Testing Write Freely on Reclaim Cloud

Taylor Jadin from Reclaim Hosting created a multiuser instance of Write Freely on Reclaim Cloud, streaming his attempt.

Taylor’s livestream

The instance won’t live long, but before he tore it down, I thought I would pop on and give it a try. Write Freely has a multisite/multiuser setup, so in 2 minutes I had my minimalist blog set up and going. It’s so easy to set up a new blog, that I actually created a second blog on the instance when I was trying to write my first post.

The interface is stark white, with nothing else in the way. Perhaps feeling a little too whimsical, I wrote my first poem since high school. Maybe longer?

Distraction free writing
Are the blocks the problem? WordPress has many blocks, but I think the writer's block is my own.
I wonder if I would be more productive in a blank room in an empty house.
To my left is a digital picture frame, with memories of the last year playing on rotation.


It gives me the time and the weather...
and joy.

I like the blank canvas, but I think I'll return to the land of blocks.

Part of the interest in Write Freely comes from its integration into the Fediverse, a growing number of apps and interfaces that all use the ActivityPub standard. The fastest growing member of the Fediverse is Mastodon, the decentralized yet federated microblogging platform that many are looking at as the alternative to Twitter.

It’s an interesting moment of the web, with multiple groups getting fed up with the corporate control of the online public square and looking for alternatives. I’ve joined indieweb.social as my home base on the fediverse, but I’m looking for something more. The IndieWeb community is a group of people who believe in owning their own slice of the internet, and want to own the sites they post on as well as the content. A group of tinkerers and web enthusiasts, they’ve been advocating for people to own personal websites, to use open source tools, and to post on your own site first, even if you then will share it on the corporate web sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the other free services that we rent with our data and our content.

I’ve also set my WordPress site up to be part of the Fediverse, installing the ActivityPub plugins that would allow people on Mastodon or Friendica to follow my posts. The WordPress integration is “in alpha” and it is a little rough. I’m more like a 2nd class citizen of the Fediverse than fully tied in, but it’s moving in the direction I want.

Write Freely is fine, but it’s not going to lure me away from WordPress. I am however enjoying this moment of decentralization on the web, where more people are thinking about the choices they make and who controls their content.

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