Turning inner space into outer space

March 28, 2024

Join the independent web for fun, not profit

I’ve been making personal websites from scratch since the days of dial-up.

Two of those sites are still going. Newsonaut started up in 2010. Thriftmac — a collection of hundreds of links to free Mac apps — has been going since 2006.

The IndieWeb movement started in 2011 — maybe I'm part of it and didn’t know it. But I’m not so sure.

IndieWeb, from what I can gather, refers to creating your own website with your own design so that you are in control — as opposed to a corporation like Facebook that may not have your best interests at heart.

That makes sense to me, but I would more likely be part of a maker web movement if such a thing existed. I make and maintain websites because I enjoy it. Just like other people love to knit, for example. The joy is making something, not in what you can get out of it.

Joan Westerberg wrote a fine article: The creator economy trap: why building on someone else's platform is a dead end. She makes great points about why you should have your own website and use it as the basis for a platform.

But she also says it’s hard. If you’re trying to make money on the internet, then absolutely it’s hard. It’s hard regardless of how you do it. I tried it for a few years and quit after I realized I was making way too little for the effort required.

Now I’m back to doing it for fun.

You can do it for fun, too. Play around with a bit of HTML and CSS on your computer. You don’t need a domain name. You don’t have to publish. Just see what you can do. If you keep at it and find you’re still having fun, then think about publishing. Going live will cost you, but think of it like other pastimes — they all cost something. If you’re having fun, though, it’s worth it.

The idea of an independent web has been around since at least 2001, which, according to Tantek Celik was “perhaps the heyday of independent web”.

From what I can tell, supporters are mainly a bunch of tech nerds like me who enjoy doing web stuff. They should just admit it. What they really want is for other people to join in the fun.