Making the web your own

When Can Puppy Go Out

I could not agree more with John Scalzi’s post about the artisan web. I’ve spent a lot of time recently moving off of corporate structures that own the entire structure of not just what delivers your content, but the moderation and filtering of it, as well. His description of the why is compelling.

A metaphor is valuable here. Think of it as renting versus owning your house. In both cases, where you live is entirely your own, but the constraints and limits of renting are far greater than when you own a home. There are simply things that you can’t do and that you can’t stop that are run by the corporate entity that owns the building and property.

When you own a house, you obviously still have to tie into corporate structures for things like utilities and communal structures for things like roads. And, of course, there are laws. But at the end of the day, it is your own plot of land, and you have a lot of say in how you interact with others and what you can do.

That’s the artisan web that John is talking about.

To that end, I am moving from Facebook and Twitter to the social web, best typefied by Mastodon, but Mastodon is just one front end. I use Friendica, which is actually much more powerful than Mastodon in terms of filtering what you see and limiting who sees what you post. But they are linked and talk to each other, so it’s pretty much just a personal choice. Similarly, I didn’t want to be linked to larger groups to host my content, so I created my own server at Digital Ocean. The upshot is if Mastodon Social goes down, my little server will still be trucking along. You can find me at (And that’s another side benefit–my social presence is branded to me, not or

I’m pretty much moving my entire digital life “in house.” Of course “in house” doesn’t mean that I’m not reliant on corporations. I still have to connect to the Internet, and I pay Digital Ocean to host my servers. But it’s about as independent as I think you can realistically be at this point.

So I do recommend others to join a more personalized web. And, as John says, it’s not an either/or. I’m still on Facebook because I have important friends there. But it’s not my “home.” It’s like the local bar where we go to meet. If you want to find my home, well, you’re here! Or you can follow me at Or, god forbid, you actually want to email me? You can do that, too. You go, oldtimer, you go!

Always Hustling

Final Greenlights Challenge Banner (273 X 273 Px) (banner (landscape)) (1200 X 400 Px)

The members of my writers group like to joke that I’m always hustling. They mean it in the way that I’m always looking for ways to move forward, and while that’s true, I always consider it just plain hard work combined with taking advantage of every opportunity. One recent example was the feature screenplay I just completed.

In a previous post I wrote about the Greenlights Challenge. Here is the story behind my taking part, which involves a fair amount of hustle–risk, hard work, and taking advantage of every opportunity.

A large company that provides opportunities for screenwriters partnered with a management company and production company for a screenwriting challenge: Write a low budget feature film that is limited to five characters and five locations. The upshot is that there was not just a cash prize but an intent to produce the film into an actual movie.

Now two things about this really resonated with me: One was that I just like challenging myself, and someone putting limits on what I can write makes me want to do it just to show that I can. The other is that the initial judging was based on the first ten pages of the screenplay.

I happened to have an 8 page short film that has been very well-received and was also very contained in terms of location and characters. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to turn into an entry for this challenge. So I structured the pages with an additional scene, and at ten pages I submitted it to the challenge.

There was only one problem: If they chose your screenplay as a top fifty semifinalist, you then had to send in a full screenplay for them to judge to find the winner. I obviously didn’t have a full screenplay. I submitted to the contest with only ten pages. To make matters worse, the announcements were a two months away, and I was already busy finishing a novel.

Sometimes you need to have confidence in yourself and take risks, and that’s what I did here. I sent in the ten pages knowing that I’d have to write 80 more in about six weeks. Thankfully, I both finished the novel and was able to finish the screenplay before the deadline.

I wasn’t selected as a semi-finalist for the contest, but that really doesn’t matter too much. I really like this screenplay, and now I can take it to other producers and companies. Which brings me back to my writers group and my reputation for always hustling. I submitted to a contest with a tight deadline with an unwritten screenplay. Is that hustle? Foolishness? Hard work? Taking advantage of opportunities?

I’m not really sure how to describe it, but it sure was a fun and thrilling experience.