From DHH, "No more platforms please":
Everything just scrolls by, because everything is just mixed together. Everything from everyone all the time is too much. It's unnatural and it's unhealthy. We weren't built to listen to hundreds if not thousands of people every day. Tools that let individuals publish, but do not seek to amplify them or force them viral, give us that natural, human scale. Newsletters. Podcasts. Small-scale forums. Yes, yes, yes.
More platforms? No, no, no.
I read through the Indieweb criticism and Small Web pieces I linked yesterday. Both are interesting and make good points, as does the Indieweb movement itself. But all of them share what I think is a common flaw: they're too technology focused.
For an indieweb-like idea to succeed beyond a niche following, it needs to solve the problems of normal, non-technical people. What brought normal people to Facebook? Among the main reasons were discoverability,aggregation, and extreme ease of use. Discoverability means easily finding friends & being found by them. Aggregation is the news feed: combining all your friends' posts into a single time-ordered page so you can scroll down and catch up. And the essential tasks were so easy to do in Facebook that everyone's mom could do them all by herself: signing up, finding & following friends, reading posts, creating her own posts, commenting, pressing the Like button, etc.
If I had to pick just one feature to start an indieweb, it would be discoverability. That's the killer feature; that's the core thing that made Facebook useful to normal people: suddenly, you could easily find your long lost friends from high school, and reconnect.
Without a user-focused discovery mechanism, these well-intentioned indieweb efforts are going to struggle to move beyond their small niches.
I love this idea of "sincere blogging," from Roy Tang:
Please write more.
Not just on social media, FB, Twitter, whatever. Write on your own sites and blogs. On your tumblrs, wordpresses, whatever. Long-form, rambling, incessant. The world could use more sincere blogging.
I keep thinking of John Gordon's "How to build a safe and sane social network" this weekend. "Essentially it’s the public radio model." Intriguing.
Unlike the raw indieweb -- interesting ideas, but a science project -- Gordon's is a model that could actually be workable. It's a federation of nodes, where each node is used by multiple people. The tech people (let's call them "tinkerers") can run the nodes, while the non-tinkerers can participate either for free or for for a small donation.
The critical part is that it allows for easy use by non-tinkerers, aka "normal people."
Indieweb's weakest spots are exactly where the big silos add most value: effortless social connection, simple UX, and hiding the complex infrastructure.