As quite often happens when I discover some new thing or concept that peaks my interests, I become obsessive, descending into a rabbit hole of exploration and experimentation and lose myself. Because I want to learn as much as I can in as short a period as possible. So I’ll spend hours and days reading and testing and poking the edges of things. I become laser focused pushing other (sometimes important) things aside.
But as I've worked my way through trying various experiments with various tools in the IndieWeb toolbox I felt my frustration building. Some things were beneficial1 to my way of working, some things were more problem2 than a solution, and some things just didn’t produce the results3 I wanted.
I stumbled upon a blog post by Peter Molnar that I think captures what I was feeling and made me pause to rethink my efforts.
After encountering the IndieWeb movement I started developing the idea of centralising one's self. I wrote about it not once4 but twice, but going through with importing bookmarks and favourites had an unexpected outcome: they heavily outweighed my original content.
I kept long journal entries; notes, for replies to other websites and for short entries; photos; and tech articles - the rest needs to continue it's life either archived privately or forgotten for good.
I think Peter and I have different use cases for our sites and I think we both initially tried to centralize everything on our websites. But, I think I’ve come to the same place where Peter is now and some conclusions of my own. If my IndieWeb experiment has become a distraction then perhaps I need to abandon some part of the experiment and do only what works well for me.
The IndieWeb plugins — Brid.gy Publish, Webmentions, Semantic Linkbacks, Syndication Links — have all worked well for me. They all scratched an itch I’ve had for some time. I no longer worry about speed writing in-the-moment too short or too long comments on articles I encounter. With Webmentions and Semantic Linkbacks I can take my time to think before writing. I no longer worry that the comments to my posts are stuck on Twitter or Facebook. They make it back to my website.
But some things I just need to do the way I did them before I found these new tools. I feel like the problem with posting on one's site is that one loses some of the social aspect of some silos as well as the discovery aspect. Especially the discovery aspect. I also lose access to some of the analytics.
For example, I use Untappd to log and rate the ales I drink. Untappd can analyze that data and make recommendations for ales that I might like. I can also see a breakdown of my check-ins and ratings. I like drinking New England style IPA from home and my top-rated ales are from Troon Brewing. I also see what other beer geeks in the area are drinking and discover new locations and ales. I sometimes meet in person some of the people I’ve connected with on Untappd. And sometimes strangers I meet in-person becomes Untappd connections.
I think it would be very challenging to duplicate that experience publishing only on my site. So I used Zapier to push Untappd checkins back to Island in the Net and I manually link them.
It’s been a struggle to find a solution to integrate information from the other silos. Until I do, I will return to my former process of posting first on my website while creating a separate post on the silo. Before IndieWeb, that’s what I did for Instagram posts. But now I can link the Instagram post to my originating post via the Syndication Links plugin.
As Peter said:
Don't let your ideas take over the things you enjoy. Some ideas can be beneficial, others are passing experiments.
I’m going to use what works and is easy but focus on my content. When it doesn’t work; when it’s not. I’ll move on. Try another time.
- The following IndieWeb plugins are highly recommended: IndieWeb, Webmentions, Semantic Linkbacks, Bridgy Publish, Syndication Links ↩
- I’m looking at you SNAP Pro! ↩
- Experiments with Instagram and WordPress ↩
- Indieweb - decentralize the web while centralizing ourselves ↩