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Recording life on the ground

I'm more and more convinced that we all need to tell this story. Covid-19 landed in a world that was succumbing to nationalist leaders who enjoy bending the truth to suit their own narratives. The story of this global pandemic can't be left to them to tell. It also can't be left to the rich and powerful, or to brands. It needs to be a shared patchwork that we all contribute to.

I believe the indieweb has a part to play here. If it's at all possible, everyone should be writing on their own site, and backing up to a place they control. It should all be saved in the Internet Archive, and maybe on IPFS, and anywhere else you can think of. If one site filters stories out because advertisers don't want to be associated with coronavirus, or blips out because it went out of business, it shouldn't take the stories about this unprecedented period of history with it.

If you're wondering how and where to blog and share your story, I wrote this guide last year.

But of course, not everyone is equipped to write their own narrative. Writing is a muscle; I don't claim to have developed it perfectly, but I think I find it easier to get to a published post than many people. I've been wondering how to help people to share their perspectives without making it hard.

Over on Twitter, one person suggested around 10 questions that people could answer on a regular basis, and maybe upload a photo to go along with it. I like that idea a lot.

So here's what I'm thinking: I'll do the heavy lifting of building a platform that asks those questions. If you have a website that supports micropub, it'll post them on your own site for posterity. If you have a WordPress site, it'll use the REST API to do that, too. But those things are optional. You'll also just be able to post to the website and keep your answers there - and know that they'll be shared to the Internet Archive, IPFS, and some other redundant backups. The content will be made available under a license that will allow the entire archive of stories to be downloaded.

Aside from building this platform, which is my job, the only thing remaining is: what should the questions be? I have my own opinions, but I'd love to hear yours. You can always write to me at ben@benwerd.com.

I'll commit to providing an update on this project by this time next week. Look for an update on Tuesday, April 14.

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash