About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to “take back control”1 of my data. I had been mulling over the idea for some time, conscious of arguments that had been raised by web celebs like Jeremy Keith and Jeffrey Zeldman. I became aware of a growing movement known as POSSE – Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.
Remarkably, life felt simpler back at the start of 2016. The dismal events that have taken place since then are probably caused in no small part by people being so wedded to services into which they pour all of their innermost thoughts – which are subsequently harvested by organisations that analyse these thoughts to manipulate the behaviour of such people to their own ends.
Unfortunately, such is life in my shoes that it’s only now, a good two years later, that I’ve actually taken steps to implement my own system of publishing my data through my own channel first, and syndicating it to all other channels.
And so, as a first step to potentially withdrawing from networks and services with questionable ethics, I am bringing everything into this blog. I’ve set it up in such a way that I can tweet from here, share updates on the Facebook from here etc. I can even share across multiple channels at once if the mood takes me.
I suspect and hope that this will be a liberating process. If I ultimately decide I don’t want to be on Facebook, I can just remove the channel. Equally, if I want to join new platforms, like the wonderfully decentralised alternative to Twitter, Mastodon, I can just add it.
For those interested in the technical details, I’m primarily using the NextScripts’ Social Network Auto-Poster plugin to take care of all the behind-the-scenes dirty work. I’ve tried quite a few plugins, but none seemed to be as comprehensive and vanilla as this one. It lets you set up all the connected apps yourself which allows for an almost seamless way of sharing WordPress posts across the web.
- Sorry, I can’t help but write a post without being slightly political. ↩