Why Get on the Indie Web?
In a word, autonomy.
Call it freedom or agency or control or ownership. Call it any number of things, but no one knows how to live your life better than you do.
The current state of the web for most of us most of time looks like this. We go to one website or app and publish some post. Then we go to another site or app to publish a different kind of post. Or maybe we cross post it from one site to another. All of those sites and apps are by other people or corporations. They all have a different set of users with different usernames, and different networks, with their own cultures and norms.
New sites and apps come along. We try them out. Some go out of business or get acquired and “sunsetted”. The sites get shut down. Our posts and URLs get destroyed forever. Rinse and repeat on another site over and over.
Nevermind the communities that take shape on these sites. Nevermind that when these sites get shut down the communties get disappeared too. We all find support through communities. If a community that we’ve come to depend on disappears, that can have a real impact on our lives.
All good things are wild and free. But we can’t be wild and free on an imperialist website silo1 that’s owned and controlled by someone else, especially a silo owned and controlled by a corporation whose business model is surveillance and advertising. We can only be wild and free through a model of self-determination and mutual aid.
Any website that we publish our creative works to controls the terms and context under which we publish.
If they want to delete our posts or account, they can for any reason with no warning. If they want to sell or give information about us and our activity to advertisers, law enforcement or governments, they can without our knowledge or consent. If any money is made from your published posts (say, from advertising views), you don’t see any of that money.
We love power and hate authority.
By participating in the Indie Web, you are helping to create an alternative to the corporate-owned, advertising-subsidized surveillance state of imperialist websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube (and all the rest).
The Indie Web looks like owning your personal website and publishing all of your creative works there. Notes, articles, photos, videos, events, rsvps, likes, bookmarks… all of the things. You publish how and where you want. Your friends, family, followers and fans can read and view your posts how and where they they want.
When I say a “silo”, think of a corn silo. There’s stuff inside of it. There is not stuff outside of it. It does not connect to other things. Everything is just inside of it. Some people call these “walled gardens”, but I think that’s giving them too rosy of a description. I don’t think Facebook is a garden where things bloom and grow. I don’t want to eat anything that’s grown in there. ↩