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Hell has frozen over.

You can now follow me on Twitter. My username is @haxor. Some explanation is required.

I have tried for years to enable the federated social web. To me, that means the integration of social networks without cost, license, or human action. I have hoped that social networking would become just like email: Dozens of large providers, countless independent servers-- pick what suits you best because they all interoperate.

But that hasn't happend. My approach hasn't worked. In many ways social networking is more siloed now than it was three years ago. So it's time to try something new and reevaluate my outlook. I've tried to focus on what I find important given this new environment. I've looked at the services I use with more scrutiny. I've surprised myself with my conclusions.

I'll be following +Tantek Çelik's lead as he described at SxSW this year. The gist of it: own your content on your own domain; syndicate from your site; use social networks to connect with your audience. Do not let your content exist primarily elsewhere.

I've decided that Tumblr, Twitter, and a host of other services now pass my threshold of acceptability. They are vibrant ecosystems and they provide RSS feeds. That means non-members can consume information without agreeing to a legal terms of service (and a bonus: Tumblr is even real-time with PubSubHubbub). So now I'll be Tweeting out posts. I'm already mirroring to Tumblr.

I haven't given up on the dream. It's just time to regroup. IndieWebCamp (http://indiewebcamp.com/) is a great chance to do that. Hope to see you there.
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Peter Stuifzand's profile photoRyan Barrett's profile photoEvan Prodromou's profile photoLaurent Eschenauer's profile photo
22 comments
 
I agree with you. I find the current state of things to be extremely frustrating.
 
How on earth did you get '@haxor'?
 
This stuff will all still happen. We need to look at it from the peoples point of view. I think the reason this stuff doesn't take off is that we don't have a serious river, news feed, stream, a place where people log in, where everything (feeds) comes together that supports the protocols. And a single way to subscribe (a 1-click button). Also, this is not about social media. It's about the people, places, concerts, videos, messages, photos, links, articles and more that you care about.
 
Good luck. Every day I am cursing under my breath at the state of affairs and rooting for you.
 
+Brett Slatkin I understand your discouragement, but I hope you can keep your chin up. There are lots of people working on the problem, and we are closer than you think.

The fact that +Google exposes literally hundreds of millions of feeds to a world-wide, real-time social web is crucial to this effort, and I hope that you and others in the company to continue to support that effort.

Feedburner, Blogger, and YouTube are a big part of the open social web. Thanks for all you've done.
 
A virus first enter the cell to better destroy it. Welcome on Twitter :-)
 
And some shameless plug: three years ago, faced with the same issue, I wrote http://storytlr.org. So that I could use all these nice proprietary networks but still syndicate and own my content on my domain. It has been powering http://eschnou.com since then.

It still needs a proper Google+ plugin, so if you have some spare cycles ;-)
 
The problem is a complex one, and in many ways those that understand the problems are willing to make the compromises necessary to make it popular enough to win against those that are.

Facebook basically sold all the world's address book for $100b.
 
Anything that gives us more of Brett's wisdom is good even if its hell. Sorry
 
+Evan Prodromou Your slides are the first thing I’ve seen that makes me sad I missed SXSW. So awesome.

Since IndieWebCamp last year I’ve had dreams of moving to a system like +Tantek Çelik’s. I haven’t seen a way to do it that doesn’t lose connections and imposes a huge burden on the author.

For example, the thread of replies on Twitter get lost. And you end up losing the ability to reply using the very nice Twitter clients.

At least, that seemed to be the major tradeoffs I saw last year when I looked into it.
 
+Jason Grigsby Have a look at storytlr.org, I have a reverse flow than +Tantek Çelik : use your favorite social network tools (e.g. a desktop twitter client, instant picasa upload on android, etc) but then syndicate that content back on your own server (see http://eschnou.com). I think it achieves a similar goal with more convenience since it allow you to keep on using great desktop/mobile clients, while reclaiming ownership of your content. I'm the storytlr dev, so any ideas, feedback is welcome.

Note that storytlr can also 'push' to twitter, but I find this flow less convenient since storytlr lacks proper desktop/mobile clients.
 
+Laurent Eschenauer I much prefer the storytlr.org flow because as you say, tool independence. I tried sending tweets through Posterous at one point and gave up as I'd have to keep switching between TweetDeck and Posterous/GMail.
 
+Jason Grigsby +Michael Mahemoff while the reverse flow does have a substantial existing tools advantage (as does use of of any social silo), the reverse flow also has significant vulnerabilities, as I documented in my blog post:

http://tantek.com/2011/010/b1/owning-your-data

And those vulnerabilities do directly contribute to reasons to own your data first, and syndicate it out second.

There may be ways to setup a hybrid system, whereby you use separate secondary private accounts on social silos to post using their tools, and then automatically pull that content into your own site, and syndicate out to public profiles on social silos as in the normal #indieweb case. In fact, such a hybrid approach may be a good bootstrap method while developing your own posting client tools.
 
+Tantek Çelik I see. I can live with those service's downtimes (my own site would have its own issues) and with URL shorteners, I would have thought a a mirror can easily decode the URL as soon as the incoming message is received. I'm not sure how an acquisition or closure would affect one solution more than the other.
 
The problem both with using 3rd party URL shorteners and social silos as primary content repositories is that in both cases it encourages people to use URLs to those to cite your posts, rather than citing your #indieweb content directly.

This is bad for two reasons;

1. Fragility. All those URLs to 3rd party URL shorteners and social silos break both short term (site unreliability, database problems) and long term (acquisition shutdowns etc.). And yes based on experience, it is relatively easy to keep an indieweb site going that outlasts million/billion dollar acquisitions, even if it seems counterintuitive.

2. Loss of direct attribution / traffic, perhaps ownership. By posting first on your own cite, and then only copies elsewhere that cite/link back to your original, you can make a better case that you own the content. If the copies misbehave (abusive TOS etc.) you can delete them. You created your content and you deserve direct attribution/citation for it, and the traffic that goes with those links.
 
Sure, those acquisitions and closures (and linkrot) will certain occur in greater frequency than a $100/yr LAMP setup will go down, but I don't see how that makes the case any stronger for one direction of sync than the other.

And yes the URL shorteners will break too, but again, I don't see why the sync direction affects it. If your own site mirrors Twitter, your script will lengthen the URL as soon as the tweet comes in. The URL shortening service won't die in the 60 second delay between sending a tweet from tweetdeck and your script reconstructing it.

Agree on attribution, though I think it's really only be a theoretical benefit. In practice, people are going to RT your tweet or share your Plus post. As long as you're mirroring in those places, few people are going to bother to link back to the original source (or even be aware there's an original source).
 
Sync direction affects what people link to.

* post indieweb -> copy to silo with indieweb permalink (that's how you make people aware there's an original source) = people link/cite indieweb permalink

Whereas the other direction, they nearly never do (the reader has to know/guess your indieweb site has the same content and go out of their way to find it, instead of just clicking the embedded indieweb peramlink in the silo copy).

There's certainly more opportunity to improve indieweb citing usage/usability (I'm brainstorming this currently and posting a few notes on my site http://tantek.com/ )

Finally, breakage is not just a short term reliability issue - it's about conversations on the web in the long (and even medium) term.

It's not theoretical. Having posted on both my own site and various silos for ~10 years, I (and numerous others with their own sites) have plenty of real-world experience with what persists and what doesn't.

http://indiewebcamp.com/2010-199-tantek-fsws-talk#sharecropping_and_site_death
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