Hmmmm. Day two with Day One 😉

    My habit is to use text editors primarily for blogging. So, now I’m thinking about how to use Day One. Probably over thinking it. I’m aware that most of my time writing is about sharing, usually via blog. This app seems geared towards private journaling for the sake of recording life moments. Right off I’m trying to bend it to blogging. And still considering whether or not I could do something like this in Notes.

    It’s far too easy to get stuck in a game of app hopping. Comparing Day One to Apple Notes and I like the Day One sidebar. The grouping by day is helpful. I can edit the dates if needed. The app includes weather and other metadata that would be a nice-to-have info when looking back.

    BUT, unlike Notes, I can’t view across devices. I’m not used to and don’t like the navigation via the arrow keys. I’m used to using arrow keys for moving the cursor in the text. This seems like a weird choice and there’s no setting to change it. Ugh.

    Okay, so, I spent the last 30 minutes in Notes. 🤣 If I had a nickel for every time I’ve played this game. But listen Linda, Linda, Honey, I think I’ve got something. I think perhaps I can make Notes work in more ways than one…

    To be continued as follow-up post on my blog at Beardy Guy Creative.

    Posting versus blogging

    I’ve been blogging for just shy of 20 years not counting my static html site in the late 1990s. Ah yes, I remember fondly “blogging” with straight html and ftping updates to a manually updated list of links. Over those 20 years I’ve accumulated far too many categories due to sloppiness and a lack of intent in my use of them. I’m still not entirely clear how I want to use them.

    In any case, as I’ve been doing a bit of tidying up I’ve also noticed that most of my posting over the past few months has been increasingly of the “micro” type post. Essentially, 280 words or less which is the limit on timeline posts on The thing about micro posts, wherever I may have posted (Mastodon,, or previously, Twitter), my primary intent is to share with other people. This might seem obvious as that’s the point of social media.

    But as I read through older posts I’m reminded that for me blogging is more about the writing down of my experiences for myself as much as anyone else. Blogging is an act of journaling for the sake of writing, remembering, and appreciating the happenings of my life. Sure, I’m posting on a website that I’m happy to have others find and read but when I’m blogging that is secondary to the deeper, reflective process.

    Of course it’s possible to do both but it’s easy to fall into the habit of the shorter social posting as it requires less effort. I’d like to make more of an effort at longer posts as they reflect a deeper, more deliberate thoughtfulness on the life I’m living and an appreciation of that life.

    Another aspect of this is just the realization that it’s easier to let free time with a screen become a more passive consumption of timelines. In recent times there’s more awareness and discussion of the nature of different timelines in various social media and the hazards of “doom scrolling” and an algorithm designed to keep people “engaged”. I deleted Facebook long ago but continued using Instagram and to a lesser degree Twitter. But then stopped using Instagram only to see my time increase on Twitter. Now I’ve left twitter and am using Mastodon and Micro.Blog.

    The common story at the moment is that Mastodon, compared to Twitter, has a much better, friendlier, healthier community and timeline and I think that’s true. Even more so where there is a deliberate design to encourage people to engage with one another with actual comments rather than just boosting or liking posts. I think both of these are healthier than the social media that have come before. But they’re still a kind of social timeline where it can become a habit to scroll and react. And while leaving a comment is more thoughtful than a simple boost or like, the timeline is still a primarily social and more consumptive/reactive process.

    One of my favorite websites of the early to mid 2000s was Flickr which, unlike the others that came later, never felt like a bad place to be. There are a lot of high quality photos on Mastodon and quite a few on too, it reminds me a bit of my time on Flickr.

    Overall I’m finding that most of my non-work time with a screen is being split between Mastodon and and I’m really enjoying time spent between the two. But I’m hoping to shift a bit more of my time to reflecting and writing with a goal of a better balance.

    Love to see it!

    “In the week since Elon Musk took over Twitter, the number of people signing up for a small social network called Mastodon has surged.”

    With Twitter in chaos, Mastodon is on fire | CNN Business

    A lot of people ask me how to get started blogging. I figure a lot more are going to want to know how as the major social media sites start to fade. So I made you a guide!

    Get Blogging!

    Via Ben Werdmuller

    An interesting episode featuring a discussion on what a “truly public Internet would look like, from the fiber optic cables to the social media platforms.”

    Ben Tarnoff Wants an Internet for the People - Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure

    Interoperability — a fairly fundamental tenet of the Internet. Simply, it means that different applications and devices can share the same data with one another.

    Keyword: Interoperability - Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure

    Social media and Blogging updates

    I’m currently experimenting with a new host and may move this blog there at some point in the near future. The address for the experimental blog is:

    This current blog is hosted via WordPress and while it’s not a bad system it’s got a lot of accumulated cruft and posting can sometimes take longer than it should. I don't need much of what WordPress offers. By comparison is is lighter on code, fewer features, fewer options for themes but, frankly, wonderful. Once an account is set-up it's simply a matter of dropping files into a folder on DropBox or Google Drive and they're published. That's it. Drag, drop, published. I'm using markdown but html also works. Any image can be dropped in and be published directly or added to a text post. requires DropBox or Google Drive for hosting files but beyond that the cost is only $4/month. Really, a fantastic deal. If you’re looking for a blog host, I recommend it. This is especially true if you're starting from scratch with a new blog.

    In regards to social media, I still have a Twitter account but I'm using it less and have been redirecting most of my attention and effort to a mix of Mastodon and


    The First Website

    August 6 marked 30 years since the first website. Benj Edwards at How-To Geek has an excellent story about the origin. It began with Tim Berners-Lee of CERN posting to the alt.hypertext newsgroup to invite people to visit his World Wide Web project on August 6, 1991:

    In 1989, a British software developer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (commonly abbreviated “CERN”) named Tim Berners-Lee grew frustrated with how scientists shared research at his organization. With many different file formats, programming languages, and computer platforms, he found it frustrating and inefficient to locate electronic records and figure out how they should be used.
    To solve this, Berners-Lee envisioned a network system using hypertext that would allow computers of different kinds to effortlessly share information over a computer network. That invention, first documented in 1989, became the World Wide Web, or WWW for short.

    In 1991 I was going into my last year of college. I wouldn’t know about the www until 1996. That said, I was on the internet in 1993 using a service called which provided email and a few other online text-based services. But after a year of using that for school I discontinued the service. Then it would be two years before I started hearing of Netscape and websites. In 1998 I built my first website, hand-coded and uploaded via Fetch, around the time the young www had begun it’s first growth spurt with web-hosting services like Yahoo’s GeoCities.

    Good times.

    WIX Website Code

    I recently took on a new client who had an existing WIX website. The initial plan was that I would update the WIX site. I’ve never used WIX so I told the client I’d have a look and expected it would not be a problem to update. Then I took a look and discovered that WIX is a visual editor, the sort you might get with a page layout application like Affinity Publisher or Apple Pages. I knew the code from that sort of application would not be efficient or anything close to semantic but it was far worse than I expected.

    To set the context, a normal page from one of my websites might be 5 to 6 printed pages of html, code and actual content. The text content is easily readable by a human. Add to that another 1 to 2 pages of code in a linked css file. About 35 kb for the html and css combined. On the html page the metadata is right a the top followed by the content. I printed the code for one page of the WIX site to a pdf document and the result was 136 pages. The metadata description appears at page 101. The first actual text content of the page finally appears at page 116. The file was 480 kb.

    Other visual website layout apps produce the same kind of code. One aspect of this is that the visual editors are supposed to make creating and updating websites easier for users who may not have the experience to build a website. In my brief use I didn’t find that to be the case at all. In the bit of time I spent in the WIX page editor I found it clumsy to use. Perhaps given enough time it would get easier but I didn’t like the feel of it at all. Of course, if someone needs a website and has no website building skills this would indeed allow them to build and update a website that mostly works.

    While visual page layout for websites might provide a certain freedom to the designing of a page and visual placement of elements in a more free form process, I don’t think the ultimate rendered page works nearly as well. Certainly this client’s site was not working as well on my devices as it should have and there were a few errors on the various pages. Obviously a well coded page displays content exactly as intended.

    I’ve now got the client’s website moved over to a properly coded website and have come away from the experience with a newfound appreciation for the difference beteen the approaches. No surprises or new information here, just a reminder of the quality differences. And if I’m being honest, I’m happy to be able to say that I’ve been hand coding websites with a respect for file sizes, usability and standards for 20+ years.

    Thinking about Internet publishing

    In my last post complaining about the complexity of posting and especially editing WordPress posts, I had a reply from Pete which led me down a rabbit hole. I tapped Pete‘s name to view his profile… I get so few comments here that I usually do this to see if commenters have their own blog which I might follow. I ended up on Pete‘s which found me reading through a conversation over there and an hour later I was checking out TiddlyWiki. Funny how easy it is to fall down these rabbit holes! I‘m not going to delve into TiddlyWiki here though I might in a future post. My interest in this post is frictionless posting, internet community, and publishing silos.

    In my reply to Pete I wrote this bit which I‘m just going to paste with a bit of minor editing:

    I’m just longing for an interface that is more simple! I’ve got my other blog tied into and have used that app for posting on occasion. Actually, I think the app and platform is a step in the direction that I’m looking for.

    Thinking about, as a specific platform and kind of community, it hasn’t been sticky for me. I visit and engage a little every so often but then stop. I think, in part, because it feels secluded. In a strange way, I both like and do not like that feeling of seclusion. Every time I pop over and try to use it I end up feeling like I’m in a kind of gated community. I suppose I’m longing for some sort of internet home that is connected in a more meaningful way to my analog life where I use Messages for family communications and Slack for local friends.

    So, in total, my current internet experience, in terms of sharing with others, is this blog you‘re reading, my less tech focused Beardy Star Stuff, Twitter, Instagram, Apple Messages and Slack. In short, I have lots of silos, none of which are connected. Actually, some of my friends and family are also on Instagram so that is one connection. To my knowledge none of my friends or family read either of my blogs. For many people Facebook is a primary internet home but I quit it long ago and even back then it never felt like an internet home.

    So, I come back to my desire for a different internet where more people post to a timeline of their own which they can share. Something as easy to use as Facebook but without all the ugly. Or alternatively, a version of Messages but which posts to a timeline rather than to a private chat. Thinking about Messages as it is and I can imagine a “My Timeline“ tab where I could just tap or click that tab to post. To see others that I follow, just tap another “Timeline“ tab. Well, at least it‘s easy to imagine!

    I don‘t really know what the answer is. In so many ways it would seem to be a syntheses of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messages and Slack. The danger of course is that such an integrated experience, is difficult or impossible to bring under one umbrella. Or possibly not desirable. The internet is meant to be decentralized.

    In thinking about it I can see how Facebook has become so dominant as it offers much of this experience as a very easy to use portal. Of course we can see the danger of this as it has manifested in the practices of Facebook (the company) and the manifestation of Facebook the website/platform. Would it be possible to have a more ethical version of Facebook both in terms of the company and the created platform? Could a company like Apple build such a thing? I think, technically, yes. But, it would come with it‘s own set of problems. Apple already faces accusations of being too big and having too much control. So, perhaps not Apple.

    But I can imagine some sort of standards-based consortium. A cooperative effort to build a new platform. Safer, more ethical, less susceptible to the propagation of misinformation but still valuable as a place for free expression. Is such a thing possible or is it too contradictory? And what about some sort of verification to cut back on unaccountability and anonymous posting? It would seem that there should be some way to create a standard of verified user that might serve as a filter to remove bots or accounts created with fraud/spam or other mis-use as the intent.

    I doubt it would be easy but it would seem that it is doable.

    Publishing to WordPress is too messy

    I published a post this morning and was reminded that this is too messy. Depending on the app I‘m using, it may not be too difficult to push the text, as html or markdown to WordPress via the WordPress share extension. But where It really falls down is in any editing I have to do in either the WordPress app or WordPress websites. The new editor, which comes in different flavors: Rich Text, Blocks, or HTML is just… eeeewwwwwwwwwww. Too complex, too messy. I sometimes think I‘d post more often if it were easier. Perhaps.

    Also, I long for a day when there is some sort of easy timeline solution… easy for anyone. I sort of imagine an Apple service and app, call it iCloud Diary or something. Make it fun with a few custom themes. But easy to post to, something like Mail in terms of composing… super easy to post and edit, for non-techies. And like Messages for following friends, family… a sort of simple presentation of RSS, also for non techies. The point is safe, secure, trusted sharing. I guess a sort of Apple-based Twitter/Facebook. And perhaps make it easy to share from Apple services… Music, News, etc. And an easy to use, safe, secure alternative to Facebook.

    Frictionless Posting

    I’m in search of a better posting process for my two Word Press blogs. Really, it’s not that difficult. I usually post from iA Writer, sometimes the app, sometimes from Apple Notes and lastly, sometimes via the built in Share Sheet in iOS. Again, not really difficult. Just more taps than I’d like.

    Apparently I am extremely lazy.

    Internet Growing Pains and “Social Media”

    In my previous post I spent a few minutes reminiscing about my early time on the internet and my webiversary. While I was out for my walk yesterday I was pondering how I used to think of the internet, say, in 1998. The web was just emerging and I, an anarchist activist in my Memphis community, thought it would eventually prove to be an important part of the democratic process. At the time it seemed the roadblocks to a more meaningful democracy were ignorance and apathy. I thought that as the footprint of the web grew, that it would become a tool that would inevitably lead to a better informed citizenry which would lead to a less apathetic citizenry.

    Oh how wrong I was.

    Of course at the time “social media” did not exist, at least not in the modern, popular form. There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube. LiveJournal would be the first to gain a foothold in 1999. Others soon followed, Friendster in 2002, MySpace in 2003. But none had the reach of Facebook in 2019 which for many people is the web.

    Rather than a diverse web we have a web largely dominated by a few huge entities, Google and Facebook being the best examples. I’m not going to do a deep dive into the many problems that might be explored here. Suffice it to say that the pervasiveness of Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter (in approximate order of influence) have arguably increased ignorance as they have decreased apathy. The dynamic that has been put into play is a citizenry that is emotionally manipulated away from understanding or even attempting to understand present day social, political and scientific facts. Rather than a more informed citizenry engaging in a more active democracy, based upon knowledge and reason, social media, as the face of the modern web, has led to an increasingly fractured and hostile social experience based on rumors, conspiracy theories, pervasive misinformation. I’m using the term social experience to encompass our digital social interactions as well as our “real life” interactions, which is to say, the experiences we have face-to-face in our families, with friends and co-workers.

    By chance I came across this post Ryan Murphy at Fulcra which, in a way, touches on some of this dynamic but from a different direction. He starts with a quote from Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. I’ve mention this book by Sagan before and this quote fits well here too:

    I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

    Murphy, in his post, mentions a thread on Reddit about the growth of anti-intellectualism and conspiracy theories. I confess I’ve not read through that thread yet so I’m not sure what ground it covers but Murphy ends his post with:

    People in the Reddit thread point out that these seemingly recent trends have been taking root for a long time. While this is true, it’s also true that (just like seemingly everything else) these phenomena have been moving much faster and growing much larger in recent years. Which leads to a curious tangent: how do accelerated scales of change play on our biases? Does the interaction between these biases and our accelerated experiences change our perception of the world?

    I think the answer to his last question is yes. The accelerated experience is a part of the dynamic. I deleted my Facebook account in 2015 after being on it for 5 or more years. Almost every family member and friend that I can think of are still using Facebook. According to Statista, there are 190 million active users in the U.S. Wikipedia’s Facebook page provides an excellent overview of the influence that Facebook has had including its rapid rate of growth and the many issues/scandals/controversies that have surfaced.

    It seems obvious that the processes of modern social life have, in just 10 years, become deeply influenced by social media, specifically Facebook. What is less clear are the long-term implications and effects as well as the response to this new dynamic. As of 2019 there have been numerous serious scandals that have been broadly reported by the media and thus far the company seems immune with the user base seemingly uninterested. From the 2016 elections and likely to the 2020 elections we see far reaching affects in U.S. electoral politics but also on family and community relations.

    We’re just over a decade into the online social media experiment and while we seem to have shed some of our apathy, our new-found enthusiasm for engagement is less informed. We’re allowing ourselves to be tweaked by algorithms designed to manipulate us so that our attention and our data might be sold at great profit. Why? We say it’s for baby pictures. We like the fun memes about animals, the clever jokes and pranks. We tell ourselves it’s our way of staying connected. But the social media software engineers behind the scenes will tell you that your engagement, your attention is more about dopamine and social reward.

    Rather than a diverse World Wide Web that leads to an informed humanity and better democracy, we have a comforting interface that is designed to stimulate the chemistry of our brains into a range of emotions that will keep us clicking and tapping, consuming but not actively thinking. A tool for keeping us entertained so that we can be sold and, to some degree, controlled.

    I’ll end with a modification of Sagan’s quote updated for 2019:

    ...when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our smart phones and nervously consulting our social media feeds, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

    The experience and a few thoughts on the open web

    This post started as a response to a thread on the Macpowerusers forum asking any users of the forum to share if they were users of As users chimed in with user names some also offered opinion and critique of It was something I’d thought about quite a bit myself and as I typed this I realized it should be a blog post rather than a forum post.

    So, about I’ll start with a few specifics but then I’ve got a few things about the larger “open web” context that I want to begin working out.

    I’ll start with the interface! Yikes. Too clean, too simple. And somewhat dysfunctional. The official iOS app and website seem so devoid of personality. Some like a simple white page and I understand that appeal. It’s much better that than the cluttered mess of ads and wasted space on FB and Twitter. In fact, much better than most websites generally. I think this nice tidy look is at least in part due to the fact that is a paid service and so, no ads! Also, as it’s been built from scratch I’ve seen in mentioned by it’s creator, Manton Reese, that he’s been very intentional and careful about adding new features. A good move I think.

    But the iOS app is just too plain and, on the iPad, somewhat dysfunctional. When in full screen or split screen there are two columns, and the left column is mostly wasted space. In split screen the results are terrible unless it is made to be the smallest portion of the split screen, the iPhone pane size, in which case it’s not bad. But at 50% split screen the left pane persists and takes up far too much space leaving too little space for content. Another weird behavior is scrolling through posts, one has to be careful not to accidentally tap into a post as it stops further scrolling until tapped again. Tapping into the post is necessary to interact with a reply or to view a conversation, favorite or share. It’s a choice that keeps the interface clean but can make actual use a bit frustrating. Also, anytime I leave and return to the app I’m back at the top of my feed. Also frustrating.

    A third party iOS app, Icro, is much better in its use of space. BUT, the website and both apps limit the reading of the “Discover” feed to 50 posts. That’s it. It just stops. The “timeline” of people I follow allows for unlimited scrolling. But it’s an smaller pool of people. It’s hard to discover new people when the discover feed is so limited. Why not an unlimited discover feed. Let me scroll for days if I so choose.

    The community is, er, intimate? From what I can tell, it’s very small. TINY. I pop in every so often and near as I can tell, it seems like the same 30 users on my discover feed. It feels like a club or a big Slack channel. That’s not a bad thing but it feels like the opposite of the “open web”. The upside is that it always feels very polite, positive and affirming. There’s little to no snark. I love that. The overall result is that it feels like good, interesting, healthy sharing but really limited in diversity and because it’s such a small pool of people it doesn’t feel real. It feels too curated, controlled. Again, it feels the opposite of the open web.

    My understanding of the open web is that, contrary to social media like Twitter and FB, it is meant to be something that is owned by creators and more openly accessible from anywhere on the web. And it’s true that in the case of, posts can be viewed outside of the website or apps. If I find a user that that I want to add to my RSS reader to follow via an RSS app I can do that. Or, I can just bookmark accounts. But RSS is something I do as an individual reader. It’s my RSS feed. But a part of the point (I think?) of the experience is to help create a cohesive, connected community for source material that is both within the officially hosted micro.blogs as well as those from outside. It creates a community commenting system that sort of ties the sources together. And really, it seems to work very well. But did I mention how few people seem to be there?

    People go to twitter and FB because it’s a convenient place to go where they can easily connect with a larger group of friends, family, etc. feels like a place to go to connect to a small group of strangers that are polite and have good taste. And I think really lacks a certain stickiness for this reason. It seems many users set-up accounts and try it out for a few weeks and then disappear. Once set-up is pretty easy to use. Creating a post, commenting on posts are easy. But the mass of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seems to pull most most people away. Certainly something is missing as the user base of seems stagnant. At least from my own observation which is, to be sure, very limited.

    Put another way, when I’m browsing I am keenly aware that I am in a very tiny subset of humanity. If I’m browsing Twitter or Instagram there is the sense that I am tapped into all of humanity. Yes, of course it is a subset, but it is a very large subset and it feels expansive, open. That said, big is not necessarily better.I quit Facebook 4 years ago and have never regretted it. I’m still on Instagram though I spend very little time there and I’d like to quit and probably will at some point. I’m on Twitter and would also like to quit that and probably will at some point though I actually do spend a good bit of time there. I’m not satisfied with any of these options as it seems they are opposite extremes with no middle ground.

    So, what is to be done? I don’t know. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have quite a bit of gravity on the web and they have a role that many people consider important. Not only that but they are perceived to be “free”. Those users are not likely to leave because they have nowhere to go that is as easy to use and equally important, no perceived cost. Those that I know and with whom I have talked about all of the many negatives have expressed little interest in leaving the services even with those known negatives.

    As a builder of the web dating back to 1998 and a blogger dating back to 2002 I’m forced to conclude that as of this moment there are no viable, meaningful alternatives for the less technical, “average” users of the internet. . In recent days we’ve seen the sale of Tumblr to Automatic, the makers of Wordpress. Many hold out hope that this might develop into something meaningful for the open web and perhaps it will. I’m far from being an expert and am not an active part of the open or Indy web communities. But the sense that I have is that ultimately the solution is growing the plurality of “open” options for users as creators and consumers. Perhaps, if viewed as an ecosystem, the outlook might be more hopeful? That is, after all, the original ideal is it not? Open and wide access to the web to everyone? There will be no one answer, no one challenger to the gravity wells created by big social media entities.

    I write this and mull it over from the perspective of a creator and as a longer-term user of the “old web”. I have, at least, a basic grasp of the ideal (and importance of) the open web, ownership and access. I write it as someone frustrated with the nastiness of the business practices of the corporate entities that own the big social media as well as the lack of moderation on those sites making them potentially dangerous places. But even amongst the relatively tech fluent (and likely, financially affluent) community of tech/apple oriented users that I follow on Twitter, there is little impulse to move to alternatives such as or Mastodon. I’ve seen evidence of an almost complete lack of interest.

    My hope is that more in the tech community might begin to take an interest and make more of a consistent effort to slowly fill in these alternative spaces. Additionally there are old-fashioned websites and moderated forums. These spaces already exist but they need to be consistently inhabited and expanded. Over time, technical capacity and mind/user share have to be consistently grown and grown in such a way that they are also an ethical improvement that is also sustainable.

    Test post from Apple Notes

    So, I’m working on a post about the benefits of Apple Notes and it occurred to me that I might be able to post to WordPress with an image. I already knew I could post text but how would it handle a note with an image? Well, apparently it works just fine! I’ll get back to that now but will just leave this here because… why not?


    A Guide to Leaving Facebook

    Over the past year I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with Facebook and have finally decided to abandon it. It was Salim Virani’s article Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook that finally sealed the deal. I’m not going to spend anytime reiterating what he has written. If you’re on Facebook you really should read it yourself. What I intend to do here is detail how I am transitioning away from Facebook by replacing it with different services.

    I’ve been a regular user of the internet since 1997 so I had 10 years of experience before joining FB. Remembering the days of the internet before Facebook is an interesting exercise. There’s no doubt that FB provides a convenient access point for sharing anything and everything via timelines, groups, and messaging. From images to video it’s all just a click or two to post or view content from practically any internet connected device.

    A few resources for staying in touch. The most obvious is the old standby email. Make sure you collect the email addresses for folks you want to stay in touch with. And make sure your email address is available to those who may prefer email.

    Chatting without FB Messenger is easily accomplished via free services and apps such as Skype. With Skype I can have private text, video or audio chats or group chats from my Mac or iPhone or iPad. Also available for Windows and Android. Individual texting and group texting is yet another option which is increasingly easy to access from a variety of devices and operating systems. In our home we’re using Macs, iPhones and iPads to message with each other as well as anyone with a cell phone. Twitter is an interesting blend of messaging and wall posting and might as well be in the mix.

    The Facebook “wall” is also replaceable though it requires a bit more effort for everyone involved. For the sharer it requires setting up a blog which is fairly easy to do and free. Free options include Google’s Blogger platform (the home of this blog), WordPress, or paid options such as Typepad. Here’s a nice list of free and paid options. When you set-up your blog you have a variety of options such as allowing comments to articles as well as visual/design customizations via themes. A nice change from Facebook’s persistent blue graphics everywhere.

    Then there is the process of gathering up the blog feeds of friends, similar to friending people. This part is not as easy as it is in a closed ecosystem such as Facebook. One of the easiest ways to get started is via a free service such as Feedly. Set-up an account and then begin adding the feeds of friends blogs. This is accomplished by clicking the “Add Content” link in the Feedly sidebar then copy/pasting the address of the blog into the field. Feedly will look for the rss feed for the blog and give you the option of subscribing. Done. I’ve been using RSS for 10+ years so I’ve got a fairly large list of sites that I read, or, in some cases, skim. Feedly allows for easy organization of feeds by topic areas via folders. I’ve got a folders for a variety of interests: astronomy, science, Apple and tech news, general news, design and most recently I’ve added a “Friends” folder in which I will place the feeds for any Facebook friends that have a blog. You can access your Feedly via web browser or a variety of rss apps. On the Mac I prefer accessing via web browser, on my iPad or iPhone the free Feedly app is excellent.

    What about photos and video? Photos can be fairly easily added right to your blog’s timeline via upload from whatever device you’re using. Or, if you prefer a dedicated photo service Flickr is a free service that offers plenty of space (1 TB) for sharing photos. A nice side benefit of flickr is that it is in itself a social medium which encourages following and commenting. Flickr photos can also be posted to blogs. Video can be easily accomplished with YouTube or Vimeo, both of which offer the option to embed video in your blog.

    There’s no doubt that developing your own ecosystem takes a bit more work but it comes with the benefit of greater control of content presentation and independence from Facebook’s data collection machine. Well, not quite independence because it is becoming quite clear that it is nearly impossible to be clear of such collection but why make it easy?