Less Twitter, More Indieweb

As Twitter crashes and burns, it’s a good time to pull these two articles out of my deep backlog of potential blog posts.

Into the Personal-Website-Verse (2019)

Social media in 2019 is a garbage fire. What started out as the most promising development in the history of the Web – the participation of users in the creation of content and online dialogue at scale – has turned into a swamp of sensation, lies, hate speech, harassment, and noise.

Twitter, for example, used to be that place where you would meet nice and brilliant people from the web community and make new friends, where you could find and share ideas and inspiration. But Twitter has changed so drastically and I’ve seen so many people turning quiet or leaving completely, that I don’t know how long this journey will continue. As with so many technologies before, the initial hopeful enthusiasm that accompanied the rise of social media has given way to disillusionment.

…owning your content today wasn’t more important than ever…your content is not just something you happen to have created…it is also part of your identity. It is part of who you are, what you’re thinking about, what you believe in, and what you’re up to. It is part of the story you are about to tell. It is part of the change you seek to make. Your content is one of your most valuable assets and thus owning it is invaluable.

So it comes as no surprise that more and more people are looking for alternatives. Not only for alternatives to Twitter or Medium per se but to the way social media currently works in general. Many are craving for more control, less noise, and for having more real and meaningful conversations again.

There is one alternative to social media sites and publishing platforms that has been around since the early, innocent days of the web. It is an alternative that provides immense freedom and control: The personal website…

This used to be our playground (2020)

Tending this website keeps me sane. I think of it as a digital garden, a kind of sanctuary…if my site is a kind of garden, then I see myself as both gardener and architect, in so much as I make plans and prepare the ground, then sow things that grow in all directions. Some things die, but others thrive, and that’s how my garden grows. And I tend it for me; visitors are a bonus.

A personal site is all about energy and identity.

…year after year, we look at the web and wonder: what the hell happened to it? Where is the self-expression? Where is the beauty? Where are the bold statements?

…your site, whether an archive for personal thought or more of a visual/code sandbox, is a gentle, ongoing investment. You tend your domain like you steadily improve your home, and it can take years of false starts and incremental commits. Don’t think of it as urgent work, or — heaven forbid — a “side-hustle”.

I know that social media deprived the personal site of oxygen, but you are not your Twitter profile, nor are you your LinkedIn profile. You are not your Medium page. You are not your tiny presence on the company’s About page. If you are, then you look just like everyone else, and that’s not you at all. Right?

Previously, here:

Thanks for Ruining the Internet (2014)

Rebels: Episode 1 and Rebels: Episode 2 (2016)

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