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First-blush impressions of Known

4 min read

So, I'm trying out a new social network platform called Known. It's part of the IndieWeb movement, which I don't know much about yet but seems to be an effort to get us back to the roots of The Web - when people had control of their own content and systems worked together. I'd like to thank Dan for bringing both of these to my attention.

tl;dr (too long; didn't read) summary

So far I really like what I see. It's still a beta and that shows in some places, but it already has several of the features I've been wanting. And it sounds like it may be much easier to set up my own server than Diaspora.

A solid start

I've always really liked Tumblr's approach of defining different kinds of posts (e.g. link, image, quote) so I'm enjoying being able to specify whether I'm sharing a status update, post, photo, bookmark, etc.

And the ability to syndicate those to Twitter and Facebook is the reason I'm on it. Unfortunately, the results have a kind of hit-and-miss so far: My attempts to share a YouTube link refused to show that link on the Facebook post.

Unfortunately, the free account hosted on doesn't include all the services that the site says Known supports. And it sounds like other service connections aren't yet complete. Connections to the following services are included in the free account:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (but not Pages)
  • Flickr
  • Foursquare
  • Soundcloud

For the rest, you'll need to get a Pro account - which I think is priced a bit high - or, I assume, set up your own server. I also saw some mention of a WordPress connection in the forums, but haven't looked into the status of that.

While I'm not opposed to setting up my own Known server, at this point I'm mostly content to go with hosting services so I don't have to manage the server myself. Depending on how this evaluation goes, I may decide Known is worth it though.

As I mentioned, I think the price of $10/mo is a bit steep for what they're offering. I looks to me like they're assuming the only people interested in the other features would be businesses and/or anyone maintaining a brand. I'd like to see an offering between Pro and Free that provides (for example) support for a LinkedIn profile*, webhooks, javascript and CSS. I'm a power user who doesn't care about branding. Even on services where I have access to analytics, I've never looked at them.

Features I'm eager to try

  • I'm interested to see how the comments system works. At the moment I'm not sure if commenting on this post is available; I haven't enabled Public Comments at the site level yet.
  • I'm really interested in seeing the two-way syncing of comments between posts on Known and the other service(s) it was shared with.

Hrmmm... while writing this, I just noticed that I need to set up the service in order to sync comments, etc. I've disabled most all my blockers, etc. but still don't seem to be able to set up the connection. Further investigation is required.

  • I plan to look further into what it would take to a) get my own server set up, and b) contribute to the development. I definately would like to be able to syndicate to/from WordPress. Diaspora too (although they still don't have an API).


Anyway, those are my first impressions. And this is my first test at writing a larger post (and syndicating it to Facebook & Twitter). I'll let you know how it goes :-)