look like decades hence? From a community perspective, from a competitive perspective?

December 27, 2018 at 12:26PM

📑 India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans | Wall Street Journal

Annotated India’s Tighter E-Commerce Rules Frustrate Amazon and Walmart Plans by Newley Purnell and Corinne Abrams (Wall Street Journal)
With Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Facebook Inc. and its WhatsApp messaging service used by hundreds of millions of Indians, India is examining methods China has used to protect domestic startups and take control of citizens’ data.  

Governments owning citizens’ data directly?? Why not have the government empower citizens to own their own data?

👓 We Should Replace Facebook With Personal Websites | Motherboard

Read We Should Replace Facebook With Personal Websites (Motherboard)
Personal websites and email can replace most of what people like about Facebook—namely the urge to post about their lives online.

There’s a lot of talk about leaving Facebook again in the last day or two, but very little on where to go other than a few people talking about Twitter or other toxic social media that will just end up starting the same cycle of pain and frustration again. This is at least a start, but it could lean more towards a full IndieWeb approach.

👓 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).

📑 Open as a Set of Values, Not a Destination | Billy Meinke

Annotated Open as a Set of Values, Not a Destination by Billy Meinke (billymeinke.com)
the technology platforms we rely on are changing and to leave things the way they are is to put our work at risk.  
Checked into SupplyFrame DesignLab

Giving a short 15 minute talk on some basic IndieWeb ideas, particularly with an eye toward science communication, to a great turnout of students at the Space Apps Challenge 2018 Kickoff event as part of Connect Pasadena.

For those interested, I’m giving a more advanced version of this talk at the upcoming WordCamp Riverside on November 3rd.

👓 Trying Mastodon | Gary Pendergast

Replied to Trying Mastodon by Gary PendergastGary Pendergast (Gary Pendergast)
It’s no secret that Twitter is red hot garbage fire, so I’ve signed up for a Mastodon account to give them a try. Because I’m super vain, I decided to create my own Mastodon instance, with a custom domain.

I know of a few folks in the IndieWeb and WordPress communities like Ryan Barrett (with FedBridgy) and Mathias Pfefferle (with OStatus plugin) who are actively working on helping bridge the technology between websites and the Fediverse so that one could use their WordPress install as a stand-alone “instance” of Mastodon.

It already seems somewhat obvious that moving from Twitter to Mastodon is bringing along some of the problems and issues that Twitter users are facing, so being able to use your current WordPress (or other) website to interact with other instances, sounds like a very solid idea. In practice, it’s the way I’ve been using my website with Twitter 1 2 (as well as Google+, Instagram, Facebook and other social silos) for some time, so I can certainly indicate it’s been a better experience for me. Naturally, both of their efforts fall underneath the broader umbrella of the web standards solutions generally pushed by the IndieWeb community, so I’m also already using my WordPress-based site to communicate back and forth in a social media-like way with others on the web already using Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and (soon) Microsub.

These federation efforts have got a way to go to offer a clean user experience without a tremendous amount of set up, but for those technically inclined, they are efforts certainly worth looking at so one needn’t manage multiple sites/social media and they can still own all the data for themselves.

 

References

1.
Aldrich C. @Mentions from Twitter to My Website. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2017/04/15/mentions-from-twitter-to-my-website/. Published April 15, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2018.
2.
Aldrich C. Threaded conversations between WordPress and Twitter. BoffoSocko. https://boffosocko.com/2018/07/02/threaded-conversations-between-wordpress-and-twitter/. Published July 2, 2018. Accessed September 11, 2018.

👓 The way out | Manton Reece

Read The way out by Manton ReeceManton Reece (manton.org)
There have been many articles written in the last month about the role of social networks. Some even reach the obvious conclusion: that the top social networks are too big. This interview on Slate was fairly representative, covering monopolies and centralized power. But these articles always stop sh...

👓 The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. | Wil Wheaton

Read The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it. by Wil Wheaton (WIL WHEATON dot NET)
As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network tha…

As I read article this I find myself wondering why Wil Wheaton was looking for a new social media platform? Hasn’t he realized yet that he’s already got one–his very own website?!!

While Wil maintains it more like an old school blog with longer thought pieces and stories, there’s certainly no reason he couldn’t use it to post shorter thoughts, status updates, or notes as he might do on Twitter or Mastodon. It’s also an “instance” which no one is going to kick him off of. He has ultimate control. If people moan and complain, he can moderate their complaints as he sees fit.

This particular post has 410 comments, most of which seem relatively civil and run a paragraph or two–at least enough to convey a complete and coherent thought or two. At some point he decided to cap the commentary for mental health or any other reason he may have, which is certainly his right as well as the right of anyone on their own website. Sadly most social services don’t provide this functionality.

I also notice that instead of trying to rebuild a following on someone else’s platform, he’s already got the benefit of a network of 3,689,638 email subscribers not to mention the thousands more who visit his site regularly or subscribe via RSS. I suspect that those subscribers, who have taken more time and effort to subscribe to his website than they did on any other platform, are likely a much better audience and are far more engaged.

So my short memo to Wil: Quit searching for an alternate when you’ve already got one that obviously seems like a much healthier and happier space.

If you feel like you’re missing some of the other small niceties of other social networks, I’ll happily and freely help you: set up some Micropub apps to make posting to your site easier; add Webmention support so others would need to post to their own websites to @mention you across the web from their service of choice; add a social media-esque Follow buttton; set up Microsub service so you can read what you choose on the web and like/favorite, reply to, bookmark, etc. to your site and send the commentary back to them. Of course anyone can do this on their own with some details and help from the IndieWeb.org community if they wish…

 

👓 Has the Time Arrived for Hosted Lifebits? | Reclaim Hosting

Read Has the Time Arrived for Hosted Lifebits? (Reclaim Hosting)
I’m a big fan of Kin Lane‘s for many reasons: he’s west coast cool, he’s passionate about what he believes in, he’s a technical wizard, and he wraps that all up with some intense creativity and vision. What one might call the complete package. He’s ramping up his Reclaim efforts currently, and we got to spend some time together at the Emory Domain Incubator to start imagining what that might look like more broadly.

👓 Upcoming Changes in the Blogs. | Harvard Blogging Platform

Read Upcoming Changes in the Blogs (Weblogs at Harvard)
7/13/2018 In 2003, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society (now the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society) began an unusual experiment: we launched a blogging platform. That seems q…

👓 How to Import Your GoodReads List Into WordPress, for free | Glenn Dixon

Read How to Import Your GoodReads List Into WordPress, for free by Glenn DixonGlenn Dixon (glenn.thedixons.net)
Here are the steps I took in order to get all of my GoodReads books/reviews over into my IndieWeb-ified Wordpress: Prerequisites: A GoodReads account with a decent amount of books reviewed and/or starred A self-hosted WordPress site Twenty Seventeen theme (could work with others) Advanced Custom Fie...

👓 Owning and controlling my own content | Laura Kalbag

Read Owning and controlling my own content by Laura KalbagLaura Kalbag (Laura Kalbag)
One of the ultimate goals we have at Ind.ie is owning and controlling our own data. That means I want to have ownership and control over my own personal information, rather than it being in the hands of big corporations. My personal information could range from something as intensely private as my m...

📑 Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick — A reply to heatherstains annotation

Replied to an annotation on Connections by Kathleen Fitzpatrick by Heather StainesHeather Staines (Hypothesis)
Social media networks provided immediate solutions to a few problems with those early blogging networks: they relieved the moderately heavy lift in getting started and they created the possibility of connections that were immediate, dense, and growing. But as those networks expanded, they both pulled authors away from their own domains — so much quicker to tweet than to blog, and with a much speedier potential response — and they privatized and scattered conversations.  
Exactly the use case that annotation is hoping to solve! Enabling the connection between different sites.

I do like the way Hypothes.is works, but I still think that a direct site to site version of conversation is still more powerful and both ends get to keep the data rather than relying on a third party. 😉