Welcome to Personal-Web.org!

Mission

Our goal is to enable personal website owners to employ established social media conventions like #hashtags and @mentions on their own websites.

@mentions notify another Webmaster that you've linked to one of their pages from one of yours.

#hashtags are keyword links that curate and index related Web pages.

Our experiments suggest that, if widely adopted, these simple methods of social linking can boost website traffic and spur lively conversation among Webmasters, bloggers, and other participants, giving the World Wide Web that "everybody's here" feel of social media.

Strategy

To accomplish our aim, we'll provide free hosted services and free, easy-to-use open source software for Webmasters.

We intend to provide solutions for every personal website owner, regardless of their technical skills or hosting provider. Therefore, the first toolset released will an online app that guides the writer though the process of publishing pages with #hashtags and @mentions.

Later tools will introduce further levels of automation. Advanced users will be able to integrate Personal Web software into their publishing platforms so that the whole process works transparently.

To minimize barriers to entry, "official" Personal Web tools will be written in JavaScript and PHP. We encourage developers to port the tools to other languages and platforms, and to develop other tools that extend the capabilities of the service. For example, we foresee a need for WordPress plugins and the like. A repository for contributed programs and code will be hosted here.

Ethos

Our notion of "the Personal Web" was inspired by @foreverlikethis, who appears to have coined the phrase, and who has been a leading voice in the effort to make the World Wide Web the default destination for surfers, rather than merely an "alternative" to corporate social media.

Personal-Web.org is a public service, and is ideologically neutral. The service may be used by any individual who has a username, personal website, and e-mail address, regardless of the content they publish.

Process

The basic steps to posting #hashtags and @mentions are:

The process takes user preferences and other considerations into account, but those are the rudiments.

A page must be processed when it's first published and each time it's updated. Users who integrate the process into their publishing software may simply publish as they normally would. Others may manually submit their pages to the online app before publishing. Still others may achieve a high level of automation by running an app on their own hosting accounts. For example, if you write HTML pages by hand and your server has PHP, you could save the page, then have a local app process it in place.

The process has two means of notifying mentioned persons:

Privacy

For notification purposes, the service must store a large number of e-mail addresses. To prevent spam and other abuse, the e-mail addresses must remain private. A large contact list cannot be shared among all participating websites. Therefore, all page content must be submitted to a central processing facility, hosted here, and the submitter must handle the transformed HTML returned by the process. Raw and transformed HTML will be transferred between the publisher's site and the service via HTTPS POST request.

Any user may add himself or anyone else to the contact list. Incomplete records may be edited by anyone. However, once the record is complete (username, website URL, and e-mail address), only the contact himself may alter it.

Every person in the contact list will have a secret key for editing their contact record and notification preference. The key will be sent to them in every notification e-mail they receive. The preference options are:

The first option is the default.

Features

The service will provide Webmasters a number of website enhancements. For example, publishers will be able to put a hashtag page on their websites that lists all webpages tagged with a given hashtag, along with a short excerpt of each page. JSON feeds will facilitate many other services, either in client-side JavaScript or in server-side programs in any language. For example, a JavaScript @mention lookup or autocomplete tool could be built. You could also display @mention links to everybody who has mentioned your page on the page itself. Likewise, "related articles" lists could be built using #hashtag data.