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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

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Greg McVerry

Hey the lurking discussion continues with some of the building blocks used to support and encourage lurking https://boffosocko.com/2019/06/02/lurking-twitter-the-commons-and-private-posts/

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Seven Steps to #ProSocialWeb

6 min read

1. Begin with You

Ghandi never said "Be the change..." still doesn't mean it ain't great advice. We need to be the web we want to see.1 

In fact in  my recent efforts into (my approach to getting at ) I have focused on the words of another Yogi (correctly attributed) 

Change yourself and you have done your part in the changing the the world. Every individual must change [their] own life if they want to live in a peaceful world. Paramahansa Yogananda

The web is no different. Be pro-social if you want the web to be pro-social.

I also think beginning with you in terms of learning goals strengthens the . When you have shared goals with others in your network people learn. Humanity always worked this way.

The web is no different. Constantly model learning and reflection. Ask for help when needed and offer when asked.


YOU! flickr photo by Marcy Leigh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

2. Create Innovation Systems

Recently I have focused my efforts on the idea of innovation systems. I remixed this concept remixed from those who take an ecological viewpoint of sociotechnical systems

According to Freeman (1987) Innovation Systems are ‚Äúnetworks of institutions, public or private, whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify, and diffuse new technologies.‚ÄĚ This is usually towards a shared goal.

Massive corporate powers have quickly created market-based systems. I am not one to think these goals are diametrically opposed to (but some do) yet they are different. The goal of a corporation is the stock price. In fact in the United States it is a legal obligation for corporations to focus on profits. Sometimes, often, people suffer.

The web is no different. We need to focus on change but this change occurs at the system level only after a swelling at the agent level.


Climate Change flickr photo by garlandcannon shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

3. Use What You Build

The will only thrive when you have your own space online that you control, preferably from your own domain. The silos built for the masses and the web suffered.

I'd rather have a tent in the fields I own than rent a room is a Castle with someone else's rules....where I toil all day for someone else to profit.

Also something happens when you write from your own place. Folks are not as willing to write graffiti on their own house or shout profanities from their door step. But is more than that. People find an immersive joy in owning and shaping their own truth.

The web is no different. These tools and ways of being exist. Step one in a web is to build out your personal cyberinfrastructure. 

You will never know all the tech and we should never expect people to do the same. Instead, we want folks to know what they do not know and then how to go out and ask the right people to learn it. What Castells and Cardoza called "self programmable learners"

The web is no different. You have a goal and want to learn something just get a website or blog and start documenting the journey.

If you need help just ask us.


workshop flickr photo by martingautron.com shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

4. Keep it Purpose Driven

Find your niche and you can find your community. For many of us we hang in academic spaces or creative writing spaces ike and . Our crew, our people, our tribe.

A shared purpose unites us and this aligns with our personal goals. 

The web is no different. Network around ideas and not people.


2010113-purpose flickr photo by Chris Piascik shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

5. Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Many find controlling and owning your space online to beyond their means "in financial cost, ability, time, and confidence."

This has always been the case with literacy. I consider literacy to be one of the great equalizers in society (up there with birth control, suffrage, expanding markets, and open borders). We need to fight for basic web literacy as a human right. A means not building FOR the most vulnerable but building WITH everyone to ensure we do not recreate the past.

Silos provide both a haven and a hell for marginalized people. When the web was born people did their identity work building the web. Now, this identity work gets sold back to us.

When we claim we can not "do tech" in communities of color or expectations of owning your content do not recognize historical inequities we end up reinforcing these equities.  

We simply can not name the problem. We must actively work to solve the issue.

Yet even today the Open Source community is the whitest and most male of the tech sector. We can not fix this in the board room or through outreach. Efforts must begin in the classroom and the community. This is where always developed

The web is no different. Make the "Community the Curriculum." We must focus on web literacy across the globe. The time is now. 

This why I think the is more local than decentralized. I keep putting in grants to bring and to local schools and libraries....where we always taught literacy.


Rainbow flickr photo by Michael M Stokes shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

6 Go gLocal

Not sure where @wiobyrne got the idea or who he lifted the meaning from but the has strong local nodes (like Antogonish) and these Local networks connect to a much bigger global one. Either with direct relationships or as allies. Go gLocal Ian says.

Creative Commons is trying this approach right now. Mozilla tried with Clubs but looked for VC like growth overnight, their more successful Reps programs and Firefox contributors, in general, reflect a gLocal approach. IndieWeb has been running camps for nine years with minimal funding.

EdCamps, as an innovation system may represent the best model. 100s of camps occur each year and 1,000s of teachers get connected

The Web is no different. Build strong local groups connected to a global movement. 


It's our world too... flickr photo by tim ellis shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

7. Post Positive 

We all struggle with what to write. The tyranny of the blank screen can drive many into the welcoming arms of social silos. Yet the simplest way to support a is to Post Positive

Be a good person. Say nice things. Document the good you and others do. The lesson we learned in preschool can still teach us much.

The web is no different.


A Balance of Healthy Words flickr photo by Carol (vanhookc) shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

1. h/t to Tantek for pointing out the misattribution of Ghandi and sending me into a months long rabbit hole into famous misquotes.

2 To read more check out the hashtags , , and  .

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Greg McVerry

Why I chose Known over WordPress #IndieWeb

6 min read


Creative Growth 2013 Home show and fashion show (72) flickr photo by origamiguy1971 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Plurality stitches a beautiful quilt of complex choices, and each person adds their own unique spin on the  . As long as you wrap yourself in the warmth of building blocks you sew together new connections free of corporate control.

So the correct answer will always remain the one you choose. For me Known provided the solution to my path.

Personal Growth

I am beginning to look at spaces like as an innovation system. Change can only occur with a constant focus on personal growth and learning through agentive apprenticeships.

Recently I moved on from WordPress to Known on my path. This continued my growth as I began to spin up sites on  my school's CMS blogging as a teacher from 2002-2006. I then picked up the patterns of commercial blogging and went to Blogger in 2007.  Then in 2013 I began to weave meaning on WordPress, and then started on Known in 2015.

At first I kept a WordPress as my canonical "digital hub" and just spun up Known instances for different identities like CLMOOC and .

In fact, if you include all my kids' websites I am currently running thirteen instances of Known.

But really it came down to WordPress making it too hard for me to things I knew were quite simple to do in HTML. So I decided to throw up a few static pages on the canonical url https://jgregorymcverry.com and then use Known as my social stream of thought. 

I loved what WordPress enabled me to do but felt to constricted. I wanted to rip off the warmth of such a robust CMS and see how I could do on my own. 

Some Drawbacks

I still get annoyed sometimes at Known for making things complicated. It is a powerful CMS and over time I will probably fold some functionality into my main website but this provides a nice bridge for my knowledge growth.

Known works better on the IndieWeb than WordPress out of the box but it is a really hard box to open. Currently installing and updating Known takes specialized knowledge but plenty of us to help each other learn. Still, if the idea of GitHub, Terminal, Databases scare you then go with WordPress. 

The most friction-free WordPress approach is SemPress. You add that, Classic Editor, IndieWeb plugins and good to go. Everything will auto update.

I still add a page builder on top to get the visual control of pages I want (see main reason I left WordPress I want to control my design). 

How I Roll

It's not just the technical. Known fits my personal goals for growth as a writer and teacher. Out of all the tools out there it makes the best system for a Common Place Book. I set up to-do list, a , have private, public, and member-only posting. The syndication to Twitter works for now (eventually I assume Twitter pulls the plug on all the POSSE fun). 

If you want a private social network (multiuser breaks some functionality around logging in with your own Domain) it is still the best CMS out there. I have really only one question I use when judging my pre-service teachers, "Do I want my kid in your class?" I use Known with all three of my children (6, 7, 10). Known fits the way I teach. I have used Known in the classroom since 2014-2015.

Some Drawbacks

It doesn't always fit my mobile lifestyle. Mainly because of the way TinyMCE, the what you see what you get editor,  is styled, but this is fixable. I need access to source code. 

The status updates have some awesome features that auto converting hashtags and unfurling links but this also means HTML gets sanitized or ignored. Sometimes I just need a box to enter HTML. The current status update doesn't allow this and this messes up some micropub clients. 

Governance Model

Known also has a governance model more aligned to what I want in open source. I love what WordPress does for the web but in the end the ultimate direction of the project relies on a "benevolent dictator for life" model of leadership with Automattic sitting at the top.

This has created great sustainability but just not my style.

Some Drawbacks

Known is now just transferring to an open collective. Who knows what will happen. Still this excites I think we need new economic in the public space.

No structure exists, beyond IRC/Slack for quality control of community plugins. Many malfunction (especially the ones I build).

Predictable and Interesting Road Map

Known has a strong commitment to only using open APIs and protocols. They publish and share the roadmap. I can reliably predict when features get added and bugs squashed. 

I may not know that with WordPress. The WordPress community relies heavily on committed volunteers. The upcoming changes to WordPress as it restructures will require some major retooling. Seemed like a good time to jump ship.

Some Drawbacks

Like WordPress Known development relies primarily on two people: Marcus Povey and Ben Werdm√ľller but an Open Collective was created and support has started to trickle in. New community members have created plug-ins and PRs.

I am seeing a ton of folks start to spin up a site. Who knows maybe all those who have the PHP  experience and feel abandoned by WordPress may find Known an attractive home.

Choose Your Path

For me means to own your content and control your data, preferably on your own Domain. Everything else after that is extra and a deeply personal choice. 

You can not go wrong with WordPress or Known or so many of the other new blogging tools that include the building blocks to connect to the modern social web. 

 

Greg McVerry

A wonderful definition of and your reasons to engage in building the Commons are great. The last one, improving learning, though I would say is more potential than reality. is the . It is nothing without the and meaningless without people.

Greg McVerry

Also look to the Wikimedia foundation and different chapters. Creative Commons is starting a local council. You can look to MoFo has a historical case as well. There are some Google+ that were massive they moved variety of places, many stayed with EDU accounts

Greg McVerry

Balancing the Journey from Outsider to In When Recentering #OER #OER19

4 min read

As the Global Open Initiative Foundation begin our efforts to create an network in Ghana have taken off with lightning speed.

As an outsider invited into the group to join the advisory board I often fall to my worries that I am pushing my perspective and goals tool much. Doing the exact opposite of de-colonizing OER.

I want to listen and advise the decision makers not be a space taker.

At the same time many of the decisions and set up had to be fast. This was spring break for students and I had the opportunity to focus on the project.

There are also bandwidth constraints that made it more feasible for me to launch a website for everyone on our Reclaim Hosting account. 

You can have all the right reasons for good intentions and still have bad outcomes. I worry about this, and here some steps we took.

Listen and Listen

I met the group through Sadik and the Virtually Connecting. We may have looked like we rolled out fast this weekend but in reality, we planned this pathway for a long time. Sadik and I brainstormed long into the nights (time zones stink) on a best approach.

Every time I feel a worry that I am becoming the dominant voice I need to sit back and remember to listen.

Take Advantage of Existing Knowledge

The group existed before I joined and have done amazing projects with Wikipedia. This includes documenting corruption in Ghana and editing art history with a feminist lens.

To honor this work we decided to use a wikimedia install as our knowledge base.

Connect to Larger Networks

Another strategy to one person does not become the voice is to simply invite more voices. is about people and pedagogy. Creating the spaces for it to thrive requires strong local networks loosely combined.

At GOIF we have started to grow these connections. Members are encouraged to get involved with other groups. Currently, we have representation with Mozilla, Creative Commons, and the movement.

In fact this Wednesday Global Open Initiative Foundation will host the first Homebrew Website Club in Ghana and the first on the African continent. 

Our members have sought and received travel assistance to get to the Creative Commons Global Summit (flights still needed donate now). 

By connecting to more networks we hope to diversify the leadership opportunities to our members. In turn our members bring the skills home while giving back to others.

Over time we hope members new and old start to take a greater role in shaping Global Open Initiative Foundation.

Using Sustainable Tech

We also tried to choose technology to support the network that doesn't rely on any point of failure, while individual hosting would be better economic realities have us providing server space to members on our shared host.

We wanted:

  • Agnostic Platform
  • Data Ownership
  • FOSS

We chose Known as the online glue to hold the network together. Members will rely on a platform committed to open standards and APIs. 

We can take advantage of cool things like webmentions and other Indieweb tools but more importantly, the tech is sustainable because we focus on the space.

Giving people across the globe a place to live online has to happen before we worry about licensing or archiving. Shape yourself in the open as you learn to shape the world.

For us at the Global Open Initiative Foundation that is the only pathway to ensure voices like mine do not crowd out the future. 

Greg McVerry

Hey @sadike25 still trying to raise $150.00 US to launch an network in Ghana....$150 and we will connect SOOO many people to the Commons. DM me or paypal jgremcverry@gmail.com

Greg McVerry

Photo for @IndieWebCamp Online #DailyChallenge #IndieWeb #Edtechchat #digped

Photo for @IndieWebCamp Online #DailyChallenge #IndieWeb #Edtechchat #digped

As we get ready for @IndieWebCamp Online we will be doing to get to know each. This is an optional fun game for participants.

The Challenges are: 

  • 2019-03-04 Post an image that explains how you feel about attending IndieWebCamp Online.
  • 2019-03-05 Post your "Why" Why do you
  • 2019-03-06 If you made a mix tape for IndieWebCamp Online what tracks would you add
  • 2019-03-07 What is one thing you want to learn? To teach? at IndieWebCamp Online
  • 2019-03-08 What sessions will you attend? Tell the world.

This is my photo entry. It is a remix of


Network flickr photo by Biker Jun shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
DSC_5228 flickr photo by kingary shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
DSC_0166 flickr photo by Mandroid shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
Learn flickr photo by awrose shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Greg McVerry

@kfitz Will def check it out. Looks awesome! Been spending last few months thinking on how we ensure the interoperability of all Commons archive and curation sites and how we drive this from personal sites rather than a centralized manner.

CLMOOC

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