My former self just reminded me that it is 10 years since Google dumped Reader, “likely,” as I surmised then, “to send us all scurrying to Google Plus”. Which, of course, it dumped a few years later.
I have always known that I wanted to be independent of the major silos, and on that same day 10 years ago signed up for Pinboard, which has served me well ever since. It wasn’t until some time later that I discovered there was an actual movement — kinda, sorta — around the idea of owning one’s own data, and when I did I aligned myself with that too, to the extent I am able. The next thing I really ought to do is bring back some of the things I could easily do with Reader by installing a social reader.
And then there’s Facebook. Around the same time, it abandoned automatically accepting blog posts from a feed, which was a drag and which raised the question of what to do with comments to a blog post that were published at Facebook and so did not appear in the conversation on our website. For a brief period, the magical Bridgy filled the gap, but eventually Facebook blocked Bridgy too. The indefatigable Snarfed found a way round, but the truth is, I no longer feel the need to bring Facebook back to my own sites. I will interact there from time to time, but honestly, I don’t see any great benefit from doing so.
Of course, one of the huge plus points of the big silos is that they supposedly make it easier to get your stuff in front of gazillions of people. Maybe. I have no idea how many new, regular readers come here from a social post and then cut out the middle man. Maybe some. But discoverability remains a problem. That’s why I like the very nineties idea of a webring, connecting websites that have something in common, even if that is only that they belong to the same webring. I was shocked, then, to discover that I somehow inadvertently abandoned the widget that advertises the IndieWebRing in a recent clean-up. Unlike Google, I’m not afraid to reinstate something that clearly works. It’s over there → at the bottom of the sidebar.
Go. Discover someone.
Webmentions allow conversations across the web, based on a web standard. They are a powerful building block for the decentralized social web.