Sam Wilson's Website

How to Have a Conversation on the IndieWeb

By . URL:

If you've read my previous articles on the IndieWeb, you might be forgiven for thinking that its members are, by and large, loners who keep to themselves.

Consider the concept of a "like", for example. On a site like Twitter, a like is an action you perform against another person's content; you click the heart icon next to someone's tweet, and the like counter for that tweet goes up. It's an implicit connection between two people - the one who did the liking and the one who received it.

An IndieWeb "like", on the other hand, is not an action you perform on someone's content, but rather a standalone post that you own and publish to your site. It's a reversal of the way people usually think about the transaction, and it reflects the premium IndieWeb members place on controlling their own content.

Notably, in the simplest version of this scheme, the person who's post was liked - the likee, I guess? - might not even be aware that anything has happened at all. I mean, how would they? The entire interaction was wholly contained on another site.

Which is all well and good but also a little...boring? Calling the IndieWeb a "social network" seems like a bit of stretch when you don't even know how many people liked your post. What's the point of it all if you don't get to see a little heart counter going up?

The problem becomes more obvious when one realizes that the IndieWeb does not prescribe the use of any particular blogging software or, indeed, any particular publishing technology at all (other than the standard machinery of the web, like HTTP, HTML and CSS), so how exactly would one be able to even recognize that a piece of content on someone's website was a "post" that could be "replied to" or "liked" at all?

Of course, we wouldn't get very far if the IndieWeb community didn't have answers to these questions.

Tags: ·


  1. By .

    Good overview of indieweb things.

    (If I'd implemented webmentions this reply might be useful; as it is, I think no one shall ever see it!)