Jailbreaking the Internet

I’m really happy to see that Klint Finley’s Wired article about IndieWebCamp, titled Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet, is now up. It’s a great piece, you should definitely go read it. I’ve certainly never heard this described as “jailbreaking the Internet”, but I guess I can go with that. :)

I think Klint did a great job capturing the heart of what we’re trying to do with the indie web, and how it differs from previous efforts we’ve all either witnessed or been a part of. Our current focus is on a much smaller scale this time around, both in terms of target audience (participants are encouraged to focus just on building something that works for them personally), and in terms of the types of solutions we’re trying build.

Rather than trying to replace the silos, their aim is to build tools that let you not only house data on your own machines, but also share that data with other sites across the net. They call this POSSE, short for “Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.”

I spent my first three years at Google helping to build Google+. I love so many things about what we built, and it’s the primary way that I stay in touch with many of my colleagues, so I’m not trying to replace it or eschew it by any means. But I also think it’s incredibly important to maintain control of my primary identity online, and that’s what the indie web is all about.

Blogs of August

I also love that Klint’s article was published right in the middle of Mike Elgan’s “Blogs of August” where he is trying to convince bloggers to give up their personal sites and blog exclusively on Google+ for the month of August. Needless to say, I think this is a terrible idea, especially for people who have already made the effort to set up their own site. I also find it terribly ironic and hypocritical that Mike doesn’t actually blog exclusively on Google+ himself, as he talks about in the comments of this post:

I write opinion columns that appear on Computerworld, Datamation, Cult of Mac, Cult of Android, Houzz and Forbes NetAppVoice…

… I also blog on +The Spartan Diet here on Google+, but also on http://spartandiet.org – which is the web site we are building to promote our upcoming book.

So, no, I don’t blog exclusively on Google+…

To be fair, Mike personally makes a distinction between what a blog is, separate from the content management tool used to write. However, I don’t entirely follow his rationale, and I would suspect that many people that are choosing to participate in “Blogs of August” don’t make the distinction either. At best it’s disingenuous, at worst it’s hypocritical and harmful to others.

If nothing else though, the willingness of people to abandon their personal blogs to write exclusively for a silo demonstrates that the indie web has a long way to go, both in terms of education as well as tooling. As Klint says in the closing of his Wired piece, “the movement is unfinished.”

Have you written a response to this? Let me know the URL: