The Barrier

Chris Aldrich recently wrote a post on the mission of the IndieWeb where he said this:

Social media WYSIWYG platforms like SnapChat, Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, et al. have become a problem as they’re not allowing us the control, flexibility, and privacy we would all like to have while they pursue their own agendas.

In these terms, the general mission of the IndieWeb movement is to be the proverbial simple text editor meant to give everyone increasingly easier, direct control over their own identity and communication on the open internet.

Comparing the IndieWeb to "the proverbial simple text editor" is an interesting way to describe the idea, given that there are a plethora of text editors for people to choose from, and a multitude of self-hosted publishing platforms as well. Both of these products, however, tend to target the same market: digitally proficient individuals who have experienced way too much friction with the full-featured, commercially-backed options that are generally accepted by the masses.

Over the coming year, I hope to bridge the gap between "WYSIWYG platforms" and the text-editor self-hosted solutions with 10C v5, which will most likely be renamed "Streams" given it's focus on presenting flows of information. Just like 10Cv4, there will be a hosted version that I will offer the world to anyone interested in using it. Unlike 10Cv4, the new version will be available for people to host themselves. As of this writing, I've managed to get the installation and configuration down to a single line on an Ubuntu Server shell through the use of snap packages1, but this may still be too complicated for most.

Despite passively learning about the myriad of technologies and methodologies employed by the IndieWeb, I still feel there is far too much friction for the average person to actively participate. If we can offer the tools to allow people to more easily enjoy what they get from WYSIWYG platforms while also enjoying digital sovereignty, we may begin to see the larger organisations held to a higher standard.

That said, there is still a lot of work to be done.

  1. by going with a Snap, people do not need to install or configure Apache, MySQL, or any of the additional packages that make the software work. It's all done in advance and, because it's a snap, updates are instantly rolled out without the need for people to manage the software themselves. Yes, updates can be disabled.