My first IndieWebCamp

Long live lifelong learning

What an interesting, inspiring day. I thought I would be way out of my depth, but I was by no means the least indiewebified person there, and I was possibly not the least nerdy person either. During introductions I realised that, like Sebastian Greger, I'm an indieweb hangover from the era when there was no alternative to having your own domain and posting to it. So all this stuff about "still blogging in 2017" is hardly news to me. The technology, however, has come on leaps and bounds, and I have not kept up.

The early sessions on the basic building blocks were really useful and gave me a much better understanding of what the various bits are and how they fit together. With luck, that will help tomorrow, when the talking stops and the doing starts; we're all supposed to present results by the end of the day and I just have to hope that I will get the support I know I need to make my thing happen.

And then there were lots of more recondite discussions, for example on how a forthcoming law on privacy will affect what we display on our own websites. At present, if someone in one of the silos comments on a post on an indie site, the site may display the commenter's name and photo alongside the comments. The new EU Regulation, which comes in force next year, deems that personal information and says that if a person doesn't want you to use it, then you cannot. For indiewebbers, we do actually want our comments to appear on other people's sites, and we tacitly give permission for that to happen. Do we now need to state that permission openly? If so, how? And do we need to exercise caution when bringing comments left in the silo back to our own sites and displaying them there? Some people are already anonymising those. Lots to think about.

A final session on location consisted mostly of Aaron Parecki and Jeremy Keith exposing us to their favourite ways to make use of location data. Aaron is simply amazing for the breadth and depth of ways in which he uses location data, while Jeremy's trove of links about location is worth hours of exploration.

The thing that struck me was that while many people embrace indieweb principles because they don't want the silos to have exclusive use of their data, others are only too happy to let the silos collect that data, as easily and smoothly as possible, as long as they can extract the data, own it, and manipulate it to their heart's content. As with, for example, Instagram and Swarm, it is just so much easier to share first with the silo and then copy back to your own site, that what you give up in absolute freedom and ownership you gain in ease of use.

In the end, though, it comes down to a couple of things Jeremy Keith said in the introduction to the day:
It isn't about the technology, although that's a lot of fun; and
The indieweb community is both a bit selfish -- I want to do this on my site -- and very communal -- who can help me do it, and how can I help people do what they want to do.

We'll see how that works out for me tomorrow.

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