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IndieWeb, or how to avoid Digital Sharecropping

Thanks to the DorkbotPDX blog I found my way onto the website of this year’s IndieWebCamp, which took place in Portland June 25 & 26. Although I was saddened that I wasn’t in town for it, the projects that ended up being developed by the camp immediately grabbed my interest.

Although I had never been aware of the term “indie web” (which seems to have been around for almost 15 years, judging by this article from uzine.net), I’ve been building my own independent web presence for more than four years. In the words of the IndieWebCamp home page:

Rather than posting content on many third-party silos of content, we should all begin owning the content we’re creating. Publish short status updates on your own domain, and syndicate to Twitter. Publish photos on your own domain, syndicate to Flickr, etc, etc.

For some good summaries of the ideas and goals of the IndieWebCamp, this article from GigaOm and this post from Mark Hendrickson are a great place to start, while each of the camp’s guests also have their own websites, each with a wealth of information.

While I’ve been using this domain for quite a while, it’s been in use alongside Facebook, Delicious (and Flickr, to a smaller degree) as a part of my web presence. However, since I ditched Facebook five or six months ago, I’ve been relying on this domain for more, and overall I’ve been pleased. However, as the IndieWebCamp is readily willing to admit, there is room for a lot of room for technical innovation in expanding the functionality of the indie web. Towards that end, I see three threads of work that I’m interested in pursuing:

  • Using my site for Flickr-like photo sharing. While this might include syndication to Flickr at some point, I mostly want a light-weight DIY solution to photo sharing.
  • Similarly, using my site for bookmarking. I really like the service that delicious offers, but I want to own the data and let delicious simply keep a copy of it (see http://adactio.com/journal/4197/ for some ideas).
  • Finally, I’m hugely enamored of the work on delivery-agnostic messaging that took place at IndieWebCamp, which you can find details of here. Not only is it a ridiculously simple protocol, but it starts to address some real issues of a distributed social web, in that it allows two-party communication based solely on domain names as unique identifiers, therefore eliminating the middleman in social-web-type communications.
Hopefully I’ll have time to get one of these ideas worked out and running on my site soon (before school starts), so check back here soon, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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