Why To IndieWeb?

I’m a blogger. Been one from 2004.

Over the years I have created a lot of content and across multiple platforms. However, when I look back, not all of my content can be found or is even online anymore. It is not a good feeling when you realize that something you have created is no more.

As bad as that sounds, it brings me to an extremely important aspect of the IndieWeb. It is here to stay, and I mean like forever or at least as long as you choose. Irrespective of the platform, the technology, or even your non-existent coding skills, the IndieWeb makes it possible for your content to stay on for a really long time.

Over the years, many content silos and web businesses have come and gone. Remember Orkut (I was very active on it), MySpace, Ping.FM (another one I used a lot), Friendster (another of my favorites), Digg, LiveJournal (did some blogging there), and even Yahoo (that at one time wanted to be everything for everyone). There are many others, and all of us have been active and used a few of them and then watched them die. More importantly (and sadly) quite a few of us would have lost a lot of content and memories that we would have posted and shared on these content silos.

How about email? How many of us have lost important emails and valuable data because an email service went out of business? Okay, I will leave email out of the picture for now because it’s not IndieWeb related, but do note that you need to own and backup your email.

I know I don’t have any of the content I shared on Orkut, not any of the conversations, photos, galleries, etc., all have been lost to me. I used to cross-post from Last.FM to Twitter, over 10,000 tracks I’d listened to over several months, all of them lost because I decided to delete my Twitter account one day. I know I am the one to blame here, but I want to highlight the fact that no recovery is possible because I do not own the platform or have access to the server. I lost a lot of photographs and albums because of a HDD crash and the online gallery closing shop.

Anyways, the takeaway here is the lessons learned, and of course the IndieWeb. You own your content, you control your content, and you keep your content (and all the memories) for life and thereafter too (as long as your spouse and/or kids are inclined to).

Now I have a list of all the music I listen to on Alexa on a Google Spreadsheet. It’s backed up, and even cloud synced. I also have most of my photographs and albums backed up and synced across multiple devices and the cloud. The same goes for my videos, content, random thoughts, status updates, drafts, post-its, a list of all the movies I have seen, a list of all the albums I own, a list of all the DVDs and Blu-rays I own, all the recipes, all the travels, etc.

I own the content, I can choose to host it anywhere, I get to decide who can see it (or not), and more importantly, the data will never be lost because Facebook and Twitter are no more (because of legislation, privacy laws, or simply bad business). I can always sync copies to the new Twitter and Facebook, or continue to self-host.

Now I don’t have any more “regret blogging” because there is a chance everything can be lost one day. It is still early days, especially for the IndieWeb and me, but I’m secure in the knowledge that my data is backed up across multiple servers and multiple services. It’s a failsafe arrangement that is not held hostage by the success or failure of any single business or the whims of an organization.

Go IndieWeb, at least to keep all of your content and memories safe and backed up.