I’ve been thinking a lot lately about publishing things individually, on my own, as opposed to scattering stuff across the various services out there. Partially, it’s because of some sense of wanting to retain control and ownership of what I do. Partially, it’s a thought exercise to help figure out what it would really mean for an individual to fully maintain their own digital identity as opposed to relying on any number of ephemeral third parties to enable that. It’s all still quite unformed in my head, but here’s a really basic and oversimplified diagram of what I’m thinking about:
“Scattered” publishing involves a bunch of people navigating a bunch of services in order to find relevant bits published by the people they care about. “Individual” publishing involves individuals managing their content in one place, and letting the people they care about have access in any way they need.
Aggregators play important roles in both models, but in “scattered” the aggregator’s primary role is to pull decentralized bits of a person’s various bits of content back into the context of that person, and then in the context of the reader’s personal network. In “individual” the aggregator is primarily pulling people together, and filtering the subsets of a person’s content to meet the needs of each reader.