"You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world [wide web]." — Morpheus, The Matrix
Whatever the reason, you're done with others owning your content, your identity, and your self.
Our online content and identities are becoming more important and sometimes even critical to our lives. Neither are secure in the hands of random ephemeral startups or big silos. We should be the holders of our online presence.
Note: Perhaps at the next IndieWebcamp we can reframe the above definition and summary in a primarily positive way. We need a good writer to attempt to integrate and cleverly summarize the most potent of the existing positive why reasons.
- 1 Why Indie Web
- 1.1 Why have your own website
- 1.2 Identity and recognition
- 1.3 Control and agency
- 1.4 Better UI and UX
- 1.5 Freedom
- 1.6 More empowering
- 1.7 More author centric
- 1.8 More robust
- 1.9 Reach more people
- 1.10 Emotional Support
- 1.11 Avoiding problems
- 2 Why Indie Web Camp?
- 3 Why Indie Web Camp community?
- 4 Articles
- 5 See also
- 6 See Also
Why Indie Web
- Dan Gillmor: Why the Indie Web movement is so important
Why have your own website
- Brett Slatkin: Focusing on the Positives: Why I Have My Own Website
Identity and recognition
- Brad Frost:
Writing on your own website associates your thoughts and ideas with you as a person. Having a distinct website design helps strengthen that association. Writing for another publication you get a little circular avatar at the beginning of the post and a brief bio at the end of the post, and that’s about it. People will remember the publication, but probably not your name.— Brad Frost
Control and agency
- Christie Koehler: On my blog I have control & agency
On my blog I have control & agency. Full server logs, ability to block abusive referrers, control of comments.
Better UI and UX
- Customisable visual design: not everyone likes the visual design of sites like Twitter and YouTube. Being able to say "no, I don't want what you say I want, I want this", while still implementing the same set of standards means people have the freedom to innovate in graphical style.
- The freedom to decide what content and what types of content to publish. Set your own rules and your own limits. Erik 21:53, 3 July 2013 (PDT)
- Longer notes. Host notes on your own site that are longer (perhaps even just slightly) than the 140 character Twitter limitation . Tantek 16:58, 27 February 2013 (PST)
- Richer content embedding. Auto-embed images, video, and any other rich content you want from your own notes, instead of waiting for Twitter to implement it. E.g. compare original and tweet copy. Tantek 16:58, 27 February 2013 (PST)
- APIs only expose some aspects of your data: having your data under your control allows you to add new functionality to that data, adding new methods of discovery and connection based on the specific shape of that content.
- Link destinations see you / your site as a referrer and credit you with sending traffic. Some silos (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) wrap all links published in posts with their own link-redirectors (t.co, www.facebook.com/l.php?u=, www.youtube.com/redirect?q=) thus making the link destination think they're getting traffic from the silo in general, rather than from you and your profile. Links on your own site, however, notify destinations through the HTTP REFERER (sic) that your site (and thus you) are sending them traffic directly. Tantek 15:09, 13 March 2013 (PDT)
- Amazon affiliate links work. As part of their link-wrapping strategy, silos (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) may strip affiliate information from Amazon links, and/or only link to the where an Amazon link redirects to, and/or add their own silo-specific Amazon affiliate code to all the Amazon links in your posts! When you publish Amazon affiliate links in posts on your own site, the links work as expected. Tantek 15:09, 13 March 2013 (PDT)
- Fix links when they break. Another advantage of hosting your own content, you can fix links from your posts to others' sites when those links break. Real world examples:
- 2013-02-27 compare j.mp link vs longurl(edited 2013-058) on http://tantek.com/2010/145/t1/algorithmic-permashortlinks-diso-2-interview-ownyourdata). Tantek 16:58, 27 February 2013 (PST)
- 2014-05-13 http://tantek.com/2014/133/t2/moved-com-org-updated-links-indieweb-can
Reach more people
By publishing on your own site with good simple ad-free HTML you get better search engine rankings for your ideas than any ad-packed js;dr silo.
In total you get more traffic and your ideas reach more brains.
Having a blog can get you through the tough times, the lonely times and the confusing times.
- You're afraid of losing your photos and files (MobileMe closure).
- Or you've lost data due to badly written proprietary sync code (e.g. iTunes), or proprietary sync services (e.g. iCloud), and you'd rather use your own site (with more reliable/improvable open source software) to sync your data.
- Or you've lost content due to a production database being blown away, an acquisition shutdown, or post-acquisition migrations to services which were subsequently shut down.
- See site-deaths for chronology.
- You're frustrated by the downtime (Flickr down), outage(2012-06-21 Twitter outage), maintenance(Twitter maintenance), unscalability(Twitter over capacity), and database failures(Tumblr database issues) of web content hosting services.
- Your account was frozen because Google decided that you violated the Google+ terms of service (or violated their Gmail terms of service) and now you can't login to all those services you signed up for... using your Google ID. (more: 2012-04-14 , 2011-12-11: , , : "There's no legal reason behind Google's decision to block my daughter's account. They've chosen to implement these age restrictions in this particular way. They've chosen to lock up my daughter's data without warning. They've chosen to threaten to delete the data."). Maybe you got bumped off Twitter for tweeting too much, or you had a product with millions of users and a fan community that was abruptly shut down for an unknown reason. Maybe you were banned for writing a browser extension which allowed users to take control. Maybe you got banned from Facebook for using a "fake name", even though you'd already proven to them that it was your "real" name. Perhaps your account was banned by Twitter for retroactive reasons as part of broad brush strokes due to new laws in other countries or territories? Maybe you got shut out of your Tumblr account without explanation or reason?
- Or you've been disappeared from a hosting service due to trademark claims, e.g. Zephoria: "Tumblr disappeared me… " (see also follow-up: Zephoria: Resolving Trademark and Personal Reputation).
- Your identity is misrepresented by silos with no avenue to correct the false "facts," e.g.
- Amy Wilentz: "Google Killed Me".
Facebook’s use of “ethnic affinity” as a proxy for race is a prime example. The platform’s interface does not offer users a way to self-identify according to race, but advertisers can nonetheless target people based on Facebook’s ascription of an “affinity” along racial lines. In other words. race is deployed as an externally assigned category for purposes of commercial exploitation and social control, not part of self-generated identity for reasons of personal expression. The ability to define one’s self and tell one’s own stories is central to being human and how one relates to others; platforms’ ascribing identity through data undermines both.-- via Friction-Free Racism by Chris Gilliard, 2018-10-15
- Or your identity was re-assigned. E.g. 2011 Twitter re-assigned @girlgeeks to a trademark holder, then reversed it eventually but only at request of said trademark holder; 2015 How Instagram closed my account and gave it to a football celebrity
- More examples: site-changes
- Your blog was / is being removed because it's too racy by some undefined definition.
- Also see: Tumblr, @violetblue.
- 2016-07-14 Google deletes artist’s blog and a decade of his work along with it (Blogspot, Gmail)
- Or just one post was removed because a silo received a dubious DMCA takedown notice or caved to legal threats, even when content is used under fair use/fair dealing provisions. Running your own site won't guarantee that someone won't abuse the DMCA, but you may stand a better chance than with some of the social media silos, who quickly cave due to fear or convenience (your sharecropping provides less benefit than avoiding dealing with DMCA trolls).
- Sometimes sites with a content policy have removed content outside of that content policy.
- Sometimes sites with community guidelines remove content without indicating they're either doing so or without indicating which guidelines were violated
- Example Facebook is Censoring My Notes
- Dennis Cooper fears censorship as Google erases blog without warning
- Your art has been sold without your permission (or notification!) to a third party who then profited from it, for example, deviantART selling your work.
- You aren't happy that silo owners could use your work without compensation. (Instagram's terms of service change in January 2013 will allow them to use your work for "in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you" - see ).
- Your content was taken and its ownership errantly transferred to a big content copyright holder / media company. (YouTube video upload, 2012)
Content And Identity Abuse
- You dislike your identity being used to advertise stuff you never consented to advertise. Facebook again.
- You dislike seeing your content on silos surrounded by ads. Facebook puts adds in the sidebar next to anything you post. Other silos do so similarly.
- Facebook attempts to target you specifically with content you enjoy and thus creates filter bubbles. Over-personalisation of content by social media silos means you are often left unexposed to material you would find interesting or informative but which the algorithm has decided isn't for you.
- See If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here's How to Set It Straight (2002) for an early take on the "uncanny valley" feeling that you get when technology becomes too personalised.
- In 2012, Facebook conducted a study where they "manipulated the emotional content" of user's news feeds in order to see how people would react if they changed the ratio of positive to negative stories in feeds. This study was done without the consent of the users and a member of Facebook's data science team apologised after the study was published and then criticised. Personalisation apparently now also includes personalisation for the purpose of psychological experimentation.
- You aren't happy with the community or perceived community that comes baked in with the silo-based tools you use to publish. Perhaps you want to share photos of things you like without people making assumptions regarding your gender or race or social class (see danah boyd's The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online).
- Being part of a social silo, community, or service may potentially paint a person's own identity negatively by being a member of the service. 1
- Some social media silos may start out with neutral or reasonable brands which don't reflect on their users' own identities or personal brands, but over time they may become toxic, problematic, or promote ideals which their users don't necessarily approve.
- Some people have quit Twitter and Facebook because these services have allowed the spread of White Nationalist, Nazi, or genocide idealism(s), allowed users to cause harm to others, spread falsehoods, or even allowed other users to break the services' Code of Conducts with impunity.
- Some silos (example: Gab.ai) don't provide explicit marketing on their homepages about the types of (negative) community and members that they promote or encourage, but by being a part of the service and its network, people may unknowingly be branding themselves as aligning with a variety of principles which they don't personally espouse.
- Photobucket disabled hotlinking which they formerly allowed for years, rendering many images unreachable from discussion boards.
- What happens when Imgur goes out of business?
Loss of Income
Attempting to build a business or income streams on social media can have devastating consequences if your account is throttled via algorithms or deleted for any reason including potential reported abuse or site-deaths. Services like Twitter and Facebook have a history of deprecating or removing APIs which have destroyed businesses which were attempting to be built upon them.
- Instagram’s Christmas Crackdown: No meme account is safe—not even @God.
- Instagram Influencer Cries at the Prospect of Getting a 'Normal" Job after Account is Deleted
Why Indie Web Camp?
- You're here because you know this and you want to design and build a web presence where you're in control.
- Maybe you bought your own domain for vanity reasons but now want to put it to good use.
We, the organizers of IndieWebCamp want that as well, and have started building it for ourselves.
Join us and together we can grow the IndieWeb.
(More motivational examples/citations linked from: "Itches & Scratches: sharecropping and site death" - 2010-199 Federated Social Web Summit talk by Tantek)
Why Indie Web Camp community?
- Because building the IndieWeb is a continuous process. The IndieWebCamp event is inspiring, but we need to carry on doing so for more than a few days a year when we meet in real life.
- Because we can support one another and share the best way to do things.
- As we discover new ways to do things, we can document the crap out of them.
- Because some of you live out in the middle of nowhere. You are welcome to join in too!
Return to the Main Page.
- Getting Started
- Why web sign-in
- Fictive Kin's "Purpose" - about building things on and for the web.
- why post
- "2017: maybe I should just use medium instead of my own custom blog?
2018: whew" @geddski May 29, 2018
- "2017: maybe I should just use medium instead of my own custom blog?
- Write on your own website
- "We've never done much with @cluetrain other than give it a handle here. FWIW (& speaking for myself) I've long supported the #indieweb, and allied efforts. Not sure exactly what day the site went up in '99. I believe it was in April. Maybe @dweinberger knows." @dsearls March 11, 2019
- When the Web Loses Its Memory
- "Sometimes it feels like @vimeo is trying to push users away. For the first time in nearly 8 years I've decided not to pay for their premium services, and now most of my videos (including my own wedding video) is hidden behind a paywall." @jessedriftwood1 December 17, 2018
- "One thing I’m figuring out as I become more and more #IndieWeb involved: I really don’t care about my following to follower ratio. I only need to do what pleases me, and everyone justs thinks I’m doing what pleases them. It’s the perfect relationship." @ChangelingMx May 8, 2019