Perhaps 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.
Why Indie Web
- 2019-10-20 : The IndieWeb Movement: Owning Your Data and Being the Change You Want to See in the Web (archived)
- 2022-07-01 a silo can never provide digital autonomy to its users
… the IndieWeb people have worked on a number of simple, easy to implement protocols, which provide the ability for web services to interact openly with each other, but in a way that allows for a website owner to define policy over what content they will accept.
Why have your own website
Many people have written excellent articles about their reason for having a website. Here are a few examples:
- 2012-07-23 : Focusing on the Positives: Why I Have My Own Website (archived)
- 2019-07-22 : Why I Have a Website and You Should Too (archived)
- 2012-07-25 : Why I have my own website (archived)
- 2021-05-28 : How I built my website
- 2019-02-28 : Write on your own website (archived)
- 2019-10-25 : Why You Should Have a Website (archived)
- 2020-09-02 : All Our Selves In One Basket (archived)
- 2021 : Fleeting Memories of Youth and the Increasing Impermanence of Culture - How will we remember our personal past in the future? (archived)
- 2021 : Internet Manifesto (archived)
- 2021-04-06 : My Web Manifesto (archived)
- 1997 : The Indie Web Manifesto (archived)
- 2023-04-26 : Dear Nienke, You Should Have a Website (archived)
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
(might be worth its own control page)
- 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.
- 2022-01-09 : Even in the days of MySpace, users enjoyed a level of control over their personal pages not seen today, with the ability to change the CSS and background image to their liking. Unfortunately, those times are largely behind us now—lost somewhere in the mid-2000s. [...] Some of that Old Web magic can be reclaimed for yourself by creating a personal website and truly making it your own space. Go crazy and make something unique!
Reclaim your attention and focus
Create & use an online reading & writing experience for yourself to reclaim your attention and reinforce your focus on what’s important to you, not what silos show you.
- 2022-01-02 The Guardian: Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen / Social media and many other facets of modern life are destroying our ability to concentrate. We need to reclaim our minds while we still can
Better UI and UX
- Better UI/UX. E.g. better navigation and embedding than Twitter, a simple citation UI .
- You can make your site look how you want. You control placement of everything from images to text to anything you have written. If something looks off to you on a site you have made, you can change it.
- 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.
- You can write the kind of content you like in a way that you think is appropriate for your audience. If you like writing long essays, you can make a design that suits that need; if you like shorter notes or just want to share recipes, you can make a site that lets you do that.
- 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)
- No visibility limits. There are no arbitrary character limits or limits on how much content you can see before clicking "See more" or "Read more".
- 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
See: own your links for how to and examples of making your links more robust and repairable.
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.
Or as mentioned in https://www.jvt.me/posts/2019/07/22/why-website/:
It's a great way to have a place to "scream into the void"
Learn as you go
Whereas working on a corporate project involves meeting requirements that are usually set by someone else, you can set your own needs. This starts you on a journey toward learning the technologies that will enable you to bring your vision of your website to fruition.
- You've experienced data loss as the result of company mistakes, their lack of a back up, or general corporate apathy for their users.
Goodreads lost my entire account last week. Nine years as a user, some 600 books and 250 carefully written reviews all deleted and unrecoverable. Their support has not been helpful. In 35 years of being online I've never encountered a company with such callous disregard for their users' data.—Nelson Minar
- 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.
- Your content was speciously removed for "copyright reasons" (often via an algorithm and without simple recourse) despite the fact that it was fair use, news and analysis, or satire.
"I plan to make ridiculous things more often. I initially had it up on SoundCloud but they took it down after a few hours as a copyright violation. Rather than fighting them about what my rights are, I’m just putting it up on my own site." — Tom Woodward
- Universal yanks TWiT’s ‘Tech News Today’ episode from YouTube due to Mega Video clip
- 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.
Identity loss, in indieweb context, is losing one's account(s), domains, and/or usernames for any reason, though most commonly this happens in silos.
A short list of examples:
- 2016-02-17 : The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens: That feeling when you hit a million followers, make more money than your mom, push a diet pill scheme, lose your blog, and turn 16. (archived)
- 2018-05-30 : Twitter Is (Retroactively) Banning Anyone Whose Date of Birth Says They Joined Before They Were 13 (archived)
- 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)
- "Dear artists (and other visual creatives): I know it sounds oh so very early 2000s, but BUY A URL (ideally your professional name, and set it to auto-renew with whatever registry you use) and PUT UP A WEBSITE. The last thing you want is to have your entire online presence dictated by the whims of corporations who don't have your best interests at heart. After all, since you're on Mastodon, you already know that!😉" @Elwell December 15, 2022
- 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
A narrowed personal perspective caused by algorithmic filtering of the content in one's social feed and the feedback mechanisms which are part of those loops; it was coined by Eli Pariser in their book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Penguin Press (New York, May 2011) ISBN 978-1-59420-300-8. There's more information about them on Wikipedia.
Most silos and social media depend on surveillance of your actions, both explicit like creating and interacting with posts, and implicit like reading, scrolling, to feed their ad-targeting business model and thus collect a huge amount of information about you, which they can use for any purpose.
Another good reason to pursue more independent, and privacy-respecting software & services is to avoid/minimize another use-case of corporate surveillance based systems like most silos and social media feeding surveillance into training corporate AI models for behavioral prediction/evaluation:
- 2023-09-01 When AI systems are used, they are usually used for surveillance / The President of the messaging app Signal, Meredith Whittaker, warns about the application of Artificial Intelligence. It’s important not to give big corporations linked to governments a free pass, she says.
and a warning:
The metastasis of AI as a kind of dominant and very hyped form of technology is antithetical to ensuring real privacy. It entrenches and expands the business model of surveillance, because its insatiable demand for data will naturally lead to more surveillance, more collection and generation of data.
… we are forced to use these services, and it’s not a matter of individual choice. Our lives, our societies, our governments, our workplaces are structured around it. This is not a matter of individual choice. Not using social media is cited as a risk factor in many AI assessment programs that assess people for social and other benefits.
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!
Tweets from others
(this section is a stub and should be expanded, please curate & quote from replies to this tweet!)
- "if you’re in tech, do you have a personal website? bonus points for why. 😇" @fox April 8, 2022
Articles and Related Links
- 2016-12-30 : Facebook temporarily bans author after he calls Trump fans 'nasty fascistic lot' (archived)
- 2018-05-21 : My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be? (archived)
- 2018-05-29 : 2017: maybe I should just use medium instead of my own custom blog? 2018: whew (archived)
- 2018-12 : The year we step back from the platform. Let's replace the shadows that Twitter and Facebook and Google have been on the media with some business-model fundamentals. As 2018 has shown, they've offered us a lot more heartache than it feels like they're actually worth. (archived)
- 2018-12-17 : 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. (archived)
- 2019-03-11 : 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. (archived)
- 2019-04-03 : When the Web Loses Its Memory
- 2019-05-08 : 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. (archived)
- 2019-08-09 : Talk about unintended consequences: GDPR is an identity thief's dream ticket to Europeans' data (archived)
- 2020-01-19 : I was thinking about why I haven’t joined TikTok and realized something: if Twitter did not exist and launched tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t join it either. I’m done jumping between social networks now that I can easily post to my own microblog. (archived)
- 2020-05-05 : The best bit about setting up your digital garden is suddenly having a home for all the odd-ball material that has never quite fit into other platforms and mediums. (archived)
- 2021 : Personal websites are often shameless self-promoting billboards or abandoned journals. Hopefully this site is neither of those things. This is my digital playground. I'm just gonna do whatever I want here, for as long as I want. (archived)
- 2021-02-10 : (translation from Hun) Technologies and trends are like clouds on the sky. They come and go; sometimes they rain ice, they rain water, and other days they rain nothing for months. Every now and then they shade you from the sun and make you glad, but the next time you wail at them for sunshine, for light, for warmth. None of these are under your control, so you have to detach yourself somehow. (archived)
- 2021-03-19 : it's tempting for engineers to think decentralising the Web can be achieved with technology. But really, it's people who will make it happen (archived)
- 2021-10-25 : The lesson for individuals is this: You must be vigilant about the informational streams you swim in, deliberate about how you spend your precious attention, unforgiving of those who weaponize your emotions and cognition for their own profit, and deeply untrusting of any scenario in which you're surrounded by a mob of people who agree with everything you're saying (archived)
- 2021-12-17 : There's never been a better time to build websites (archived)
- 2021? : I'm leaving the corporate web behind (archived)
The personal web is limitless... look at these great examples...
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- Getting Started
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- why post
- Reference: https://hachyderm.io/@liztai/110539922723812159