Greetings! My name’s Jessica, and I’m a twenty-something leftie from Melbourne. A couple of days ago, I re-stumbled upon the concept of the IndieWeb(external link), but this time something about it struck enough of a chord with me to really investigate, and as you can tell, here I am now.

For a long time, I’ve been yearning for the days of personal websites and blogs. This is something I dabbled in a lot during high school and even into undergraduate uni, but as most of my contemporaries gradually migrated to the new social media sites springing up, so did I. And I guess I was content with them for a while, but as time has worn on they’ve become increasingly beleaguered by sponsored posts, privacy issues, algorithmic timelines, and straight-up bad coding that makes them run slow as molasses and strain my CPU. And it’s like, whatever happened to the old ways of coding small, efficient websites and just following who you want to follow? These days there are decentralised, non-commodified social media platforms like Mastodon(external link) which I think are great alternatives, but for me I haven’t found them a full answer to what I’m looking for. The main reason is that they still tend to be kind of limited; Mastodon is an improved Twitter, so if I want to post something longer I need to go elsewhere, and if I want to post a photo I tend to go to a platform better optimised for photos, and when I want to review a book or a game I tend to just do that directly on Goodreads or Steam, and in the end all the stuff I publish online ends up scattered across half a dozen different platforms. There’s also the problem of audience; I can post on Mastodon all I like, but my friends and family are on Facebook and Instagram, so unless I crosspost or something I’m not going to keep in touch with them posting on Mastodon.

What I liked about the IndieWeb is the principle that you have a canonical location for your content, on your own blog or website that you control, but then syndicate elsewhere for the people you care about on those platforms, a principle they call POSSE(external link). In an ideal world, you’d also be able to backfeed(external link) interactions from those syndicated copies back to the canonical post, but unsurprisingly many corporate social media sites have worked to thwart that strategy. Still, “post on your own site, syndicate elsewhere” feels like a nice middle ground where you don’t have to endure too much of the social media behemoths (just enough to check for replies and your loved ones’ own posts) but still get to stay in touch with the people you want to.

Now, when I decided to set up a new personal blog, I had a few different options for platforms I could have chosen. Ultimately I went with link), because the technical barrier to entry was very low, and I thought I’d be more likely to stick with something that didn’t require active maintenance on my part. I do think the underlying software, Hugo(external link), looks interesting though, and I’d be interested in using it to make more of a static website to go alongside this blog one day. I just thought I’d lose enthusiasm and give up if I tried setting up a blog with Hugo right from the off…

And there you have it; after a post that’s probably been unnecessarily verbose, you should have a good idea of why I’ve set this blog up. I’d expect to see a good variety of posts – long, short and photo posts, covering topics like cats, books, cooking, languages, technology and politics. (Consider that a non-exhaustive list.) I still need to work on how I’m going to syndicate relevant posts elsewhere, but overall I’m hoping this site will motivate me to stick at blogging long-term and stay in better touch with loved ones, all with minimal hassle 😊