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 @firstname.lastname@example.org. (And that’s another side benefit–my social presence is branded to me, not mastodon.social or mastodon.world.)
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 @email@example.com. Or, god forbid, you actually want to email me? You can do that, too. You go, oldtimer, you go!