Goodbye G+, Hello Matrix and Indieweb

And, poof!, there goes another “walled garden”. Goodbye Google+, I won’t miss you. Rather than jump ship to another silo such as FB, I’ve been getting very interested in non-silo, “own your own digital self” alternatives, sometimes referred to as “re-decentralizing” the Internet because it originally was that way before these monoliths came to dominate it.

The website switching.social suggests “ethical, easy-to-use and privacy-conscious alternatives” to popular sites. I can agree with most of their suggestions. For blogging, there are several lightweight, Open alternatives.

To ensure you keep ownership and control of your next website or blog, there are two requirements:

  1. Connect it to your own domain name (mine’s at blog.foad.me.uk) so you don’t lose control of it and your links don’t break and addresses don’t change when you have to leave your service provider. If you pay someone (like wordpress.com) to run it, you’ll need to pay them for the privilege, as well as registering your domain name in the first place; each of these may be around £1 to £2 a month.
  2. Make sure it’s open source, so it can in practice be set up again somewhere else when your previous service provider shuts down or you need to leave them.

For how to Own your Own Data in terms of blog posts and responses, etc. — see IndieWeb.

For messaging, it’s got to be Matrix. It provides a user experience like WhatsApp and Slack but is Open, so you can choose who runs your server and how much it integrates with other services.

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