2024-01-29 · 16 min read

I'm slowly working at integrating the POSSE mindset into my website. What is POSSE, though? At its core, it's an acronym for "Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere," and digging a bit deeper it means to establish the practice of posting content on your own site first, then publishing copies or sharing links to third parties, such as traditional social media sites, with Original Post Links to give viewers a path to directly interacting with your content. What's the purpose of this system, though?

According to the page for POSSE on Indieweb.org, the specifics are to "let your friends read your posts, their way," which means to let them keep using Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, etc., "Stay in touch with friends now, not some theoretical future," or ignoring a potential for an actual, "Friends are more important than federation," which means to focus on relationships that matter to people instead of just Federating for the sake of federating, and "POSSE is beyond blogging," which is a key part of why the IndieWeb, and how the IndieWeb, is different from everyone blogging on their own site and everyone installing and running the same self-hostable social media software.

While a lot of the previous was lifted almost wholesale from the first page linked above, it's a great resource as to what the POSSE mindset is, how it can be used, and why it's important to the modern internet. I find it to be incredibly important, and was somewhat brought into the realm of learning about it and understanding it due to EposVox's Website where he mentions on his About Page, near the bottom, that he's personally taking steps to not "be beholden to any platform's rules or whims for how [his] own content is posted and hosted" and while I don't typically post content online (though I'm trying to get back into that, and this is a step towards that), I do have a fondness for making things, preservation of history and learning materials, and tools and content that stand the test of time and continue to be relevant many years after they're created.

It is worth mentioning that while he does talk about this on his website, he also posts on his Twitter and Mastodon accounts about the same things frequently, and, though I don't follow all of his YouTube channels, he likely also talks about that content there, as well.

When it comes to my stance on the modern web and how it almost enforces sticking to a few major sites (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, etc.) instead of people rolling their own sites, it makes sense that some people would eventually grow tired of that mindset and want to make their own area of the web in the way that they want it. While I understand that there are some modern conveniences that can't be ignored, such as YouTube for simple video hosting, self-hosted alternatives like PeerTube allow tech-savvy people to somewhat re-create the simplicity of YouTube, but with all the control of hosting the video files yourself and not being beholden to YouTube's TOS or somewhat arbitrary rules. Addie/EposVox mentions how he's moved many of his Streaming tools from Streamlabs and StreamElements to a locally-run Streamer.bot instance, which is a great step in making sure you're future-proofing yourself and your content from a sudden shutdown.

But, he also mentions through a few points how not everything can be self-hosted. For example, his "Fan Funding" is done through Discord, his own shop (hosted on Shopify), Ko-Fi, and Direct Tips via PayPal for the purposes of diversification. Of those methods of diversifying his income from fans, only the PayPal option is technically not based on another service. Though I'm not super well-versed on how Discord helps with diversifying income, I know that there is a Server Subscriptions feature that has multiple price-points, likely set by the server's owner, that offer special perks to those willing to pay the fee. As for Ko-Fi, it's a simliar tool to PayPal in that it allows for semi-direct payments to the creator, but while it does offer one-time payments, the platform also includes a subscription/membership feature, similar to that of Patreon, which allows for creators to give monthly supporters special perks in advance of a public release.

Platforms like Ko-Fi, PayPal, Shopify, and Patreon are all examples of something people wouldn't exactly want to host themselves, in my opinion, due to complexities revolving around payment processors and the logistics of handling money in general. Personally, while I don't have any intention of selling merchandise or even hosting a PeerTube instance, for example, I do fully believe in having a variety of ways for people to post and sell content that they find important to them. Not everything can reaslistically be self-hosted, and not everything should be self-hosted for a variety of reasons.

Privacy, security, and even cost are good reasons to not host something yourself. The cost of self-hosting PeerTube could potentially be astronomical due to the sizes of the files you're uploading to the "platform," and even YouTube loses money on the site every day (it just helps that Google finds the service to be invaluable so they don't shut it down, they just start charging for certain things over time). The security that PayPal and Ko-Fi offer for payments, and anonymity to a degree, can't be overstated; not many people want to deal with setting up a tipping page with Stripe and HTML, they'd rather just link to a PayPal, Ko-Fi, or creator-oriented website that lets people tip them for the content being created. Services such as Shopify and SquareSpace make creating web shops, and in SquareSpace's case whole websites, as well, so simple for a reasonable, and understandable, fee.

All that to say, I view POSSE as a soon-to-be necessary tool for the future of the safety of the web. With providers like Reddit being gone after by the MPAA for piracy-related reasons, YouTube and Twitch having pretty strict rules around swearing, nudity, sexual content, and other "ad-unsafe" content, and Twitter just overall being a hellsite to be on, hosting things on your own and linking to it, or posting parts of it wholesale to other places with a link to the whole content on your own site, could be necessary in order to make sure your voice is being heard properly and without corporate oversight. As time goes on, and more websites and platforms move to the subscription model or are taken over by a corporate overlord, being able to host your own content will become more important. Some things will still be hard to get around, but even Twitch, YouTube, and Discord are seeing some small competition from OwnCast, PeerTube, and FOSScord and Revolt.chat for those who absolutely do not want to rely on services they don't get more control over.

Will everyone change to one of these services? Absolutely not, as modern society has prioritized convenience over control. But to those who do want to switch, the modern web is making it easier, with technology advancing further every day and FOSS projects allowing people to make their own decisions on where to host their content that much easier. Maybe Federation isn't the whole future, but it will be a part of the future of the internet, just as The United Federation of Planets was the future of the world in Star Trek, but in a much more limited capacity. And I am here for that.


I'm Nexan, the owner of this site, and an overall nerd. Read more about me at the About Page