Expanding and Owning my Content at TedCurran.net
I’m very interested in how open source publishing tools like WordPress can empower individuals to own their data, understand and learn from their tools, and protect against the strange encroachments of privacy and power that commercial cloud services can impose on our digital lives. I’ve even argued that open source software may be a tool to help reverse persistent generational class inequalities and empower the most vulnerable among us.
After listening to Jeremy Keith guest speak about The Nature of the Web on the excellent podcast The Web Ahead, I’ve learned that I have a kindred community in the IndieWebCamp. These are people who believe that we should not entrust commercial cloud sharing services with the “canonical” or “master” copy of the content we produce. While many people write directly into Facebook, Twitter, and other cloud tools so they can access all the benefits of sharing on those communities, IndieWeb thinking states that you should post first to your own website and then share out to social networks. Your photos, your writing, your files all live on your own server space, and then you share those materials out to the places where your people can see them.
I’m just as guilty as anyone of posting my thoughts and photos directly into Facebook when I want those friends to see, or posting into Twitter or G+ to share with my connections in those communities. I have developed a professional persona for this blog that is scrupulously limited to talk only about education technology issues, and an altogether different persona just for my web design, photography, and graphic design work. In trying to provide a relevant and coherent stream of content for each of my various audiences (friends, edtechies, design clients, Android geeks, and art lovers) I use different tools from different corporations as a way of separating those streams.
As a result, my best thoughts, writings, jokes, photos, and links are scattered all over various services, enriching somebody else by milking me for personal information and charging me for access to my own data. I’m actively exploring ways to use WordPress as a platform to consolidate my schizophrenic digital life and centralize more high quality content on my own platforms.
So what does this have to do with you, dear reader?
Since I started TedCurran.net, I’ve tried to post relatively infrequently with only long-form blog posts that represent a fair amount of thought and hard work. Don’t worry, this will continue. Other content like edtech-related tweets, interesting links, and cool tools would be shared out on other social networks and bookmarking sites all over the web. What I want to do is start to leverage the excellent Post Types feature in WordPress to start to bring all that content together in the same place. My hope is that I will be able to keep my various “streams” of information organized within my WordPress site so people who want only the longer blog posts can get to them, while anyone interested in my broader stream of edtech related ephemera can follow what I do more broadly. The focus here will stay on education technology, though– I’m going to start expanding the scope of content I post to TrueSchool.me as well, with links, posts, and media related to WordPress, photography, graphic design, music, and the kinds of random funny social status updates I now save just for Facebook and G+.
As I experiment with the tools to do this I’ll post a “how to”, but please let me know your feedback to this new approach.
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