Put work you care about less—work for hire, short-form editorial, dumb jokes, random experiments—on platforms you don’t control, where the risk of failure is a distinct possibility. Leverage the resources of what else is out there. But when you’re working on the stuff that does really matter to you, put it in a place you have ownership of. Put it on your website. Send the newsletter using tools you run or manage—and be willing to pay for that right.
One one end of the spectrum with WordPress multisite might be a site that’s locked down. It has a narrowly defined purpose and very limited themes and plugins. You may find there is only one theme and the plugins are all network activated. Your choice in this space is still greater than what you’d get in Facebook or Twitter but it’s pretty tightly controlled. This can be good for some people and some purposes. It’s consistent. Very little can go wrong because there are so few choices. People are not overwhelmed by choice.
On the other end of the spectrum is what we tried to do with Ram Pages. You have a couple hundred themes and a couple hundred plugins. The goals is to make pretty much anything people wanted to do happen in that space. You can’t install your own themes/plugins but we’ve covered most of the bases and would respond to unmet needs pretty aggressively. If we didn’t find a theme, plugin, or combination that met people’s needs then we’d make one.
I’ll be hosting a Domain of One’s Own meetup on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at at 10:30 AM Pacific / 1:30 PM Eastern / 7:30 PM CEST. Everyone who is interested in the topic is welcome to attend. We expect there will be students, teachers, designers, web developers, technologists, and people of all a…
I am glad I didn’t go all in with Medium. I may have gotten more page views at the peak, but I think over time the long tail will be greater within my own domain. I am also feeling the same thing about Google lately. I used to cater to the SEO games, but after a couple of algorithm changes I haven’t been able to keep up, and my numbers are half of what they used to be. I find my time is better spend focusing on learning about the interesting things across the API sector, and writing a steady stream of stories, than it is tweaking the knobs and dials of the SEO beast. Google has become an ad engine, and I’m not in the business of generating revenue from ads, so it really doesn’t make sense for me to be playing that game full time.
If act one was the development of the technical, financial, and human resource models for building Domain of Ones Own projects, act two will I think focus on answering the existential challenge of integrating Domains into “normal” pedagogical practices.
I do not think Domains can thrive or that digital literacy more broadly can thrive, if we are only teaching digital literacy skills in DS type courses. The idea of consciously constructed digitally intensive courses that slowly contribute to the students’ digital literacies throughout their matriculation, seems more realistic. Just as no student is likely to become a great writer after their comp101 course, no student is going to grok the problems with social media, the difficulties of web sec, the affordances and production of multi-modal communication, the promise of new media, and the challenges of surveillance capitalism after a single digital studies course.
I think that this is a problem facing all facets of education, especially how we provide structured experiences, not just information.
It’s, of course, safe to assume that a web of personal websites will never be an equivalent substitute for a social network like Twitter. But that’s also not the goal. Personal websites are called personal websites because they are just that: personal. Thus, the primary objective still is to have a place to express ourselves, to explore ourselves, a place that lasts while the daily storms pass by. A place of consideration, and yes, a place of proudly sharing what we do, what we think, and what we care about. A place to contribute your voice and help others. A home on the internet. A place to tell your story.
Resist the siren song of the quick fix dietary advice of social media conglomerates, and setup your own blog and start building your course and disciplinary resources through a leafier, greener web.
To me, the ‘owning your own IP’ (because at the end of the day that is what it is, your Intellectual Property) is the key.
Do you own it? Is it protected? Can someone lift this entire article and post it as their own? THAT’S the ownership debate.
Weblogs@Harvard, as it was then known, was considered pioneering. Facebook didn’t yet exist. Social media was in its infancy. And starting a blog usually required some knowledge of code. Harvard’s blogging platform, now known as blogs.harvard.edu, made it easy.