Gathering my POSSE

You might've noticed (or perhaps not) that I've recently been doing some iteration to the Indizr website. This sort of work always teaches me a lot about web development in general, so I just wanted to share some of those recent lessons, in case they're useful for a web project you're working on yourself.

A brief, somewhat technical tip to begin: The new Indizr site is built with Ghost, a Node.js-based blogging platform.  I think it's a little snappier, more lightweight, and more modern than the workhorse WordPress, though I'd still recommend that one for a lot of non-technical users. It really just depends on how willing one is to deal with the unfamiliar and learn a new system, including some inevitable troubleshooting as needed.

Second, and perhaps more important, the general idea behind the site updates I've been making is to move the Indizr site more squarely into a POSSE model of posting content. That stands for "publish own site, syndicate elsewhere."

In a POSSE system, all content you publish goes to a site you control first, which establishes real ownership and acts as a fail-safe so you always have some level of control over the information. Only after this step do you then you post a link the information to Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other third-party services you'd like to use to draw an audience's attention to the content.

In this way, you can strike a balance as a content creator between maintaining control and leveraging the third-party platforms to build your following. The two goals don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, as is sometimes unfortunately portrayed in the tech press.

I've previously used POSSE as a guiding principle for Indizr, but as I make changes these days, I'm optimizing for POSSE to an even greater degree. I've also advocated POSSE to clients and friends, including attorney Chuck Hobbs, whose personal blog, The Hobbservation Point, I set up a little over a year ago.

Chuck is my all-time personal hero in terms of POSSE. He frequently blogs about race and issues of social justice -- and had been using Facebook as his primary platform to do so.

Unfortunately, this tended to tick off bigots, who would then complain about Chuck to Facebook. They'd accuse him of being racist, effectively gaslighting him, and Facebook would sometimes fall for it. Thus he'd suffered through several temporary suspensions from the service.

Now that he's employing POSSE principles, publishing his own site using WordPress, that's not so much of an issue. He always has an outlet, no matter what some geeks in Palo Alto think he should be publishing.

The more people and organizations I can move in this direction these days, the happier I'll be. And I'm starting by trying to model POSSE on the Indizr site to an even greater degree.

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