Obviously I like having my own website quite a bit. And I like indieweb and micropub, and the idea that I can use my own website as a hub for my social activity. And I’ve just gotten started with this stuff, so I’m still learning all the ins and outs. But there are a few problems with indieweb culture that I’m starting to notice.

The biggest is the fact that you need your own personal website for most of this stuff, and free hosting will not do. That’s not a problem for me, but it is a barrier to entry for a lot of folks. Heck, even micro.blog lacks a free version. Maybe as time goes on we will find a way around this obstacle and more people will be able to take advantage of this cool way of interacting with the web.

Another problem is that indieweb seems to be very individualist focused. The idea is to “own” your data and content and keep it out of corporate hands. With noted exceptions, however, I haven’t found much in the way of community building resources outside of a few forums dedicated to indieweb stuff. I personally find that a bit unnerving. Community is very important to me. I’m mainly on the web to make friends. Of course integrating my blog and social media profiles seems to be helping that, but the idea of “owning” my data doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather no one own my info.

That being said, there’s a lot with indieweb to like. The fact that I can choose what sites to syndicate to makes me feel like I consent to how my data flows. There is a lot of stuff here that an anarchist can get behind. The startup cost is still an issue, but I don’t think its an insurmountable one. And I’d like to see more indieweb people focus on accessibility.

Overall I like this suite of features and will continue to use it, but I hope that these issues get addressed eventually. I would like to be able to recommend indieweb functionality to my friends, but at the moment it is still something that requires an investment of both time and money.

12 thoughts on “Indieweb: the Good and the Bad

  1. @xandra i think the lack of existing tooling for Doing Indieweb Things is a problem too? i started rolling my own indieweb site a few years back and ended up getting burnt out because there’s so much you need to do to make micropub work properly, and then there’s webmentions and webpush and indieauth and so on and so forthbeing able to drop in one django plugin or express package or whatever to get working micropub would’ve been a game changer

  2. @xandra and yes i’m aware there’s known and a wordpress plugin that both implement various indieweb stuff butphp is the worsttrying to develop my own stuff on top of that would also be the worstincidentally why does the actual micropub spec have php-specific bullshit like appending [] to the name of a parameter if it has multiple values. i hate it

  3. I really enjoyed your post and I 100% agree that we need onboarding paths for people who perfer to build community or others before building for themselves/

    Part of the reason I never liked self-dog food (beyond the trigger dog/bitch has for many, and dog as an insult in Muslim traditions) was the focus on “I.” Some folks approach open source differently with a “we” first approach.

    We ran a session at IWC West called “cooking for others” if interested. Would love to connect and listen to your thoughts on the issue.

  4. The community part is something that’s still being worked on. We get through it by having something akin to planets that people can follow (try subscribing to https://stream.indieweb.org/ for example! check out https://indieweb.xyz!) but there’s definitely more that can be done. What kind of ideas do you have in mind?I personally want to work towards having me define my community on my site (internally, of course) and let my tooling for subscribing to people adapt that and grow from there. That way, my site is always the authority to who and what I want to engage with.

    • I think what I’d like for ideally is something akin to a newsfeed or blogroll where I could follow my friends posts, and maybe divide it into categories based on interests/close friends/etc. That way I could curate my own feed and interact with people across the web. I think what you are talking about with defining your community on your site also really appeals to me.

  5. The community part is something that’s still being worked on. We get through it by having something akin to planets that people can follow (try subscribing to https://stream.indieweb.org/ for example! check out https://indieweb.xyz!) but there’s definitely more that can be done. What kind of ideas do you have in mind?I personally want to work towards having me define my community on my site (internally, of course) and let my tooling for subscribing to people adapt that… https://v2.jacky.wtf/post/064d6695-d43c-4501-a6c6-a35a0e419d31
    IndieWeb

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