"You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world [wide web]." — Morpheus, The Matrix
Whatever the reason, you're done with sharecropping your content, your identity, and your self.
Our online content and identites 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.
Note: Perhaps with the 6th annual IndieWebcamp we can reframe the above definition and summary in a primarily positive way. We need a good writer to attempt to integrate and cleverly summarize the most potent of the existing positive why reasons.
Why Indie Web
Why have your own website
Control and agency
Better UI and UX
- Better UI/UX. E.g. better navigation and embedding than Twitter, a simple citation UI .
- 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:
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.
By POSSEing your post from your site to silos of your choice, you reach those who read primarily inside those silos, in addition to traffic / readers from search engine results.
In total you get more traffic and your ideas reach more brains.
Per 2015-05-04 Why you should have a blog as summarized by :
Having a blog can get you through the tough times, the lonely times and the confusing times.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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)
- 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!
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