“Be your own social network.”
Very good podcast with Greg McVerry. Off the bat:
The idea of blogging on my own domain and switching was part of my own growth. Whereas I think I—you know, you start on—everybody starts on some kind of scaffolded platform. Very few people just jump into HTML or build a, you know, CMS. They start on some kind of shared host. And that used to be blogging.
I have also been thinking that a domain gives you some resiliency against impersonation. If a Twitter user has a name close enough to mine and uses my same avatar, they can really come off as me. But mimicking my own domain and styling is a steeper barrier.
I also like the term ‘scaffolded platform’—which rings of Vygotsky rather than marketspeak—and I think it is far more interesting to think of innovating our scaffolded platforms rather than our social networks.
He also has some comments about how his online community, that of educators talking to and writing to each other, started trying to build things with RSS and blogs—but that it was a struggle until Known spread, and Wordpress with Indieweb support spread, among his group.
He touches on RSS later in the discussion:
I think ‘mass follow’ feeds have like: it leaves a problem, it’s like, I just literally deleted my entire RSS feed after, what, like fifteen years I’ve been using it. Just because it got so broken with copying this OPML file and this file and this blog going like—I never groomed it. I’m a bad tagger, categorizer. I’m not good at, like, putting things away.
Greg goes on with an idea of a ‘reader’ which catalogs any blog that he makes a ‘follow’ post about. And it just adds them to his ‘network’.
I feel similar pain—I want to keep track of a lot more blogs and wikis than I actually have time for. I just wish I had a kind of dashboard that would show me an overview of what all the sites I read have been up to—and it would prioritize those sites that I am keeping a very close eye on—and it would just give me direct links to those blogs so that I could get around my network easier. I just don’t care for RSS—I like what it’s trying to do, but it’s not doing it for me.
Near the end, he also points out the friction between privacy and the Indieweb:
Private groups: that is, like, the—that is—that’s the cash cow—I won’t say ‘cash cow’ as in ‘moneymaker’—but like, that’s always been the long-term goal. I don’t know if you’ve read Hertling’s Kill Process, but that idea of the Indieweb needing private posting—like the semi-private posting […] there’s something there.
It’s weird, but I really agree with this! I say ‘weird’ because part of me just wants to give up on privacy on the Web—maybe we just have to accept that everything is private. But this sucks—there are many private thoughts and nascent ideas that I want to store here, to collaborate on in the shadows. If the ‘blog’/‘wiki’ can be a ‘home’—then it needs its hiding places, its private gathering rooms. (And it does have these—just not on blogs, generally.)
I’ve been thinking about taking a stab at this with Indieweb.xyz. Greg mentions using h-cards to accomplish this. And his idea can certainly work and I would like to see it happen. But I may not want my whole blog to go private—I also envision myself posting some things to private groups, some things to public groups, some things that are general public musings. And I think Indieweb.xyz works well for this—you add the link to your post and that post goes to that group.
What I think I will add is encryption. So, basically, you could create a ‘sub’ that is a whitelist—you add blogs or wikis to the ‘sub’ individually. If the ‘sub’ is marked private, those blogs or wikis will need to login with IndieAuth to get a key to read the posts. The hard part would be encrypting the post on the blog itself—you’d need an extension or a separate tool for that.
The nice thing is that a static blog could suddenly support private groups without much trouble. (And, in fact, the static blog software could store the unencrypted posts locally—much like an e-mail reader keeps a local database of fetched e-mail—so that the posts could be backed up for the author, in case the key ever got lost.)