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State of the IndieWeb

2019 State of the IndieWeb was a keynote by Tantek Çelik IndieWeb Summit 2019.



I want to talk a little about the accomplishments in the last year, some of the progress we've made, some of the challenges and cutting edge things that are coming to the forefront that maybe we can discuss in the next two days.

So, we got some amazing press this past year.

IndieWeb has hit the mainstream. The New Yorker published an article literally titled "Can Indie Social Media Save Us?" Immediately referenced the IndieWeb. The term, IndieWeb, camel caps and all, mainstream media. They've spelled it right. They kept it as one word. Amazing. If you haven't seen the article, I highly recommend reading it.

It's not entirely technically accurate, but that's okay, cause the overall story they're telling is the right story and they're getting more and more people interested.

We sold out IndieWeb Summit, which I don't think we've ever done before.


And, what's our current count? On the signup sheet?

Last time I checked, it was 47 of you were here.

>> Sounds right.

>> [Away from mic]

>> So, that's been awesome. We have more --

>> 46.

>> Did we count a blank line or something? That's allowed.

We have many more Homebrew Website Clubs that are regularly meeting. And a whole bunch getting started. Just this past week -- Barnsley. I don't even know where that is, sorry, American... geography... I think it's in England, I believe. Announced they're starting their Homebrew Website Club on the 18th of July, so that's pretty cool.

We have more and more IndieWebCamps. We've scheduled lots of IndieWebCamps this year and are on track to schedule a record number of different cities as well. So, that's pretty cool.

Aside from the community participation, Ryan Barrett, who runs Bridgy -- which I'm sure a lot of you are using -- how many of you are using Bridgy? Yeah a lot.

Shared some stats for us on the continued essentially what you can see here is linear, organic growth of the IndieWeb. This is one of the things we're really proud of. We are not looking for a hockey stick, unicorn, VC-driven, rise and explode into splinters-type movement.

We're trying to grow sustainably, which is a common theme in many areas, like the environment. I'm really proud that this has happened. There's been a couple of drop-offs in users by feature, et cetera. And those are for -- can anyone guess what happened in August?

>> Facebook killed its API!

>> Thanks, Lily.

>> Facebook killed its API.

That dropped off with a lot of backfeed. And I personally stopped posting to Facebook then.

The second dropoff happened when Google killed G+. There were apparently quite a few people using G+. But as you can see the stats overall kept rising.

Number of users, Webmention sent. This is the one I'm particularly proud of, the number of Webmentions sent continues to grow and the number of unique domains. That's the best indicator we have for how many people are using Bridgy as a representation as a subset of the whole IndieWeb. We know it's maybe -- I don't know, somewhere between 1-10% we don't have accurate stats, it'd be great if we did. Relative growth is always a good thing to see like that.

All right. So, those are our awesome things that have happened. The things that we're making progress on. Travel assistance. Last year, we were late to do this. We were able to offer one, and we weren't able to arrange logistics in time. This year, we did it more in advance, we were able to offer a number of scholarships and have three individuals able to accept, plan and show up today so we think that's a huge increase.

[Applause and cheers].

And, we can do better. So, we -- the organizers have pledged to do better next year for organizing travel assistance, far more in advance. We're looking into seeing if there's a way to provide travel assistance to other IndieWebCamps. Because, hey, maybe it's better environmentally to fly people or train people closer to where they live rather than try to fly everyone across the entire world to one location. So we're going to be investigating that. That's something we made progress on. Could make better progress on.

We've got some challenges that we've incurred that we still keep running into. The biggest one we've noticed this year is WordPress and WordPress.com. There are a number of folks who tried to post RSVPs and things didn't work right. Because of maybe their theme, or because WordPress.com updated.

It continues to be a source of challenges and I just think we should admit that and find bold solutions to figuring out how we can get that 30% of the web to actually engage with us. We've got a lot of solutions there, we can do better.

All right. And that leads me to the last piece, which is technical areas of exploration.

I picked out three areas which I heard lots of discussion about. These are areas we don't have clear interoperability on the IndieWeb yet but we could, maybe even startin this weekend. This is the kind of thing that's happened every year. People have come up with an area they're interested in and made something work that didn't work before.

The first is private posts or groups. This is one of the top reasons I still hear from people for using Facebook. It offers a convenient UI for sharing things privately, with individuals or small groups of people. It's something that I think we can do on our own sites. It's something that still needs figuring out, the UX and protocols. But I think we can solve it like we've solved our previous use cases.

The second is payments. You know, if we want to make progress in payments, we want to figure out a way for people to actually transact, peer to peer and not depend on a new centralized currency driven by a large social media company and a bunch of blockchain companies and credit card companies. Maybe that's not the best thing for the planet and for independence and liberty and all the things we talk about.

So how to handle payments and offering services on the IndieWeb, or getting paid for stuff like articles or podcasts, I think that's an area worth exploring.

And the last one is discovery. This is always been a bit of a challenge and now that we have IndieWeb readers, social readers, I feel like the next step is to find a way for folks to discover each other, people they might want to follow, find each other in the community and connect that are a bit ad hoc right now. There's a lot of potential for progress here.

That's it for the State of the IndieWeb 2019.


  • Welcome
  • Accomplishments
  • Challenges - community, development
  • Community changes
  • Emerging areas of exploration


Gathering some bits to consider including

what are people looking forward to at summit?

  • emerging
  • existing yet growing concerns
    • fixing WordpPress
      • theme breakages (e.g. RSVP challenges)
      • logging into an WP console and typing a bunch of stuff, and checking a bunch of boxes is just enough friction to keep many from doing it as often as they'd like, as often as they may have tweeted before twitter turned into a cesspool.

More thoughts to consider incorporating:

  • succeeded at first step: quietly successful & empowering & getting stuff done
  • may not be perfect or optimal but we're making it work
  • pioneers out in the woods: thriving, happy
  • we're getting out of it the things we want out of it. (are we?)
  • could live like that a long time
  • should we eventually get to be in revolutionary mode
  • a lot of people try to change the world, and they don't get the first step.
  • indieweb has gotten a great first step which is noteworthy and extraordinary, that's good, but what's the next step in the journey, and how do we invest more in whatever it is going to take to get that next step happening.
  • It's possible, but not necessarily easy, not pretty, but it works

See Also