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.
- 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 Learn as you go
- 1.12 Avoiding problems
- 2 Why Indie Web Camp?
- 3 Why Indie Web Camp community?
- 4 Articles
- 5 See Also
Why Indie Web
- Dan Gillmor: Why the Indie Web movement is so important
- Jamie Tanna: The IndieWeb Movement: Owning Your Data and Being the Change You Want to See in the Web
Why have your own website
- Brett Slatkin: Focusing on the Positives: Why I Have My Own Website
- Jamie Tanna Why I Have a Website and You Should Too
- Ryan Barrett 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.
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'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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 2018-05-21 : My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be? (archived)
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
- Why I Have a Website and You Should Too by Jamie Tanna
- Silos cannot be trusted with your private data, due to the vulnerability of social engineered GDPR requests by others pretending to be you: 2019-08-09 The Register: Talk about unintended consequences: GDPR is an identity thief's dream ticket to Europeans' data
- “YouTube is under no obligation to host or serve content,” the new terms of service policy reads. https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/11/20955864/youtube-terms-of-service-update-terminations-children-content-ftc
- "Definitely with things like the Indieweb. https://twitter.com/disastrid/status/1211728271412547584" @antipentrap December 30, 2019
- "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." @mantonsblog January 19, 2020
- "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." @Mappletons May 5, 2020
- 2015-07-14 Hossein Derakhshan The Web We Have to Save
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.
—I'm Jack McDade and I'm tired of boring websites
"> "You must enable DRM to play some audio or video on this page"
No no no no no.
This isn't right.
The modern Internet is such sellout. It didn't turn out anything like what I'd hoped.
Bittorrent, semantic tagging, RSS, decentralized aggregation. Ownership. All dead or dying.
These companies are all gobbling up the commons and pushing us into serfdom. Apple, Google, the RIAA. The whole lot of them have poached and polluted the web and protected their profits.
Pretty soon we won't be able to "view source". It'll just be binary blobs with DRM. The browser monoculture will collapse into a universal thin client that leaves "standards" in the dust and takes away all the features BigCo developers don't themselves need. Nobody wants URL bars or ad blocking extensions. Those get in the way of the revolutionary UX they've prepared for us to predictably fawn over.
If Flash can die, one day 3rd party websites can too. In fifteen years your personal website won't even work. I can hear it now: "What's haitch tea tea pee?" Too confusing. Too dangerous.
Your tiny applet will exist within the WeeChat shell that is ChromeOS. The BigCo  will take 50% of your profits and make you obey arbitrary rules, lest your app be taken down. This bleak utopia is coming to Microsoft Windows too, because they know best how to Protect You™ and make your computing Trusted™.
All interactions will be recorded for training the models. You don't deserve that data yourself. Only BigCo has the resources and expertise to build their own. And they'll use it against^W for you to sell more ads and Farmville Loot Crates. You're just another whale to pump full of dopamine.
"Nobody would personally own an oil rig or an airplane, so why would anybody own a computer? What a laughable concept. Only big companies get to have those. Go back to your safe and easy to understand smart tablet that we've prepared for you, and consume your TwitterTok FaceFeed."
I hate supporting this. Economically or with my brain.
Stallman told us it was coming. Brace yourselves.
 there are several, and that is an important point, because several BigCo competing for your attention cannot possibly constitute a monopoly. That's an outdated concept from last century. Go be angry at your local representative and/or family members so you can drive more engagement for us."
- All Our Selves In One Basket
Plus, also, this website? It's like my home, on the internet. I have this online, virtual space that I can decorate any which way I want. I can add all sorts of things for people to read, talk all day about the things that interest me, make it any color, any pattern, any font, any layout. I keep it simple, yes, but it's my space.
If there's anything this pandemic has taught me, it's that I need this space to express myself. For the vast majority of the pandemic I essentialy did not have a life outside the digital world, besides the bare minimum like eating and sleeping and such. Most places outdoors right now are too dangerous, and I do not feel any sense of ownership at all in my current living space. The computer is all I have. It's all a lot of people right now have.