I took a few hours over easter to get my website up and running and finally get to what I had been postponing for years: build my own social media. I’m pretty tired of companies asking me how I’m doing, nudging me which friends to catch up with and selecting the next special offer I don’t want. I don’t think it’s evil per se, it’s just boring. This isn’t what I supposed the world wide web to look like thirty years ago.
So I decided to go my own way and see how far I get. Publish my own timeline or whatever you want to call it, and offer it in any reader, platform free. Of course that’s only fun if more people do it. If you stick whatever locked in platform you’re using right now, I will have a hard time reaching you, and you reaching me.
Luckily it’s truly simple, and free if I you want it to be. You (micro)blog to a web site, bundle these posts in an rss feed and let people know about it. They can then follow you in any rss reader, which you can also use to follow them. There’s tons of them to choose from, they usually don sell you out and you can switch between them whenever you like.
Here’s what I did, needn’t take more that 90 minutes. I have a website, so I just made a category “notes” in which to microblog. Like everybody and their grandmother I use wordpress, so that automatically turns into an rss feed you can use ( https://www.jveg.org/category/notes/feed/ try it out)
I read a lot of my rss feeds in the wordpress app, which is quite okay and very convenient because I post and read in the same app. This way, it basically turns into facebook without the “we care about you and we own your stuff” bs. I can post whatever content I want to the timeline, I can comment and receive comments, I can quicky share stuff I find there and elsewhere on the web, I can like and bookmark and I can save posts for later reading.
It won’t include stuff that’s not on wordpress and doesn’t have the so called ‘jetpack’ plugin, but there’s no reason someone smarter than me wouldn’t build something that works around that. It’s open source after all. And you can also do this without wordpress and use any system to publish your content to an rss feed, and use any rss reader to read mine.
My second device is a dedicated rss reader, right now inoreader, that will let me follow anything that’s on an rss feed, which is just about anything. So my newspapers don’t have to be on facebook or twitter, I’ll take the posts from their website and read them in my timeline. And I’ll do that with your posts too if you publish them.
Give it a try, if you can’t be bothered to get a web domain, you can get one out of the box at for instance wordpress.com, for free if you want to, though you’ll have to put up with ads. Like my mother used to say, if you get everything for free, you’re probably the product.
If you’re going to try this out, let me know how you’re doing. Happy to help and/or learn. Stay free. Joost