It's even worse than it appears..
Monday October 23, 2023; 6:03 PM EDT
  • Nice article about the ideal of POSSE, an acronym coming out of the indieweb group, but.. It's like the great scene near the end of As Good As It Gets, where Melvin (played by Jack Nicholson) is professing his love for Carol (Helen Hunt), acting as nuts as ever, and she blurts out: Why can't I just have a normal boyfriend who doesn't go nuts on me! This is the big moment, because we know he's crazy, and she knows it, and of course she's crazy too and maybe just starting to catch on, when her mother pops out from behind the door and delivers the big line in the movie: #
    • "Everybody wants that dear. It doesn't exist."#
  • Same with POSSE. #
    • Everybody wants it, but it doesn't exist. #
  • When Twitter took off in 2006 it was the first thought every blogger had, can I cross-post from my blog to Twitter, but Twitter had nothing that our blogs had. Posts couldn't have titles, no links, styling, and it was limited to 140 characters. It's as if they put a big sign out front saying "No POSSE here."#
  • Facebook said the same thing, no titles, no styling, but it didn't have a character limit, and while Twitter's API didn't allow updating, Facebook's did. Here's the catch -- if you wanted to cross-post to Facebook, you had to write text that would make sense even if the links didn't come through, and that really screws with the art of web writing. I tried it and hated it as much as I loved the open web. I tried to make it work for years, but eventually gave up, and went back to blogging the way of the web, and I was a much happier writer, even if I didn't have the reach that Facebook offered. I still to this day have a lot of friends on Facebook, and if they want to read what I write, they have to go outside of Facebook, because my writing can't get in there.#
  • Even Medium, which was created by the founder of Blogger couldn't fit into the POSSE model because posts couldn't be updated. Otherwise it came pretty close to the ideal.#
  • The idea of posting on your blog and cross-posting to lots of place is the right idea, no argument there, the problem is that the places you can actually cross-post to are few and far-between. The two places mentioned in the article that can peer with most other blogging software are and WordPress. Everything else as far as I know, if you want to peer with them in a POSSE-like way, requires you to remove features from your writing, and you have to decide if it's worth it. #
  • But now I want to try again -- because the time is right -- with Twitter falling into the background, pretty quickly, there are new platforms that are pretty close to being able to peer with blogging software, Mastodon and other ActivityPub systems, BlueSky and a few others. If we're going to organize, we should get together on the features we want in our blogs to be mirrored elsewhere and help the developers of those systems achieve it. And we should emphasize that it can be done, because we have examples that do it. #
  • I put up a proposal for what that feature set would be. It's pretty simple, but in order for it to work, we have to work together. #
  • The features are:#
    • Optional titles#
    • Links#
    • Simple styling#
    • Enclosures#
    • Unlimited length#
    • Editable#
  • That's it. I could peer my posts with any system that supported those features. You can even support just a subset as long as you pass along all the data you get in your outbound feeds. I think with that simple system we could rebuild the social media world so that no one dominates, and we can always try out new ideas, and you can use the editing tools you like, and I can use the ones I like. It would finally be a writer's web, something that, after 30 years we still haven't begun to build. Let's do it! We have a chance now, all we have to do is work with each other. #

© copyright 1994-2023 Dave Winer.

Last update: Monday October 23, 2023; 10:28 PM EDT.

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