During the Indiewebcamp 2014/UK1 I’ve tried to raise one of the concerns I have with the decentralization: the problem of discover-ability. The reaction was that indie web is The web itself; use the search engines.
A long, long time ago the web was truly decentralized. Lots of small, individual sites, pretty dumb search engines ( we’re talking ~1999 ), no social networks, at max some incredibly hard to use forums.
During these years accidentally bumping into interesting topics was not easy. Finding things to read were pretty much limited to :
- some link-collector-sites,
- banner exchange3,
- lots of effort using old search engines, like Altavista4 which was doing pretty OK until the porn industry realized the potential in search engines,
- and by following lots of links.
Indieweb is not the same as what Tumblr told recently ( an aim to bring back the diverse, colourful, happy web5 ). The main goal it to own your content, to have the original copy of all reactions. Reply? I’ll reply with my own site, you’ll get a ping. I like your content? I push a like via my own site, ping yours, yay! Everyone is happy. Don’t get me wrong; this is probably the most important goal we can have today.
As usual, there are overlaps with other aims and goals, like ind.ie6, whereas some would even want to get rid of the evil silos with their corporate surveillance7, with their user-abandoning behaviour8. And for a little while, I thought, this was part of the indieweb plan from the beginning, but I was wrong.
Most of the “collecting” type works were demoed by searching for hashtags on Twitter. Twitter is a silo, a closed little world which we want to get away from, is it not? Apparently, this is where I was mistaken. And it is a shame that Twitter did not realize the potential of becoming the real-time web9 and going facebookish instead.
I was told that to search Indieweb is to search the web; it is the web, isn’t it? But the web is not ready for this. It might never be. I’ve read entries I would never have searched for, just by seeing the title on WordPress.com10, by browsing the recommended articles. If I intentionally had to look for these, I would never even thought of them. If the indieweb sites were not syndicating to Twitter, would it be possible to collect the posts based on hashtags with - for example - Google?
No, it would not.
We need silos - until someone comes up with an alternative.