I’ve been thinking about an broad idea for over two years and have distilled it down to this important and pressing question for society:
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It's the most wonderful time of the year--time to sign up for DLINQ's 2021 Digital Detox. The topic of our '21 DD will be Digital Equity and Inclusion in a Pandemic. Join us as we reflect on and explore strategies on this important and timely topic https://t.co/OHS0jYbkug— Anne of Green Mountains (@amcollier) December 11, 2020
Mine is less so; you’ll see my permalink on Twitter back to my original.
It doesn’t look like he threads his entire conversations (publicly), but you can currently see the contexts and replies from your conversations at https://aaronparecki.com/replies.
A difference you’ll notice is that Twitter caps me at 280 characters, while I can waffle on for days and Aaron’s website will likely (but doesn’t have to) capture it.
Webmention also allows for editing/sending updates, so I can edit after-the-fact and Aaron’s site will show it whereas Twitter doesn’t allow edits, so… I could also delete my response in the future and send a “410 webmention” and Aaron’s site should delete it.
I’m sure that Twitter, Facebook, and most other social media systems could implement sending/receiving webmentions in under a week (even if they’re dragging their feet on a well written spec) and add microformats to make cross-site notifications and comments a reality. It will assuredly require legislation for them to do so however.
Many common CMSes already support Webmention either natively or with plugins/modules, so there’s some pretty solid proof of interoperability with various software and programming languages.
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For SpaceHey I’m using plain PHP, HTML and a lot of custom CSS. No frameworks whatsoever this time (except for jQuery which is needed to convert all time/date formats) 🙂
— An (@AnTheMaker) November 27, 2020
I prefer living in the slightly older blogosphere though. Maybe with some improved infrastructure over what we’ve lost?
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ᔥ in #indieweb 2020-11-29 (2020-11-29 22:43:53)
I thought I’d take a short stab at beginning a conversation on this front as it’s an important topic that is near and dear to my heart. Not knowing if they’ve stumbled across the idea of the IndieWeb as a potential “solution” in the space, I thought I would briefly highlight a few pieces here as they relate to their stated framework involving five facets of social networks.
Naturally the IndieWeb wiki has a huge wealth of information on this broader topic as well as thousands of examples of prior art in social media (which may help their research effort), so in addition to the brief framing I’ll delineate below, I’m compelled to provide links to two useful pages:
What follows is a small portion of my personal perspective as I see things with respect to their call for ideas and their structure. Others are heartily encouraged to chime in and provide additional information or perspective.
IndieWeb as a Social Media Platform
The basic underlying technology used by the IndieWeb community is the raw web itself. The community has built and expanded on a variety of W3C web specifications including Webmention (for notifications), Micropub (for publishing tools that work anywhere with anything), IndieAuth (an extension of OAuth), WebSub (for real time notifications), and Microsub (for abstracted feed readers and feed reading). Leveraging some of these open standards, their goal is to allow anyone on the web to use their programming language, platform, or server architecture of choice to publish, consume, and interact with others. This allows .php-based CMSs like Drupal, WordPress, and WithKnown to interact with other platforms like Craft, Nucleus CMS, Grav, Elgg, Django, or static site generators like Eleventy, Hugo, Kirby or even closed source publishing software or platforms like Micro.blog, Pine.blog, or Typlog. Their work does not preclude inclusion or use of these specifications by pre-existing social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, etc. which could leverage them to interoperate. Indeed many in the IndieWeb are already using some of these these building blocks to interact and provide two-way communications with these very platforms.
As an entirely volunteer, community-driven project, there is no immediate underlying economic model. Each user pays for and maintains their own service and has a greater range of control of their website and its use as well as their own data. Underlying the IndieWeb, there already exists basic businesses and competition for registering domain names and providing hosting services. Most people currently within the network (people who actively aware of and practicing IndieWeb as an idea) are building and/or self-hosting their own websites, but there is also a generally blank layer available on top of this that allows for a wide variety of businesses and revenue models. Examples of this already include some IndieWeb as a Service sorts of plays like Micro.blog, Typlog, Pine.blog, and I.haza.website which charge relatively nominal monthly fees for service.
The primary purpose of the IndieWeb space is to directly increase the ownership and control users have over their web identities and data. Much of this is predicated on having one’s own domain name and some sort of website on it. The ability to own the URLs and easily export/import data from one platform to another means that the direct competition in the space focuses on providing a higher quality of services to the user in the form of portability and ease-of-use.
Since each site or sub-platform on the network may offer completely different or competing slate of functionalities, the range of affordances are seemingly limitless. Most of the sites in the space allow at least basic blogging and/or microblogging functionality as well as the ability to comment on or bookmark other content. Many sites in the space offer site-to-site notifications (via Webmention) or cross site conversation functionality. Given the increased diversity within the space, many IndieWeb sites already offer some or all of the affordances of almost every other social media platform but there is a larger diversity as many individuals can pick and choose what they want to use their personal websites for.
Now, all of this having been briefly covered, I’ll say that there is a lot more depth and subtlety built into this system because of the way it has evolved over an incredibly diverse set of implementations in the past decade. The IndieWeb is far from a complete solution and there is much more to be done on fronts like privacy, private posts/limiting audience(s), group functionality, decreasing potential abuses within the network, and etc.
Towards the idea of a Digital Public Infrastructure, I can’t help but mention that Greg McVerry and I have previously proposed/spitballed some models by which journalistic outlets (potentially in the form of town, city, or regional newspapers) or small governmental run entities (namely the vast network of public libraries) could provide their customers or constituencies some of the digital infrastructure in an IndieWeb as a Service manner. Some related practical examples of this include some universities and colleges supporting the idea of A Domain of One’s Own or Greg’s work in creating a teen camp that provides teenagers with their own websites.
If Zuckerman, Rajendra-Nicolucci, or others on their team are interested in discussing any of the above, I’m happy to provide as much time and knowledge as I can. My homepage on the web has a wealth of ways by which to get in touch with me.
I’d also invite them to join the IndieWeb chat (governed by the community’s code of conduct) where they should be more than welcome to participate and ask questions and to get the perspective of others who have also been actively working on fixing our common problems.
I teach a class in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland called “Becoming a Social Media Influencer”. It’s a hands-on class where students create social media accounts (or work with ones they already have) and learn how to make good content, to build a community, to gain insights into social media algorithms, and to develop strategies for growing their accounts. We do in-class critiques and offer feedback along with doing readings and trying out new tech.
Lots of you were interested in learning more about how to make content go viral! I teach a class on this @iSchoolUMD but I know not everyone has time/money for a college course, so I put up a bunch of my lecture videos and readings in this medium post! https://t.co/l4zaNSStii
— Dr. Jen Golbeck 💗💜💙 (@jengolbeck) October 20, 2020
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Six: Social Media?
Social media provides a bit of a simulacrum of the sort of networked thinking we might like to have, but you need to have dozens of accounts for different pieces of knowledge and collection and have followerships in all for interaction. Here we’re missing the idea of centralization.
It’s also painfully difficult to search for your data across the multiple information silos which often block search engines.
The tobacco farmers want to run the oncology clinic, I mean how bad could it get?— Chris Dancy (@chrisdancy) September 15, 2020
Compare this with the average social media user who doesn’t know any code. In their world, they’re making a choice, likely predicated upon social pressures, to post their data, content, and identity on one or more corporately controlled silos. Because of the ease-of-use, the platform is abstracted away from them even further than from the developer’s perspective thus making it even less apparent the level of trust they’re putting into the platform. What is the platform doing with their data? How is what they’re seeing in their feed being manipulated and controlled?
The problems both people are facing are relatively equivalent, just different in their dynamic range. The non-programmer is at an even greater disadvantage however as the silos are moving faster and can do more to take advantage of and manipulate them more seamlessly than the programmer who at least has more potential to learn the unfamiliar language to dig themselves out. This difference is also one of dynamic range as the developer may only need a simple shovel to dig themselves out whereas the non-coder will need a massive excavator, which may be unavailable and still need an operator with knowledge of how to use it.
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