The IndieWeb is a group of independent creators who use their websites as the foundations of digital identity. Web technologies both extant and under development are used to copy data from one site to another, which forms the basis of a distributed social network where each participant’s posts, likes, comments, and other personal output is stored on their own site.
IndieWeb held the 2019 IndieWeb Summit in Portland on 2019-06-29 and 2019-06-30 (with a pre-conference meet-and-greet on 2019-06-28). I attended, and enjoyed myself despite an all-weekend headache.
To taste the flavor of this gathering, consider the process by which I gave my RSVP.
I marked up1 this page’s HTML with microformats: special HTML classes which establish additional semantics for the HTML tags to which they are attached. I used the class which indicated that part of this page was an RSVP, as well as the ones which pointed out my name.
I sent, to a particular endpoint on the IndieWeb Summit website, an HTTP request which pointed at the Summit RSVP page and at this page. The endpoint then updated the Summit RSVPs with a link to my homepage.
IndieWeb tech represents a reaction to the centralization of social networking on big-industry websites. This attitude informs a core principle of the group: each member should prioritize implementing the features they care about. If I want to use my site as a source of identity, and for writing articles and notes, and never make any “likes” or use my site to chat with people on an indie reader, then that is enough. If on my website I don’t want to replicate what I think are the negative aspects of mainstream social media, then I am free to experiment with those concepts my own way, or drop them altogether.
This first foray into IndieWeb technologies intrigued me, and the conference did not disappoint – but I feel no need to document the event myself. If you’re interested, check out the IndieWeb wiki page for the event schedule, which was updated live with the results of discussions and hacking sessions.
I’ve since removed the special markup since it produced a formatting bug in the site. I’ll give other examples as I IndieWeb-ify my site.↩