Platforms are the key to influence in the modern era. We’ve spent years being burned by them and complaining about them for either doing too much or not enough. But what if, in 2019, we take a step back and decide not to let the platform decide how to run the show?
Great points by Ernie Smith in a NiemanLab journalism prediction piece. He suggests that email newsletters and apps like Mastodon are the way forward. Personally, I think email newsletters were and still are a backward step for the indie web. We used to have RSS and RSS Readers to syndicate content around the web. Although RSS is still used in the background (I use it to populate Mailchimp for my own website and the place I work at), RSS Readers have never recovered from Google’s infamous sunsetting of Google Reader. So here we are in 2018 and everyone is sending email newsletters instead of promoting RSS Readers.
Ernie says “email isn’t platform-dependent,” which is true. But it is subject to the restrictions of an email inbox, and suffers from the info overload of most peoples’ inboxes.
Another great point by Ernie is that “there seems to be an increased interest in the strategic advantages of a good content management system that is hosted on your own server and based on your own nuanced needs.”
This is why I still love Wordpress; it’s open source and the hundreds of widgets available to deploy make it relatively easy for me to adjust it to my needs. Of course I like the options provided by Micro.Blog too, but I don’t think it’s an adequate replacement for Wordpress as a CMS.