reclaiming ephemeral media

Following Boone’s lead, I’m going to be working to reclaim as much of my online activity as possible. I set up a separate WordPress site to handle ephemeral media that are usually posted to Twitter, so that things like the Twitpic licensing brouhaha don’t apply. Because it’s just a blog, it can handle anything – entire galleries of images, audio, video, or any combination. I can also geotag posts, and add plugins to enable timeline and calendar views.

As far as Reclaiming goes, this was one of the simplest things to do. But the process wasn’t simple at all. It took me about half an hour to get going, from setting up a new subdomain, to installing WordPress (I need to migrate my sites to Multisite, but that’s for another time) and adding a MySQL database for it. Tweaking WordPress settings. Installing Twitter Tools plugin to autobroadcast new posts to my Twitter account (good god is Twitter cumbersome to configure stuff for – auth tokens, secret keys, etc… insanity). Then, realizing I’d forgotten to set the timezone of the new media blog, then adjusting that, and realizing that adjustment threw a wrench into the Twitter autoposting system (hopefully only until the 6-hour delta is caught up).

This is not something that 99.99% of people will do. But, those 99.99% of people need to be able to Reclaim their stuff (including low-value ephemeral media otherwise dumped to Twitpic/YFrog/etc…) This is why services like that are so successful, and why third party hosting is so tempting. It’s several orders of magnitude easier to just use a third party service, rather than rolling up your sleeves and hosting stuff yourself. And that leaves out any social layer (which was implemented via Twitter autoposting here, but that may not be appropriate for other services – and I’m not comfortable with Twitter being even more entrenched as the social glue platform).

One more item for a magical Reclaim server appliance…

Update: I just realized that one of the photos I used to test, posted from the iOS WordPress app, wound up going to my main blog rather than my ephemeral media blog. Totally operator error – I selected the wrong blog as destination – but points out how things get more complicated when doing stuff yourself…

4 thoughts on “reclaiming ephemeral media

  1. It’s interesting watching this because for me the reverse is the problem – I already self-host most of my stuff, which creates a challenge getting it into the stream that other people use (and listening to that stream, because so much of it is siloed, and increasingly so).

    At this point, I host my own website (and I really must learn about security certificates and such) and my own email server (which has led me to learn far more than I want about authentication and spam-blocking services). My website is also, by design, my bookmarks server and my email server. And I use my own RSS to publish (no feedburner).

    I use Twitterfeed http://twitterfeed.com/ to send my oldaily posts to Twitter (I use a separate ‘oldaily’ identity http://twitter.com/oldaily because I’m sure my regular Twitter followers don’t want the additional traffic of a half dozen OLDaily tweets a day. And I use something else – I’ve honestly forgotten what it is, but it still works – to send Twitter posts into Facebook. In other words, I use the hosted services as a way of relaying my content, not as a primary interface.

    This does make moving the traffic the other way an issue. I subscribe to some Twitter feeds, and these go right into my website database. Blogs and Flickr and such I can subscribe to directly via RSS. I haven’t figured out Facebook yet, and because it’s such a silo, I rarely use it. The same with most Google services, which again involve auth tokens, secret keys, and all the rest of it. I send photos to Flickr because I don’t feel like hosting the bandwidth (and I do like making my photos searchable; Google image search is a good 12 months behind, always) but I have an excellent backup photo library (which doubles as my screen saver). And I use a hosted service for my radio station, which is OK, because it has no listeners and I’m just building it up anyways.

    The result, I think, is that some people perceive me as being stand-offish and uninvolved. It’s not through choice. It people want to converse in an environment that basically owns all their data, I can’t stop them, but I’ve been through this before – remember HotWired Threads, anyone? – and don’t feel like going through the grief again.

    I think that’s the most difficult part of reclaiming ephemeral media. The silos have made people feel as though they have to be there, and the people there are complicit in making those who don’t play in the sandbox feel like outcasts. Are you ready to have people act as though you’ve dropped off the grid?

    1. I’ll post a response on my Geocities site 😉

      I totally see the outcast thing – when I nuked my facebook account, I ceased to exist for a whole bunch of people. Which I found extremely frustrating, since a simple google search for me shows a whole bunch of places where I was still active. But because I dropped out of the silo, I didn’t exist. There’s something in there. Don’t have the energy to go deep on that right now…

      I like the idea of hosting my stuff, and tying it into the places where people are hanging out. If they’re in Facebook, I can post links to my stuff so they can see it – I do this now with my photoblog. I don’t do it with my blog or twitter posts, because I’m also (still) trying to get my head around compartmentalization of groups – my family doesn’t want/need to see my rants on my blog. My colleagues don’t want/need to see my endless inanity on Twitter, etc…

      I already host almost everything I care about – with the exception of photos on Flickr. I’ve got a Gallery3 install set up, and it could replicate the functionality of Flickr, but would prove to be too antisocial to just dump Flickr to use it exclusively – nobody I know would be able to follow. Well, they could follow, but wouldn’t, because they’d have to set up RSS feeds etc… The plumbing is all there, but it’s still so clumsy to use that people just won’t do it…

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