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Why we believe in the #indieweb

2 min read

The headline quote from last night's Homebrew Website Club meetup at Mozilla San Francisco was from Kate Losse, author of The Boy Kings:

"I'm here right now because I realized my favorite platform is writing on my own website."

The indie web is a movement of publishers, developers and site owners who see the potential of the web as a democratic platform where anyone can own their own space and participate as an equal. Rather than posting to a small number of silo sites like Facebook and Twitter, the movement believes writers, artists, musicians and other publishers should post to sites that they own.

By "ownership", we really mean "self-determination". People should be able to control the look and feel of their digital identities; who can see each piece of content; what happens to the data. It's possible that your site will live on a server that actually sits inside your home, but it doesn't have to. The most important thing is that, when it comes to your identity online, you call the shots.

As the social researcher danah boyd noted in her latest book:

"Privacy doesn't just depend on agency; being able to achieve privacy is an expression of agency."

Controlling who can see something you post is part of owning that post. So is controlling the look and feel, the content, and which media you choose to use. On an indie website, nobody else gets to say what, where, or how you post. On a silo, that might not be true.

How we represent ourselves online is more important than ever for individuals, businesses and organizations. Our web profiles are used when we apply for jobs, make business deals, meet new friends and start new relationships. Isn't it time we demanded that our identities were our own?