Jared White Photo of Jared

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

#website

Hashtag

No (Open Web) Regrets

I regret a lot of things.

I regret spending so much time contributing content to corporate social media. I regret expending my limited creative and financial resources all in the service of Big Tech.

But you know what I don’t regret?

Publishing content on my own #website. Yes, right here. And in other places I inhabit on the internet. And even on sites that no longer exist, because thank you Wayback Machine.

It makes me think that, huh, perhaps I should spending more time publishing content in places I “own”. Even if my website is technically hosted on a service I don’t control, the content 100% belongs to me, and I can take it with me anywhere I want because Cool URIs don’t change.

Maybe the #openweb would be in better shape if more people valued personal domain names as much as they value other things in life. I’m coming to realize jaredwhite.com is one of the most prized possessions in life.


The Blog as Publishing Hub

Blog: short for Web-log. A personalized record of content you post on the web.

Web: a shortening of World-Wide Web. A global network of hypertext documents all linking to each other.

So then, why is it rare to find anyone actually doing this with their blog? 🤔

There’s a term in IndieWeb circles called Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere (or POSSE). It sort of captures an aspect of that idea…basically you use your own blog to publish thoughts, link commentary, photos, videos, newsletters, etc., and then disseminate that content out to other services (YouTube, Twitter, mailing lists, your own RSS feed, etc.)

I tried POSSE in a previous incarnation of this site. I ended up not liking it. It doesn’t capture the workflows I instinctively prefer on a regular basis, nor how I wish the #openweb really functioned.

What I want to do is the exact opposite! IndieWeb also provides a term for this: Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate (to your) Own Site (or PESOS). They don’t recommend it, and the wiki page enumerates some of the reasons why. But I have come to realize I prefer PESOS for a lot of the content I produce, because it’s generally way easier and the UX is way better.

  • I like “microblogging” on Twitter. [11-2022 update: er, not anymore! 🤪]
  • I like posting videos on YouTube.
  • I like writing newsletter issues in ConvertKit.
  • I like uploading podcast episodes to Buzzsprout. (I don’t for this site, but I do use it for the Fullstack Ruby podcast.)
  • I like posting photos on…well, certainly not Instagram any more. 😂 Glass is pretty rad, but I haven’t determined if I want to reserve it for the “fancy” photos I take with my “fancy” camera, or simply give up and flood it with on-the-go iPhone snaps.
  • I like releasing music on Bandcamp. (Honestly, I don’t know of any indie musician who doesn’t use Bandcamp at this point!)

So the question then becomes: how do I post all this content elsewhere, then transparently pull in links and import content back to my own #website? Of course on a technical level, it means I’ll be writing lots of Ruby plugins for Bridgetown, the software I use to build my website. But I’m always musing on workflows that can be easily applied to the industry of blogging as a whole. I haven’t seen much evidence anyone’s truly cracked this nut. Also admittedly, dragging your own content in kicking and screaming from third-party silos is often less than straightforward (hence the notion of POSSE), because they have a vested interest not to let you feature your own content on your own website. (YouTube remains sort of a weird outlier here because they make it easy to embed videos anywhere, and youtube-dl is certainly a thing.)

Still, I’m motivated to figure this stuff out. I’ll let you know how it goes! ☺️


The Perfect Length for a Blog Post Is…

…nobody knows. 😄

I literally searched DuckDuckGo for “what is the perfect blog post length?” and got a wide variety of different answers all on the first page. I suppose it entirely depends on the genre, the author, and the audience. In other words, perfection will be forever illusory.

So I took a look at what I’d written so far throughout the year, and for short “thought” posts like this, the average seems to be around 300 words. For longer article-style posts, the average seems to be around 900.

Rather than leave it random chance, I’m going to try an experiment to see if I can keep the length of short posts a little bit shorter—say around 200 words—so that I’m more motivated to write and publish them, and conversely strive to ensure essays clock in at no less than 1000 words.

This is all part of my renewed push to design a more disciplined and appealing workflow for blogging. You’d think I would have figured this stuff out by now! 😂 (Always more to learn…)


Back to the #openweb I go. Not that I ever left it…but to be quite frank, it’s so easy to post and get immediate feeback on #Twitter that I spend most of my day-to-day “chit-chat energy” there and not on my own #website.

No longer! Now that Elon Musk is buying Twitter and taking it private, I’m done putting serious effort into creating content for walled gardens. Everything, and I mean everything I publish from here on out will start on my own properties and then get syndicated elsewhere.

I’m also in the process of switching from Revue (owned by Twitter) to ConvertKit for my email newsletter. In the meantime, feel free to email me to get in touch! 😃


new #website, who dis 🤓

j/k. I’m super excited to present my newly-redesigned website (still powered by #Bridgetown of course). The previous design was heavily centered around a “social network” vibe, as if you were looking at my profile page. I literally repeated my name and avatar for every post, and even had an ❤︎ Awesome button you could click.

This time however, I decided to go back to my blogging roots and come up with a concept that’s both retro and forward-looking. So in terms of typography, shading, mobile navigation, performance, and other small touches, it feels like a modern website…but at the same time it’s totally obvious that it’s a blog. It’s definitely my most holistic and disciplined personal website design to date. I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. One of my secondary goals in working on the new design was to create a codebase from which I could extract a Bridgetown theme for others to use. I don’t have immediate plans to start on that, but it’s only a matter of time… (meanwhile, if you’re curious, my website repo is open to all).


Nomadland Won Best Picture at the Golden Globes and I Had No Idea

I’m running a microblogging experiment over at HEY World (the new light-weight blog platform intetgrated with the HEY email service). I’ve published this and a couple of other posts since March began. Having fun so far! #website #writing #movies




Every few months to a year, I get an itch to freshen up the typography on my blog. I’ve been using Helvetica Now as my body font for a while, and I still love it. But for long-form articles, I’m now using Sina Nova. I think it looks ace!

P. S. In related news, my whole #website (blog/podcast/newsletter/the works) is now powered by #Bridgetown. Farewell #Jekyll — you were my first love in the world of Static Site Generators. Parting is such sweet sorrow! (OK, I’m being dramatic…Bridgetown is a fork of Jekyll. 😆)


Yo! I’m back from various work/family/travel obligations with a renewed vigor to get into a full weekly production schedule on both the podcast and video shows. There are a few major initiatives in the hopper which I’ll be announcing very soon. Part of what I’ve been trying to do is make publishing videos and publishing podcasts feel very similar in the sense that everything connects properly to my #website and is entered into my own content management system. (Yay for the IndieWeb!)

Along these lines, I now have a dedicated video page on my website! This is now the canonical location for all video going forward. I’ll continue to post segments of shows I do on YouTube, Instagram, and elsewhere, but the full videos will always be on my own site and hosted on Vimeo.

In summary, I have a plan and I’m putting it into action. :) You’ll see the fruits of my labor very soon…

P. S. If you’re not yet a Patreon supporter, there’s no better time to sign up than RIGHT NOW! 😁



Gitea - Git with a cup of tea

My latest fun geek project in my ongoing quest to use self-hosted, libre #openweb apps as much as possible is installing Gitea on a DigitalOcean server. I’ve used either Bitbucket or GitHub for hosting all my code repositories (including this #website), but I’m planning to transfer them over to my own Gitea-powered server going forward. The great thing is, Netlify (which I use to publish static sites) supports custom Git servers. Simply install the SSH key they provide, add a webhook to your repository settings on Gitea, and it just works! I’m a happy camper.


Welp, this is a thing now. First draft of my design for a new blog and course learning all about Stimulus, a lightweight Javascript framework from the Basecamp folks. I’ve really enjoyed working with it for over a year now…it’s made coding web frontends so much nicer!

Hoping to get the #website launched ASAP…possibly in February if I can keep up the momentum.

High-Resolution Image


I’ve decided (for the umpteenth time!) to resume daily microblogging. The plan is to post to my website once a day and syndicate to Twitter and Mastodon. I’ve really been enjoying other daily bloggers such as Seth Godin and Dave Winer for a while now, plus the folks I follow on Twitter who essentially use that platform for blogging. To aid me in this quest, I’m using Things to remind me every day at 11am Pacific to post something. We’ll see how it goes. 😃
#website #writing


Big news! I purchased the domain name openweb.social, which I’m simply thrilled was still available. I’m mulling over a few ideas of what to do with it. One possibility is that I’ll install Mastodon to power a new #openweb themed social network where people can discuss building a better community of content publishing and engagement via open protocols.

Another possibility that I’m just starting to tinker with is starting a what-if #website that deep-dives into the question of what it would take for #Facebook to adopt open protocols. What if you could take your “social graph” to another service (even one you built yourself!) and post content there, and your Facebook friends could still see your posts? And you’d still see your friends’ Facebook posts and even reply to them? It would make social networking more akin to email, where all email clients and servers are compatible even though they’re run by different companies and on different infrastructure.

Got any thoughts? Just click Message above (or reply to this email if you’re reading my newsletter) and let me know what you think I should do with openweb.social!


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