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Living the IndieWeb Life (#indieweb-life) was a session at IndieWeb Summit 2016.

Archived from notes: http://etherpad.indiewebcamp.com/indieweb-life


Living the Indieweb Life David Shanske



How many people here feel that they understand what's going on here? (No hands.) ("How about any of it?")

Aaron Parecki posts all kinds of things to his site. He's the poster child of the indieweb.

Not only does he post photos and notes, but also metrics including exercise, every single thing he eats and drinks, everywhere he bikes, and his bio says he is known for recording his location in 5-secondincrements since 2008.

The point is: nobody has to be Aaron Parecki.

Everybody wants to share with other people, to be open, to own their own information. "I'm not talking about *everything*".

Everybody wants to share in some way - whether it's virtually or face-to-face.

Sharing is different for everyone. What's overkill for one person may be perfect for someone else.

How many people here want everyone in the world to know what they're eating? Most people don't. "I don't *not* want it, but I don't want to go through the effort of doing it."

Part of the interest is in how you do it - how much it's not about obsessively tracking everything, but making it routine. How much can you automate?

Some people look at Aaron's website and say "no, I won't do that", and others say "I want to do some of it". The point is that you don't *have* to do any of it. And it's different for everyone.

The question is, what do you want to share, and how do you share it?

Jennifer Rondeau: I'm very aware that I don't indieweb my Twitter. I'm very aware of that. How do other people deal with this? If I were tweeting from my site, I'd be tweeting a lot less too. For me, Twitter is a very interactive experience. I guess on Twitter, even though I'm not posting on my own site, I'm living the indieweb because I'm *thinking* about it.

What *don't* you want to be ephemeral? Which parts of you do you want to be replaced by a robot? (In the context of the indie-bot)

What is self?

Would a robot reproduction be so complete, even if it had no will or personality of its own, that it could be an effective reproduction of you?


... With microformats?

Is there anyone who wants to have all their notes and ideas stored in the public?

Ben: just to be clear, I'm making my bot so people know which pub I'm in.

People kept diaries for centuries on the idea that there was a reason to keep their thoughts and ideas around to learn from later on, or for other people to learn from. The indieweb lifestyle is akin to diary-making.

Jennifer: is there a common set of motivations to people who want to indiewebify? Is there a common set of ideas behind what makes you share / not share?

David Shanske: I've been moving a trip log from storage boxes to my website, making electronic records of a trip I took to Israel in 1999.

[David puts log on-screen] Cassie: Were you stealing drinks from the airline? That's badass!

David: I've been adding ideas to the log that I might not have wanted to be recorded then, but want to add now. I have one photograph that I've been trying to figure out which day it was taken on, and I've been gathering evidence, including researching the weather on the possible days. By the way, if you can find the weather forecast data for 1986, please tell me when there was a rainy day followed by a sunny day at the Kennedy Space Center. The point is, I might not want this level of scrutiny for something that I was doing today - but 30 years ago you might want to know more.

The implication is that we might be uncomfortable about certain levels of sharing and storage now, but over time, it becomes more interesting and less weird. With distance, sharing becomes interesting nostalgic data, rather than discomforting oversharing.

David: there's a lot of information that we weren't keeping track of that becomes more important over time.

Jennifer: as a historian, there's a lot we can do with context.

David: indieweb is all about recording context [and keeping control of that contextual data].

With that in mind, is there anything you'd like to do with indieweb that you haven't yet?

Jennifer: the biggest thing indieweb has done for me is help me assert ownership of my own content.

David: you have to ask that question. Most people do the easy thing: they use Twitter and Facebook.

Ben: that's also because that's where everyone is.

David: there's also the PESOS philosophy, where you use those networks, but your site is sucking in all your information, so after the fact you have the same net result of saving an archive of all your data. And sometimes you have to do this - for example, some sites let you take data out but not put it in. Other sites let you put data in but not take it out. Different approaches work with different networks.

Jennifer: I retain ownership and control. Earlier today, I made a few copy-edits. You said a lot of people do the easy thing, but even when you try to explain it, a lot of people don't understand it.

Ben: I think there's a danger of treating indieweb like a religion. We shouldn't try and convince people to our ideology. If people don't get it, they might feel like owning their data isn't a problem for them.

Cassie: There's a danger that we fall into the Free and Open Source Software trap of only using free stuff and complaining about apps that aren't free [as in speech], even if there are apps that are beautifully designed and solve a problem well.

It's all about choice. The point is that you have a choice, and indieweb gives you the choice - whether to own your own data at all, and then if you decide to own your own data, which software you use to do so.

It doesn't matter if you're a commercial endeavor or a free endeavor; we just want to interact.

Jennifer: I'm not necessarily trying to evangelize, but there's a whole vocabulary here that doesn't translate well.

Ben: We've got a philosophy and we have some terms that we use, but really you should be able to call the concepts what you want.

Jesus: One problem is that a lot of people have an incorrect mental model about these networks. For example, in the drag queen community, the networks don't work for them - they aren't able to express their identities in the way you need to.

Cassie: You often don't see these problems until they affect you personally.

Ben: And there's the issue that sometimes services go away.

William Madison: What drew *me* here [as a blind person] was the automation. That's something that I need.

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