I’m done writing for the timeline.

There is a concept in Indieweb communities called POSSE. The acronym stands for publish on your own site, syndicate everywhere. This approach is an attempt to give you the best of all worlds. You can own your own content. Solve the not your domain, not your words problem. Then use various tools to syndicate your content to other services.

It is a fine idea but in practice I think it is broken.

The medium affects the message. Ultimately how you write and publish affects your writing. Social media brought with it whole new norms. No titles for content. Short posts. No rich markup so images and links are handled as metadata.

Some of this, like titles being optional and brevity, are probably good things.

But others are not. And when you syndicate to various platforms it is hard to not have that ultimate destination impact your writing.

What does this look like?

On micro.blog limiting myself to four photos because I know that when it syndicates to Twitter it will only include the first four.

Being cautious about which hyperlink to use first because that is the one that will show up on Twitter regardless if it makes sense for the content.

Not using titles because it changes how syndication works.

I’ve even seen posts use hashtags and @username conventions on a platform that is ignorant to them, but are solely intended for the service it is syndicated.

I disconnected my blog from all syndication and it is interesting how freeing it has felt.

I use titles more. I use the number of photos I want. I add links where they make sense.

Writing for a timeline is a job. The timeline is a distilled and sterile system to give the algorithms an equal chunk of content to drive engagement. The limits of those chunks are non-sensical outside of that timeline.

Let’s break free of the timeline.

Let’s make the web weird again.