Month: June 2017

Why we should all care about Open Web

In a world where conformism often dictates our actions, advocating for the open web might not seem immediately rewarding. However, embracing the open web is crucial for several reasons, which go beyond immediate gratification or resolving personal challenges.

  1. Open Web as a Gateway to Innovation The concept of an open web is synonymous with the availability of open data, a critical driver of innovation and new possibilities.

Consider the example of a groundbreaking algorithm that deciphers semantic links between textual elements autonomously, a significant milestone in AI development. This algorithm’s existence owes much to open-access resources like Wikipedia, which regularly releases its data, enabling researchers globally to refine and apply such algorithms, uncovering intricate relationships between various entities.

Prior to this, a notable university project pursued similar objectives but relied heavily on manual input, proving less efficient and conclusive. Imagine the potential advancements if more data were freely available on the web. Instances of using open web data to visualize complex social relationships already hint at the untapped potential in various fields.

  1. Open Web for Data Permanence It might seem far-fetched to consider the disappearance of major social media platforms, but history shows otherwise. Several once-prominent platforms have vanished or declined, reminding us of the volatility of such entities.

In contrast, consider platforms like WordPress. Even in the hypothetical scenario of their parent company’s downfall, these platforms would likely persist, thanks to the open web’s nature. Various companies and alternatives continuously innovate in this space, facilitated by the ease of data transfer and independence.

  1. Open Web for Data Autonomy A common critique of certain major platforms is the lack of control users have over their data, from difficulties in searching feeds to the challenges in permanently deleting old content. This issue, coupled with algorithm-driven content curation, can narrow users’ perspectives.

Are most of the open web tools out there flawless? No they are not.

While the open web tools of today may not be flawless or widely adopted, they represent a step towards greater user control and autonomy. Simple actions like adding specific links to personal websites or employing microformats can be initial steps towards embracing the open web. For those more experienced, contributing to the development of better tools is invaluable.

The journey towards a more open web is ongoing. By understanding its significance and actively participating in its evolution, we can contribute to a richer, more innovative, and user-empowered internet.

IndieWebifying my website: part 1, the why & how

The digital landscape has evolved dramatically, with a significant shift from individual web presences to centralized platforms. However, there’s a growing movement towards reclaiming personal online space: IndieWeb. In this first part of “IndieWebifying My Website,” I delve into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of this transformative journey.

Why IndieWeb?

  1. Ownership of Content: One of the primary motivations for IndieWeb is content ownership. On social platforms, your content essentially belongs to the platform. IndieWeb allows you to own your data, ensuring that what you create remains yours.
  2. Personal Identity: Your website becomes a digital extension of your identity. Unlike social media profiles shaped by platform constraints, an IndieWeb site offers complete control over how you present yourself online. I love writing about Open Web technologies here on AltPlatform because it’s my passion.
  3. Interoperability and Connectivity: IndieWeb principles promote not just independence but also interconnectivity. Your website can interact with other web services and IndieWeb sites, creating a network of personalized, interconnected digital spaces.
  4. Longevity and Archival: Platforms come and go, but your website can endure. IndieWebifying your site ensures that your digital presence and legacy can be preserved over time.

How to IndieWebify Your Website?

  1. Choosing a Domain and Hosting: Your journey starts with selecting a unique domain name and a reliable hosting service. This is where you’ll build your independent digital home.
  2. Setting Up a CMS: Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or custom solutions can be used to build and manage your website. Some CMSs have IndieWeb plugins or extensions for easier integration.
  3. Implementing IndieWeb Principles: This involves incorporating elements like microformats (which help in structuring your content for better understanding and interaction with other websites) and webmentions (a method for websites to communicate).
  4. Creating Content: Start posting content on your site. It could be anything from blog posts, photos, or general updates. The key is that you own and control this content fully.
  5. Interacting with Other IndieWeb Sites: Use webmentions to link and interact with other IndieWeb-friendly sites. This builds a network, connecting your content with a wider community.
  6. Iterative Development: IndieWebifying is not a one-time task. It involves continually improving and updating your website, experimenting with new IndieWeb tools and techniques.
  7. Joining the IndieWeb Community: Engaging with the IndieWeb community through forums, meetups, and online discussions can provide invaluable support and insights.

IndieWebifying a website is more than just a technical endeavor; it’s a commitment to digital autonomy and a personalized online presence. It’s about creating a space that truly represents you, while also being part of a larger, interconnected web community. This journey might seem daunting at first, but the rewards of owning your digital footprint are immeasurable. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll share my experiences and challenges in this ongoing journey of IndieWebification.

Feed reader revolution: it’s time to embrace open & disrupt social media

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital communication, a new era is dawning – the era of the Feed Reader Revolution. This shift marks a significant departure from the traditional social media paradigm, steering us towards a more open, user-centric approach. It’s time we embrace this change and disrupt the status quo of social media as we know it.

1. The Rise of Closed Social Media Platforms

For years, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have dominated the way we consume digital content. These platforms, while successful, are closed ecosystems. They control what we see through complex algorithms, often prioritizing content that benefits their business models over what might be most relevant or beneficial to the user.

2. The Limitations of Current Social Media

The primary limitation of these platforms is the lack of control users have over their feeds. Content is curated based on engagement metrics, advertising agendas, and opaque algorithmic decisions. This often leads to a homogenization of content, where diverse voices and alternative perspectives are drowned out.

3. What is a Feed Reader?

A feed reader, also known as an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) aggregator, is a tool that allows users to curate their own content feeds from various websites and blogs. Unlike traditional social media, feed readers put control back into the hands of the users. They can choose exactly which sources to follow, ensuring a more personalized and relevant content experience. We love this a lot for various reasons.

4. The Advantages of Feed Readers

The advantages of using feed readers are manifold. Firstly, they offer an ad-free experience, focusing solely on content. Secondly, they provide an unfiltered view of content, free from algorithmic manipulation. This empowers users to break free from the echo chambers often created by social media algorithms.

5. Embracing Openness and Disruption

The Feed Reader Revolution is all about embracing openness. Open source feed readers, in particular, offer transparency in how they operate, unlike the black-box algorithms of traditional social media. They represent a disruptive force in the digital world, challenging the centralized control of content dissemination.

6. The Future of Content Consumption

As we move forward, the adoption of feed readers could significantly alter the landscape of content consumption. It promotes a more democratic and user-driven approach to information sharing. This could lead to a more informed and diverse public discourse, as users are exposed to a wider range of viewpoints.

7. The Role of the Community

The success of this revolution hinges on the community. By choosing feed readers, users are not just opting for a different tool, but are also advocating for a shift in how digital content is controlled and distributed. This movement towards open, user-controlled platforms could be the key to democratizing information in the digital age.

The Feed Reader Revolution is more than just a technological shift; it’s a cultural one. It challenges the norms set by traditional social media and opens the door to a more open, inclusive, and user-centric digital world. As we embrace this change, we not only disrupt the status quo but also pave the way for a more democratic and diverse digital future.