Blog indie radio static

If you still blog on your own site, read Jeffery Zeldman’s encomium and leave a comment.

As mentioned previously, the IndieWeb movement is bringing blog culture and technology forward. Watch Kevin Marks’ talk (slides).

Tantek Çelik is the person to follow, e.g., a recent post with essential history.

The IndieWeb movement is tiny. I’m merely a fan. WordPress (I use the software for this blog, but the service is at least as important) has done far more than any other entity/project to keep recognizable blogging relatively popular. For better or worse though, WordPress-based innovation seems to largely be in the direction of tackling various Content Management System problems, and following various trends in blog-like/competitor software/services, e.g., media sharing. Viewed in a really uncharitable light, is competing largely by bringing the features of a silo to blogging, rather than improving the technology and culture for independent website publishing/blogging. On the flipside, the ubiquity of WordPress probably makes it the most important software for further development of the IndieWeb.

On net the dominance of WordPress is probably good, but I also want to see more crazy blog/IndieWeb software, crazy meaning taking a very different approach rather than copying WordPress without its ecosystem. For example, remember the “bliki” concept? (Of course many implementations exist, ikiwiki being fairly popular, at least viewed through the lens of Planet Debian.) A few months ago there was a thread that touched on blogging within MediaWiki. Some of the posts (which I haven’t bothered to look up) said that MediaWiki makes commenting difficult. My reaction is that needs to be fixed anyway!

Another blog technology (and a bit of culture) development of note is use of a revision control system (usually git, usually public; wikis provide a facsimile of this; WordPress stores revisions, but those are never public and I find hard to use for anything other than a first tier backup/recovery) to write/manage/publish posts, usually associated with publishing a static site/blog. I find this compelling, but as far as I know IndieWeb/blog technology beyond feeds is underdeveloped for any static site generator (e.g., a popular one).

Jason Kottke recently wrote The blog is dead, long live the blog, which includes some bits I wasn’t fully aware of…about “social media”:

Twitter is coming to resemble radio news as media outlets repost the same stories throughout the day, ICYMI (in case you missed it).

The only mega-tweeter I follow (actually on is Glyn Moody. I noticed Moody recently started reposting the same stories multiple times. I find this pretty annoying. Note I highly recommend following Moody; one of the few people I know of who follows closely and comments intelligently on all varieties of knowledge commoning (and beyond), something I find sorely lacking in the world. Fortunately Moody publishes his tweets for each day on a blog. So now I’m following him with a blog feed reader.

I have to imagine self-reposting and general “optimization” of tweeting will lead Twitter down the path Facebook has taken, ordering posts by “importance” rather than recency. Maybe that’d be good for readers, but grants the silos more power. IndieWebber Ben Werdmuller writes “in the future we can each have our own algorithms.” Hopefully.

I occasionally blog about blogging in my blogs category. As far as I know my would-be contribution to blog culture, self-refutation, has not been copied. I intend to add a variation, perhaps annual thematic doubt, which would be far less daunting than individual post refutation.

7 Responses

  1. Ryan Barrett says:

    good post! glad to hear from more IndieWeb people using WordPress. i agree that its impact on the open web and IndieWeb ideals is complicated, but i also agree that on balance, it’s almost certainly a net positive.

    fortunately, WordPress already has a lot of good IndieWeb support, e.g. SemPress and uf2 for generating microformats2 markup, wordpress-webmention for sending and receiving replies, and Jetpack Publicize and NextScripts SNAP (among others) for POSSEing posts.

    there are also a number of ways static sites can accept webmentions, including webmention.js and

  2. Thanks! I went ahead and installed uf2 and webmention (already had /.well-known/, host-meta, and Webfinger from pfefferle).

    Edit 20131230: I disabled webmention for now, submitted some issues.

  3. I’ve recently been working on a couple of projects designed to aggregate large quantities of information (mostly news posts) from websites in particular fields. These sites range in scale from single-author blogs to mutinational behemoths, and can be from anywhere in the world (admittedly with an English language bias).

    What I’m dismayed to find, across all these sites, is that (at a rough approximation) only half of them have RSS (or Atom) feeds, never mind microformats, RDFa, or the Next Big Thing from Tantek Çelik. Instead there are the inevitable buttons linking to social media silos. I’ve seen things like a single image comprised of the usual logos representing “social media”, including the RSS logo, but no RSS feed on the site, suggesting there are now professional web developers out there who don’t even know what RSS is. There’s a UK think tank with a site which, going by aesthetics, has been running in it’s current form for many years, that links to “/RSS/file/goes/here.rss”; if anybody’s noticed this TODO, they don’t think it’s important enough to fix.

    If you follow Zeldman et al. it’s easy to forget that the vast majority of web developers are ignorant, talentless hacks. Most (approximation again) of these non-syndicating sites are built on off-the-shelf CMSes which have either built-in or plug-in RSS/Atom functionality; it’s just not switched on. I’m horrified to say so, but I think the first step in fixing the Web’s “social” deficit is to have an awareness-raising campaign for a 15 year old XML document type: “RSS EVERYWHERE”, “I WANT MY RSS”, or something. Only then can we get more ambitious and start to argue that RSS isn’t the last word.

  4. Matthew, I’m also dismayed by the ubiquity of logos promoting legacy Silos Harnessing Internet Technologies. And also to read your finding that roughly half of sites that ought to don’t have working feeds. I hope you publish some statistics on this.

    I don’t think the people doing self-identified IndieWeb stuff trying to raise awareness with “FEEDS EVERYWHERE” (side note: which RSS?, and besides the acronym failed to make it into the public consciousness) is the best use of their effort. They are only well known among a subset of long-time web people. Consider that I got a few offline comments from very knowledgeable people saying they had never heard of the IndieWeb before (one public). Related technologies need to be pushed forward too, and I’m glad IndieWebbers are doing that.

    That said I’m all for a lowest common denominator mass campaign, no ideas how to make one get traction though. Maybe could be combined with promotion of newer stuff with an analogue to for general websites. If that or something else sounds interesting I’m up for helping hash it out.

  5. I microblogged an egregiously out of context snippet from Matthew’s comment, like a bad editor (not to besmirch another entire class; many good editors exist). maiki took the bait, and did well with it. Much insight in his blogged reply.

    Part of it is that most organization websites aren’t directed by web developers. Related, bosses don’t see any value in RSS, but do in social media, correctly or incorrectly (maiki has some explanations). Maybe this is part of the reason the IndieWeb movement emphasizes web developers building their own sites, for themselves. It is early times, and web developers need to scratch their own itches, dogfood the results.


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