👓 Can We Ever Reset the Field? | Smokey Ardisson

Read Can We Ever Reset the Field? by Smokey ArdissonSmokey Ardisson (ardisson.org)
The rise of the massive corporate-run social networks—silos, where everything was stored inside and nothing left—changed distributed online social relationships. The silos replaced distributed with centralized; all of your social connections were now in one place, making it faster and “easier” to keep up with everyone. Easier in some ways, yes, but now everyone could see every aspect of you, even if you didn’t want them to. Worse, your constant software talk annoyed your bowling-league friends, and your one uncle could not stand the fact you supported the Democratic Party. All of that didn’t happen at once; it took time for these corporate social networks to consume all of your communities, to seize ownership of all of your connections and relationships, transforming something very human into mere pieces of computer data, eventually hollowing out your communities and your humanness in the process. But once it had happened, and once you realized those downsides (and others, such as abuse, Nazis, and anti-democratic propaganda), how could you escape? Was there even anywhere to escape to?

To a large extent, some of the questions and observations in this article are the things that drive me to have my own domain and have my own website. I and many others in the IndieWeb are still working on the infrastructure to support the web we’d like to have instead of the web we’re given. We’re still not there yet, and it may never be the utopia we’re hoping for, but we’ll never get there if we don’t try.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Just like in real life, where your bar trivia team doesn’t really overlap with your work softball team or your church bowling league, all of your online communities gathered in their own places, ones best suited to them, and you didn’t have to act as all facets of yourself simultaneously when trying to only interact with one.  

August 21, 2018 at 01:19PM

our brains have been trained to believe that we want, that we need, a single place where all of “our people” can gather, where it is “easy” to keep up with all of them: a massive network service, just without all the “bad stuff” of the existing ones.  

August 21, 2018 at 01:21PM

You find them in a place that you curate yourself, not one “curated” for you by a massive corporate social network intent on forcing you to be every part of yourself to everyone, all at once. You should control how, when, and where to interact with your people.  

August 21, 2018 at 01:23PM

web we lost  

https://indieweb.org/lost_infrastructure
August 21, 2018 at 01:24PM

we can’t just recreate the same thing we’re trying to escape, and we can’t expect the solution to be precisely as easy on us as the problem was.  

August 21, 2018 at 01:25PM

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I’m apparently the king of the microformat rel=”me”

More important however is the reason why I hold the title!

Today, at the IndieWeb Summit 2017, Ryan Barrett, while giving a presentation on some data research he’s been doing on the larger Indieweb community, called me out for a ridiculous number of rel-me’s on a single page. His example cited me as having 177 of them on a single page! I tracked it down and it was actually an archive page that included the following post How many social media related accounts can one person have on the web?!.

What is a rel=”me”?

Rel=”me” is a microformat tag put on hyperlinks that indicates that the paged linked to is another representation of the person who controls the site/page you’re currently looking at. Thus on my home page the Facebook bug has a link to my facebook account which is another representation of me on the web, thus it has a rel=”me” tag on it.

His data is a bit old as I now maintain a page entitled Social Media Accounts and Links with some (but far from all) of my disparate and diverse social media accounts. That page currently has 190 rel=”me”s on it! While there was one other example that had rel-mes pointing to every other internal page on the site (at 221, if I recall), I’m proud to say, without gaming the system in such a quirky way, that each and every one of the rel=”me” URLs is indeed a full legitimate use of the tag.

I’m proud to be at the far end of the Zipf tail for this. And even more proud to be tagged as such during the week in which Microformats celebrates its 12th birthday. But for those doing research or who need edge cases of rel-me use, I’m also happy to serve as a unique test case. (If I’m not mistaken, I think my Google+ page broke one of Ryan’s web crawlers/tools in the past for a similar use-case a year or two ago).

The Moral of the Story

The take away from this seemingly crazy and obviously laughable example is simply just how fragmented one’s online identity can become by using social silos. Even more interesting for some is the number of sites on that page which either no longer have links or which are crossed out indicating that they no longer resolve. This means those sites and thousands more are now gone from the internet and along with them all of the data that they contained not only for me but thousands or even millions of other users.

This is one of the primary reasons that I’m a member of the Indieweb, have my own domain, and try to own all of my own data.

While it seemed embarrassing for a moment (yes, I could hear the laughter even in the live stream folks!), I’m glad Ryan drew attention to my rel-me edge case in part because it highlights some of the best reasons for being in the Indieweb.

(And by the way Ryan, thanks for a great presentation! I hope everyone watches the full video and checks out the new site/tool!)

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