Jared White Photo of Jared

Expressively publishing on the open web since 1996.
Entranced by Portland, Oregon since 2017.

Issue #18: 👉 OYOC (Own Your Own Content) 👈

Creator Class

The challenges and rewards of being an indie content creator building an audience one connection at a time.

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It may sound like I'm simply repeating the points I made in Issue #16, but this is simply too important to ignore.

If there's any clear takeaway for content creators from the tumultuous events of recent days, it is this:

If you don't own your own content, somebody else owns you.

Does that mean you should only publish content on your own website and no where else? No, of course not. That would be silly. 😅

But it DOES mean you should ensure content will “flow” through your own domain under your own control. Whether or not you're syndicating content coming from elsewhere, or originating content on your own website which then syndicates elsewhere.

As an example of this, I have a script I can run that will "import" a video I've published on YouTube to my own website. (Here's a recent post showing this.) However, it's not a full import as the video itself is simply accessed via YouTube's embedded player.

My next project is to add an integration with Bunny CDN so that when I publish to YouTube, I can also upload the exact same video file to Bunny. Then on my own website, I'll actually have two tabs on every video page so you can choose whether to watch the video via YouTube or Bunny. Yes, that's right. I'm effectively creating my own streaming service.

Will that cost me though in terms of lower view counts on YouTube? Probably. But I'm done chasing views. It's a fool's errand. It's much more important to me to (a) be completely in charge of my own destiny as a creator, and (b) actually use the web as it was intended before the hostile takeover of corporate media. I'll also be able to experiment with ideas such as providing video files through RSS for playback in "video podcast" clients.

Truth be told, I didn't even know until very recently that's actually still a thing and that players from Apple Podcasts to Pocket Casts (now operated by Automattic, the stewards of WordPress) support video! If "nerds" like me who are literally web developers aren't even aware of what's possible using open web technology, how can we expect the "normals" out there to understand any of this?

Clearly a huge process of re-education needs to take place on what the open web is, how it works, and how to use it. Enough with the utter nonsense of "follow me on Instagram" or "like this tweet" or "hit that bell notification". That's doing nothing but feeding the monster of corporate media.

The #1 refrain of a content creator should always be: go to my website and follow me there. "Following a website" through RSS or ActivityPub—or just old-school subscribing to an email newsletter—is the only technology you will always have direct control over, because those are all based on open standards and not under the thumb of any single corporation.

So go forth my friends and relish this moment! As I say on my latest Now page, “we thought corporations could learn how to be good citizens on the web, and that the benefits of centralized content outweighed the risks. We were wrong. And now a MASSIVE course correction is finally underway.”


’Till next time,



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