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Identity and the IndieWeb was a session at IndieWebCamp Baltimore 2018.

Notes archived from: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/identity

IndieWebCamp Baltimore 2018

Session: Identity and the IndieWeb

When: 2018-01-20 14:10




  • Domain name as identity online commonly used/accepted as Indieweb identity
    • For some this is their name, for others could be pseudonym or whatever!
  • Who am i?
    • Can Indieweb tell me or can I tell it, etc?
  • Style, what's your theme?
  • How do you present yourself to different audiences?
  • Controlling what you present as far as your idenity
    • What happens if I have multiple identities - how do I resolve this?
    • Is who I am different in one context vs. another?
      • Does this mean different domain names for each identity?
      • Search Kevin Mark's site for some thoughts on this... http://epeus.blogspot.com/


  • Presenting your identity / Controlling what you present as your identity?
    • Indieweb as opportunity to clearly broadcast identity as they shape it, and own it
      • This could result in a more clear expression than snippets at silos
      • Your domain becomes a statement of who you are
    • When you play in a silo, an advantage is that you're in a context where you can observe behaviors in the context and shape identity suited to this silo/environment
    • is it viable to present multiple personalities/identities for security or expression or both
    • Shaping landing page experiences from your domain:
      • Derek's example: derekfields.is/amaker, derekfields.is/aneducator
    • Can some of these become secret? Can you present a certain aspect to specific audiences?
    • would a strategy where the rootlevel use of the domain doesn't include certain parts of a personality, that you can choose who you share that subdomain / aspect of your online selfhood.
  • What happens with legacy systems?
    • How do you resolve legacy identities, especially if you've transitioned?
    • especially pertinent if your domain is closely connected to your identity
    • relative easy to switch domains and redirect, but what about removing content or archiving content? What about blocking content from something like Internet Archive
      • Right to be forgotten?
    • Building in tools for flexibility and changes in identity, especially to protect and respect others privacy/identity decisions
      • How does all this relate to permissions? Example: Checking in friends on Swarm, Foursquare, etc.
  • Two aspects of identity/privacy
    • Socialization aspect v. Technological aspect
      • accepting/rejecting notifications/checkins/etc
    • Could there be some helpful tech solutions, such as approving checkins before publically displaying
    • In the Indieweb community, not being open hasn't been a priority. How can this be resolved to protect/support marginalized individuals?
    • Indieweb seems to assume open/public/broadcast. Is there a continuation into offline/private that retains the Indieweb ethos
      • Local broadcasts?
  • Indieweb Identity
    • Is your Indieweb identity the part of you that participates to online discussion
    • Can then bring in some private systems and share it out with specific audiences
    • Defining groups: Can next gen of Indieweb be about clustering groups together
    • The tools and usability needs to be a high priority to be able to embrace many others in the community. The tools should be user-friendly and beginner friendly to help support those who feel needs for privacy and security, and not to default to always open/sharing/broadcasting
    • Quantified Self practices:
      • much of this seems really interesting and could appeal to 'digital legacy' aspects of identity
      • Information such as phone battery life, sleep, etc. collected in the chance of perhaps needing it
      • is this a portrait of who we are, especially at a certain time?
      • Sharing the data vs others
      • Slice of life at certain points
    • Documenting the past:
      • Going back and writing things retroactively
      • Are there people examining their life and posting things retroactively?
      • Jonathan: archiving and posting content from previous sites and notebooks that would be dated on the creation timestamp of original source (sounds similar to a commonplace book usage)
      • David: Original word in 1 font and then editorial comments in another font. Some content is redacted. (Similar to annotation after the fact.
      • Identity and focus changing over time: Does my focus from 2017 look different than 2018 (when looking from a lens of 2020)
  • What happens to sites/content after you die? longevity
  • Some people pre-write posts or others maintain sites for others in memoriam
  • Example: Brianna Privett gave a presentation at WordCampUS 2017 on "The Story of Your Life: Using WordPRess as a Memory Warehouse".(slides, video)
  • Facebook preserving pages for those who've passed:
    • Issue is that this could be shutdown by FB. How do you have control over this -> moving memoriam sites away from Facebook can provide more control. Brianna Privett has an example of how she handled this issue with her mom's passing
    • see longevity for things about activating Dead Man's Switch for your site
  • Style and identity: How does this relate to how you present yourself?
    • CSS as a means of creating identity??
    • to ruin amy's attempt to bring us back from a discussion of death, i think the idea of making most of my posts a little bit more somber and less effusive as a prose style flag after passing might be something I'd want in a living will. because that could be tough to read afterwards. ;-)
    • Create a brand for yourself, would this be different for different 'aspects of identity'
    • How do you then match visual design to identity?
      • How do you do this if you're not conformable/familiar with design elements
        • Additionally, how do you train people to have agency to express themselves visually. Tools such as CSS Grid can give some agency
    • Can you link this to clothing that people wear as a way to help develop a color palette based on what you wear -> Who Am I?! and how do I define it? How do I express this on my page
      • Create an 'aspirational website' and then strive to be that version of yourself -> Curated version of yourself presented
  • Could one build a tool that creates online identity the way online clothing tools like Bombfell does for shopping for a wardrobe? Instead of "Find the right clothes for you", maybe find the right online branding for you?
    • Expression through tooling: customizing text editors for motivation
      • This is expressed privately. What would this look like expressed publically?
  • h-card
    • flexible enough to store information and demographic data and what can be put into this
      • so much more control and customization than offered in the silos
    • can people add pronouns to their h-cards?
      • there is a discussion about this on the wiki, is there a standard, what should be included?
      • can be marked up and standardized: name, address, etc. -> can add content into h-card that is then parsed
        • microformats wiki has info about how to include/define pronouns in h-card
    • exciting concept and this is a great epitome of identity as synthesized into words and images
    • how much information? do you include birthdays? also protecting your identity from thieves/scraping
    • How can we help people from dying from designs like middle-era MySpace? Or providing lots of middle ground to support a range of identites?

Art Direction posts:

What about the difference between "identity" and "personality"?

Often it can be easier to separate your audiences you present yourself to than it is to fragment your identity via multiple websites. This means there are two different structural ways to approach the problem.

Is your identity on Facebook different from that on Twitter vs. LinkedIn? How can we better represent these "siloed" identities onto a single personal website? Perhaps we need to quit being digital "Sybils" and just be ourselves.


  • Known: CMS. Can there be a private or semi-private Known?
    • Yes, there can be; These are often used in classroom settings for privacy reasons. They can essentially be used almost like an intranet for small groups.

See Also