Trying this IndieWeb thing

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Last Sunday I was reading Hacker News. Zapping through the links I ended up on this Ask post where, as usual on HN, a thread about Facebook, Google and other web giants (or silos) are literally taking control of our lives, collecting way more data about us than our governments and selling our personal informations to advertisers.

For the first time, thanks to Aaron Parecki, I found about the IndieWeb. It took me a while to understand what it is (the documentation not the best), and surely I just scratched the surface. What I found out almost shocked me.

The fundamental idea is very simple yet incredibly powerful: instead of keeping on publishing your updates to social networks, own your own website and publish there; then, federate with other websites to create the same network structure that you find on the Silos.

The benefits of such choice are multiple:

  • You do not link the destiny of your productions to the destiny of the Silo. Should Facebook bankrupt tomorrow, we would all lose hundreds of posts, thousands of photos, tens of thousands of messages and many other social breadcrumbs that we only published there.
  • By publishing on your own domain, you retain actual ownership of your contents. You are not forced to give to Facebook, to Instagram, to Google or anyone else, greatly reducing their power to analize and target you. Besides, you are the ultimate authority for what can and cannot be on your website. No form of censorship or walled garden can be applied to your own domain.
  • This is your small, yet unique, place on the Internet. You are free to express your creativity here as you wish. Be it in the content or in the design, everything here speaks about you.
  • By owning a piece of the Internet, you help shape the Internet. That's right. You are an internet citizen, with passport and batteries included. You're not just using it anymore, you are creating it.

Without mentioning any other benefit, there is one, extremely important reason for adopting this format: this is how the web was meant to be. When in 1992 Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, he wasn't thinking at this large corporations owning huge pieces of the traffic. The idea was to allow people to write, share and talk about content, in the most free and diverse way you can think of. To be honest, I am so surprised that this took this long to exist and spread, even a little.

This is where the web of tomorrow should be aiming at. A Web, after all, is a Web only when there are links to be clicked, edges to be explored and spiders (or humans) navigating it.

In the next few weeks I'll try to write more about the IndieWeb and my own implementation of its principles. This website runs on a scratch new Ruby on Rails 5.1.1 project, that I am working on right now.

This is my place on the Web. Be welcome and feel at home.

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Colin WalkerJay RobinsongRegor Morrilleli