Is the #IndieWeb just blogs/blogging?

What if I told you the phrase indie web¹ is older than the word blog or weblog²?

The IndieWeb, as it says on the homepage³, also goes beyond blogging.

And those are just the terms.

It should come as no surprise that conceptually:

personal sites in general, predated
personal sites with reverse-chronologically-ordered dated entries.

Good concepts, even if forgotten, tend to be rediscovered & reinvented over time.

When I first used the phrase "indie web" (two words) in 2010, I used it descriptively, an informal shorthand for the "independent web". I didn’t find out about the 1997¹ use of the phrase until many years later.

I saw & was a fan of the 2001 launch of the "Independents Day" site & its manifesto (at independentsday(.)org, since offline) that asked “if you create your own site”, to join them. That encouragement stuck with me, and was a source of inspiration nine years later.

In my presentation at the 2010 Federated Social Web Summit, I referenced the "indie web" again, and afterwards I proposed to @aaronparecki.com that we start something focused on explicit principles & practices.¹⁰

After subsequent chats & discussions, we settled on the term “IndieWeb” (one word). We started with three essential principles/practices, in today’s terms: “create”, “use what you make”, and “own your data”, which the community eventually expanded into 11 principles¹¹.

This brings us back to the original question, is the #IndieWeb just blogs/blogging?

In short no. Seemingly paradoxically, blogging is neither required nor sufficient to “be” IndieWeb as we use the term today.

Are IndieWeb sites blogs?

Some (perhaps even most) of them are. However, there are plenty of personal sites that are just a homepage¹², or a handful of static pages like a portfolio¹³.

Are blogs IndieWeb sites?

Some of them are, if they are personal blogs, or other forms of independent sites, like small organizations with their own blogs, on their own domains. However the concept of the IndieWeb goes far beyond blogging, or any jargon like decentralization or federation.

The aforementioned principles¹¹ provide a good foundation for the IndieWeb, and a good contrast from the prevailing project-centric attitudes of the day. The practices described inside each principle, such as owning your data meaning owning your notes¹⁴ as well, start to hint at what it means to do & be IndieWeb today.

If you have a blog on your own domain, and yet you post notes as tweets or toots on someone else’s domain, are you “doing” IndieWeb?

Such a split practice could be considered a mid-to-late 2000s approach to the “indie web”, but certainly not the 2023 IndieWeb. Since 2010, the IndieWeb evolved & extended far beyond blogs, into many kinds of posts¹⁵ typical in social media (but lacking in blogs), and site-to-site social web interactions¹⁶, like replies that looked like actual comments, rather than awkwardly displayed blog trackbacks/pingbacks.

Either way, if you have your own site (whether a blog or not) and create with it, like the 2001 Independents Day encouragement, come join us¹⁷, and we’ll help you get setup to do so much more.

This is day 25 of #100DaysOfIndieWeb #100Days

← Day 24: https://tantek.com/2023/027/t5/contrast-domain-chat-name
→ Day 26: https://tantek.com/2023/032/t1/years-relmeauth-replace-openid

¹ 1997-02-01 https://web.archive.org/web/20010805195949/http://www.uzine.net/article63.html
² https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog#History
³ https://indieweb.org/#Beyond_Blogging_and_Decentralization
http://tantek.com/2010/123/t2/blogger-turned-off-ftp-what-indie-web-diso (https://twitter.com/t/status/13329370781)
¹⁰ https://indieweb.org/founders#IndieWeb_movement_and_terminology
¹¹ https://indieweb.org/principles
¹² https://indieweb.org/homepage
¹³ https://indieweb.org/portfolio
¹⁴ https://tantek.com/2023/001/t1/own-your-notes
¹⁵ https://indieweb.org/posts#Types_of_Posts
¹⁶ https://indieweb.org/responses
¹⁷ https://chat.indieweb.org/

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