INDIEWEB.SOCIAL is a #Mastodon-based Fediverse instance that is a home for those who build, study, promote – or are just fascinated by – a wide variety of #openweb, #indieweb, #federated and #humanetech practices and technologies.

We seek to promote innovation and shared evolution and promotion of such technologies as well as to offer this instance itself as a platform to experiment with integration and early implementations of these.

Originally registered by Jeannie McGeehan, now co-administrated by Tim Chambers

To me it’s more logical to run ActivityPub individually, either directly from your own domain, or by having a separate single-person instance (such as in my case). Yet, I can see how having a group instance like this can be useful.

Before Techfestival‘s speakers and event partners’ dinner Thursday, Marie Louise Gørvild, Techfestival’s Director, and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, its initiator, said a few words. Thomas cited the Copenhagen Letter from 2017 singling out how our tech needs to be embedded in the context of our democratic structures, and how innovation can’t be a substitute for our sense of progress and impact. The Copenhagen Letter, and the entire Techfestival emphasise humanity as not only the source and context for technology and its use, but its ultimate yardstick for the constructive use and impact of technology. This may sound obvious, it certainly does to me, but in practice it needs to be repeated to ensure it is used as such a yardstick from the very first design stage of any new technology.

20190905_201141At Techfestival Copenhagen 2019

Technology is always about humans to me. Technology is an extension of our bodies, an extension of reach and an extension of human agency. A soup spoon is an extension of our hand so we don’t burn our hand when we stir the soup. A particle accelerator is an extension of our ears and eyes to better understand the particles and atoms we’re made of. With technology we extend our reach across the globe by instantaneously communicating, extend it into the air, into the deep sea, towards the atom level, and into interstellar space. Tech is there to deepen and augment our humanity. In my daily routines it’s how I approach technology too, both in personal matters such as blogging, and in client projects, and apparently such an approach stands out. It’s what recently Kicks Condor remarked upon and Neil Mather pointed to in conversations about our blogging practices, what Heinz Wittenbrink referenced when he said “they talk about their own lives when they talk about these things” about our unconference, and what clients say about my change management work around open data.

Techfestival in Copenhagen takes humanity as the starting point for tech, and as litmus test for the usefulness and ethicality of tech. It therefore is somewhat grating to come across people talking about how to create a community for their tech to help it scale. Hearing that last week in Copenhagen a few times felt very much out of tune. Worse, I think It is an insulting way to talk about people you say you want to create value for.

Yes, some newly launched apps / platforms really are new places where communities can form that otherwise wouldn’t, because of geographic spread, shame, taboo or danger to make yourself visible in your local environment, or because you’re exploring things you’re still uncertain about yourself. All (niche) interests, the crazy ones, those who can’t fully express their own personality in their immediate environment benefit from the new spaces for interaction online tools have created. My own personal blog based peer network started like that: I was lonely in my role as a knowledge manager at the start of the ’00s, and online interaction and blogging brought me the global professional peer network I needed, and which wasn’t otherwise possible in the Netherlands at the time.

20190905_201346Techfestival’s central stage in Kødbyen, during an evening key-note

Otherwise, however, every single one of us already is part of communities. Their sports teams, neighbourhood, extended family, work context, causes, peer networks, alumni clubs, etc etc. Why doesn’t tech usually focus on me using it for my communities as is, and rather present itself as having me join a made up community whose raison d’etre is exploiting our attention for profit? That’s not community building, that’s extraction, instrumentalising your users, while dehumanising them along the way. To me it’s in those communities everyone is already part of where the scaling for technology is to be found. “Scaling does not scale” said Aza Raskin in his Techfestival keynote, and that resonates. I talked about the invisible hand of networks in response to demands for scaling when I talked about technology ‘smaller than us‘ and networked agency at SOTN18, and this probably is me saying the same again in a slightly different way. Scaling is in our human structures. Artists don’t scale, road building doesn’t scale but art and road networks are at scale. Communities don’t scale, they’re fine as they are, but they are the grain of scale, resulting in society which is at scale. Don’t seek to scale your tech, seek to let your tech reinforce societal scaling, our overlapping communities, our cultures. Let your tech be scaffolding for a richer expression of society.

Techfestival fits very much into that, and I hope it is what I brought to the work on the CPH150 pledge: the notion of human (group) agency. and the realisation that tech is not something on its own, but needs to be used in combination with methods and processes, in which you cannot ever ignore societal context. One of those processes is continuous reflection on your tech, right alongside the creation and implementation of your tech, for as long as it endures.

20190907_120354Our group of 150 working 24 hours on writing the TechPledge

Much easier than regulating to break up Facebook, just regulate to force them to make an API for us to get data in and out. We can break them up ourselves once we have that. (source)

Neil is right, an effective way to break-up big tech monopolies is requiring they have API‘s. (Much like key government data sets across the EU will be required to have API’s from 2021 based on the 2019 PSI Directive)

A monopolistic platform that has an API will be effectively broken up by its users and by app builders as they will interact with bits and pieces from various platforms as they see fit.

That FB and Twitter e.g. have been on a path over steadily reducing public API access over time shows you the truth of that.

(Adversarial) interoperability and standards are key elements in avoiding vendor lock-ins. This is true for ‘smart home’ appliance silos just as much as for webservices.

If you don’t have an API you’re not a platform (platforms are after all bases to build/grow things on, if you stunt that ability you’re not a platform). If you’re not a platform, you’re fully liable for your user uploaded content. How’s that for a trade-off?

All platforms should be required to join the API family…

Picture taken earlier this month at La Folie de Finfarine in Poiroux

Op 28 en 29 september vindt IndieWebCamp Amsterdam plaats. We hebben een locatie, maar die is nog niet helemaal rond. Maar rond genoeg om zeker te weten dat IndieWebCamp plaats gaat vinden!

Na IndieWebCamp Utrecht in mei, is dit de 2e IndieWebCamp in Nederland.
Zet het weekend van 28 en 29 september vast in je agenda, en zorg dat je er bij bent!

Neem het web in eigen hand! Het is de hoogste tijd te zorgen dat het web ons tot dienst is. Door meer van het web in eigen handen te nemen. Het onafhankelijk web (indieweb) is het oorspronkelijke web, waar jij bepaalt wat je deelt, wat zichtbaar is voor anderen, en waar jouw data van jou is omdat het op je eigen site staat.

IndieWebCamp Amsterdam heeft geen publiek, alleen deelnemers. Op de eerste dag kun je sessies voorstellen of aan sessies deelnemen over elk aspect van het onafhankelijk web dat je wilt. Op de tweede dag bouw je aan je eigen deelname of bijdrage aan het open web.

Jij bent iemand die een open web wil, al wel een eigen site heeft of nog niet, misschien ben je ook ontwerper of programmeur, ben je een denker of een doener. Jij bent degene die we zoeken om twee dagen met anderen om het onafhankelijke web te bespreken, te verkennen, en te bouwen.

Meer info over aanmelding volgt eind juli.

Hossein Derakhshan onderschrijft met dit artikel in The Guardian de missie van PublicSpaces, Frank! Hij trekt het bovendien in Europees verband. Lijkt me terecht, juist ook omdat privacy, omgang met gegevens en de geopolitieke kant van data/social media een Europese aangelegenheid is, geen primair Nederlandse. @hod3r is denk ik een goede bron ook voor het diepere denkwerk achter de positionering van PublicSpaces. Heb je er nog ingangen, ben je er nog actief? Marco wel zie ik op de site.

This blog is a bit of a commonplace book, which I keep because note keeping is a key tool in learning, thinking and ultimately doing stuff. Even though this blog is mostly oriented towards professional interests, it also builds a pretty consistent picture of my actions, whereabouts and life events over the past 17 years. That makes it a reference for myself, and a source for checking memories.

Today at IndieWeb summit Jonathan LaCour made a call to action to remember “memories are important“, part of your identity so you should “hold onto your identity; not encumbered by any silos“, and ensure those memories are in a place you fully control. Memories and identity as building blocks of agency.

He incorporated various online materials over the years into his current site, all accessible through the archives. Which reminds me I should do something like that with importing my exported FB archive here.