My many selves

Still trying to get to grips with online activity

Interest in the IndieWeb appears to have upticked ever so slightly over the past couple of weeks, which may be why I've noticed so many more posts about how and why people are posting to their own sites and their various social presences. I meant to weigh in much sooner on some of them.

I take issue, for example, with Colin Walker's post Self Portraits. If I understand Colin correctly, he seems to be saying that while we are telling stories about ourselves on social media, those stories may somehow be the wrong stories. To me, that suggests that there is one true story, one true self to be depicted in the self portrait. I think that's just wrong, and not only in the case of social media.

Long before there was an internet, there was Erving Goffman's The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which made plain what people may have known internally all along, that we present different selves in different interactions. I know my Twitter self, such as it is, is not the same self that I am here or in any of my other web presences.

Colin says he's "tired of telling the wrong story". He doesn't say why he thinks it is the wrong story, rather than a different story.

Anyway, the reason it has taken me well over a week to get that little rant off my chest is that I've also been thinking about those different selves of mine, and while I regard this self as the Mothership I also have increasingly come to realise that the friction involved in posting here is a definite barrier, especially for rapid conversational responses and the like. This was brought home to me while bringing over an old post from a previous incarnation.

I’m a baker, not a fryer, from about four years ago, tracked the development of my online presence through the various bits of software that enabled it. I was pretty overjoyed to go full circle back to static sites, thanks to Octopress. It felt good to get away from WordPress. Then Octopress stalled, and I gave up (prematurely, I now realise) on other static site generators and started moving everything from Octopress to Grav, which now powers this site.

Around the same time, I bumped into the IndieWeb. That reaffirmed my desire to continue to have my own sites. I never did go all in on Twitter or Facebook, although I did enjoy Tumblr. I quickly realised, however, that making Grav fully IndieWeb competent was beyond my abilities. With help, I managed to do some bits of it, but I also started getting into WithKnown and, lately, And when I finally got and WithKnown talking to each other, I was again very happy, although I did also ask: "what exactly have I gained".

So, here I am again, pondering the future of my technology.

It is a pain to write new stuff for Grav, requiring a whole bunch of time-consuming steps. There is a version of the theme I use that seems to keep the production site and the development site synced in both directions, which would definitely simplify matters, but I've been afraid of trying it in case I break something.

WordPress is becoming more and more IndieWeb competent, but it remains problematically opaque. In experiments, I never did get automated POSSE worked out, although it works fine doing it by hand. It's bad enough converting the old Octopress files to Grav; I've no desire to go back to WordPress.

On the other hand, there's so much more interest in static sites, and I know a bit more. Maybe I could shift over to Hugo or Jekyll or something else and still get the benefits of IndieWeb.

I can Tweet with ease, when I want, and knock stuff out to WithKnown (which will POSSE easily) and, and the connection between those last two can only improve.

Maybe I should save this site for longer pieces that reflect this particular me, the one that likes to write and likes to have something worthwhile to write about. Maybe I should embrace the ease of posting to WithKnown and make more of it here on the Mothership. At the moment, the sidebar shows some recent items from my Stream. I wonder whether it is possible to integrate the Stream more fully. An iframe, perhaps?

And as for bringing over the old stuff from Octopress to Grav, I think I am going to be a bit more selective. That's prompted by something else Colin Walker noted, the "importance of looking back in order to reflect and remember," which Patrick Rhone said in a podcast.

I'm glad I happened to select that post about my online journey to update yesterday.


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