But seriously, an idiot’s guide to the Indie Web

Some things get to me… The night before last, I barely slept because I’d been asked, via email, to join a WhatsApp group. Sounds a pretty minor thing doesn’t, it’s just a chat tool right?

Nah m8, it’s bollocks!

I’m at the frustration stage with people not using open source tools on the internet and relying on those provided by Meta, X, g00gle et al. It it irks me. Irrational I know but I’m an emotional person and I’m ok with that. So what’s the beef?

Meta has done SO MUCH SHIT and it’s comprehensively reported online and on mainstream news outlets. Them being cunts isn’t news to anyone surely?! So why use them? They have a network effect. That is all. “I need to use it because Lord Donk of Babylon posts there’ But what if they didn’t? Or more importantly, what if YOU didn’t? Eventually folks will start to notice. Where did they go?

We’re on the Indie Web m8!

The roots of this, for me, go way back… I’ll write more sometime, it’s deep but it was from 2017 I started to hear more about a world of servers and nodes, JSON files. Words that, while vaguely familiar were a total mystery, clever shit I didn’t understand. I started taking baby steps using Signal and Matrix for communication, I heard about Mastodon and started sniffing around. I set up accounts, tried deleting accounts, confused myself and got lots of things wrong.

Fast forward to now, I host my own server running Mastodon, Nextcloud, Peertube and Element. Hosted on a page I paid for online in the most anonymous way I could technically manage and enabling me to live my digital life outside the boxes provided by Silicon Valley. I have a small degree of internet autonomy. There maybe some reading this thinking ‘well obviously’ but I hope others who might Indie curious. I know a tonne of indie musicians so why not be on an indie web?

Why bother? It sounds long… and it is. It’s taken time to get these tools and understand the most basic stuff. I still don’t understand most of it! I use a system called Yunohost (I have no connection to them) that makes it absolutely simple for fools like me. It runs on a second hand ThinkPad computer thingy that cost me £120. It runs 24/7 and I added a UPS, a sort of battery, that covers short term power outages, that cost £80. Maybe that’s too much money? Well not really considering how rich Mark Zuckerberg has got farming your feelings. It sounds cheap to me. We know data is valuable right? To paraphrase the intro from Fame. You want data? Well data costs, and right here’s where you start paying, in sweat. If third parties want my data, it’s only fair they pay me for it. I’m sure we can work out a nice rate. £50k a year and I’d be laughing!

To go a little dark for a moment…

What got me vexxed with the WhatsApp has more to do with Insta and Facebacon but they’re all Meta. Support of one is funding the other and I don’t dig them at all. The stuff around mental health is particularly concerning. Self harming is up, suicides are up and studies have linked at least some of that to these platforms. As a fully qualified mental myself, I have first hand experience of this. I know what I’m talking about.

Society is caught up in a negative feedback loop using platforms designed to have a negative impact on our emotional states while still using those tools for networking purposes. We’re funding and using the tools causing the problems. Look at how political movements have used Facebacon. Hello Myanmar, Cambridge Analytica etc etc. That shit is fucking WRONG. Next time you’re on WhatsApp, why not invite Myra Hindley over to babysit…

I’ve friends who are political activists and they’re using Facebacon and WhatsApp to organise = working for the beast and putting people at risk from surveillance tools used by both commercial and government entities. Again these are so well reported I don’t think it’s my job to provide links. Use the internet… Ok that sounds a bit ‘Do your own research’ but we’re adults, we should be able to think these things through and not just click and share the first bait link on X. You know what I’m talking about.

The Indie Web to me is anti-politcal. Which probably makes it political. What does that mean? (I appreciate you’ll be thinking wtf is this stupid honky on about now) Well we’re just making the things we need. Facebacon shows an endless supply of bollocks from utterly banal and shit political commentators and england has had all manner of dickhead leaders from Joris Bohnson to Kieth fucking Starmer. So fuck that, it’s not my scene. I’ll crack on and create the change I want to see in the world. Politics can do one.

The Indie Web means buildiing our own tools. They maybe a bit shit looking, maybe the grammar is terrible but we’re on the fucking internet! And yes it takes time, confusion and failure but it’s also empowering. “Musk is a cunt!” OK, delete X. “Meta fucked up big time in Myanmar!” Ok delete Meta. “Mark Andreesson is a fucking bellend!” Like who the fuck is he anyway, don’t get involved in his scams! Peter Thiel anyone…

Honestly, coming from this idiot, you can do it. Be a useless idiot, not a useful one. We can do it! Let’s build an independent internet together * insert smiley face Phil Collins*.

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