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Stepping back from POSSE

2 min read

Just a quick note: ostensibly to fight algorithmic propaganda, Facebook is shutting off API access to publish to profiles tomorrow. I expect other platforms to follow. That's completely their right.

The indieweb has this intrinsic idea of Publishing on your Own Site, Syndicating Elsewhere: automatically sending your content to other social networks. When we pitched this as part of Known, we rightly got a lot of feedback about outsized supplier power from the social networks. They could withdraw their APIs - and if the value in the platform was in this ability to syndicate, instantly erode value in the platform. It doesn't take an industry analyst to see that this criticism was right on the money.

I still see a lot of value in having your own website. I've been blogging since 1998, but switched to Movable Type in 2001, a new WordPress site in 2006, and then Idno / Known in 2013. I'm a little bit jealous of people who have had a consistent web presence for decades, but even this timeline has outlasted most social networks.

But I see less value in syndicating directly. I had already stopped syndicating tweets and status updates. From here on out, I'm going to stop automatically syndicating anything, and will revert to manually posting. I'm also going to make a strong argument in the open source Known community that syndication should be limited to webhooks going forward. In other words, third parties will be able to create microservices with a standard API, which your Known or other indieweb-compatible site will be able to connect to. You could click a button to notify those services (or have your site do it automatically).

But any kind of API maintenance would be taken out of the core code or official plugins. Not only is life too short, but it's long past time to stop building code on top of centralized silos of content.