Ditching the Algorithm: Building a Self-Hosted Content Empire

Ditching the Algorithm: Building a Self-Hosted Content Empire

Welcome to another edition or another episode is whatever you want to call it of the independent creator podcast. I'm your humble host Josh. And on this episode, we're going to be talking about owning your own content as a content creator. It's very important, especially nowadays to take charge and take ownership of your content and post it out to other places instead of, you know, the reverse. So that's what we're going to talk about tonight. I hope you enjoyed the trip, the experience and the journey right here on the independent creator podcast. So let's actually get started. Shall we? What do you mean by actually owning your content? What does that mean really? Well, we've actually seen many times that over the past couple of years, how I'm not going to call it infiltration or infestation of what called social media with the centralized nature of it is a lot of creators have kind of given up ownership of their own content, as it were, that the only way that they can get any kind of interactions or eyeballs on their branded content is through these centralized social networks or media, whatever. And I just want to bring us attention because what actually happened with one particular streamer, their creator, this creator, is that I know they've been dealing with this for quite some time and unfortunately it's, it happens to pretty much everybody almost at one time or another in their content creation journey is that dealing with the general public, especially on likes of Twitter or Facebook or wherever that it's kind of has evolved into a dumpster fire, not even a dumpster fire anymore. It's more of a landfill fire. It's full on inferno is that There is so much negative space and toxicity that goes on. Let's just pull this on from Twitter is that they're having to deal with people that are twisting their words and how, what the message that they want to put out to the world, even after, because take it back to, I'm not going to name whoever this creator is because it's not my place to talk about it. It's, um, their experience, but from an outside perspective, looking in is that how they have to change their content before they even post it out and in a way to kind of like make it brand safe. And I use air quotes there for this toxic toxic toxic crowd. I was going to say toxicity, but I was like, no, that's not going to fit.

This toxic crowd, just in case that somebody might take offense or find a way to twist the words and the meanings of what they're posting. It's really uncalled for. And it's really I wouldn't call out that these particular people that are doing this as losers because this is all you have in your life. It's come on. It's 2023. We have more important pressing things in our lives to deal with instead of you saying, Oh, I gotcha. Haha. Yeah. Look at this. I'm making them change their ways and making them run off the platform. Yeah. Score one for me because I'm the, I'm the main character kind of syndrome. These type of people, it's just, it's really disgusting to see how far I know a lot of this has actually been going on for even before social media, but it’s, kind of brought it to the forefront with how we see this thing. And it's, it really is discussing how we have, most of us have to change our ways and our thinking in order to not interact or find a way to have these particular, these, these types of individuals not interact with our content. But unfortunately it does happen. But the problem is that, for many years is a lot of these content creators and streamers, live streamers to be in fact, have relied solely on likes of Twitter or TikTok. And unfortunately they have given away their ownership of their content is that they only can do the only way that they can move forward and get more eyeballs on their branded content is actually going continuing to use these toxic cesspools. And that's really, really Why I wanted to do this episode is because it's in the high time that we as content creators remove our stuff from there to say, hey, we're no longer posting solely just to post on here. That's probably the roundabout way of saying it, but take ownership of what we're posting and what we want to share with the social media outlets like Twitter.

So one thing is, like I said, is owning your actual content and maintaining it as somebody that you make these videos or these live streams or a blog post or music or comics or whatever, any kind of content that you do. And it's something that you really needed to pull back instead of solely putting your entire life's work on. I say Twitter and TikTok, just let's say those two places. You should actually put it or have a website or a blog post or a blog or someplace that you have full and utter control over that you can post your content on your own site that then what you can do is share out to everything else. So that's the mindset that we have to actually get into. without solely relying on Twitter because already it's a cesspool and it's kind of like, why should you continue to use something that, yes, you might have some positive benefits in getting or advertising your brand's message out there, but at what cost? At what cost is it affecting your mental state, your mental, even physical state that...The negative is outweighing the positive and you continue. It's kind of like a Stockholm syndrome. I know a lot of people are out there and saying, I know I have to get off of Twitter, but this is the only way I can get eyes on my content. It's like, no, there's other ways. Yes, you can still use Twitter, but use it in a way that is not a interaction. Use it as more of as a advertisement method.

Which what I mean is, let's say you create a video or you set up, you have a charity live stream that you have coming up in say two weeks. Create an image or a post and put it on your site and then take the share, the link of that particular post and share it out. What's happening is that you're creating content on your own platform and you're sharing, you're taking that link and sending it to Twitter and having that be as an advertisement for free for now. Timing is recording it might change entirely, but for now is using as a free advertisement to whatever content that you want to advertise for. And then that's it. Don't go in there for interactions. Do not look at anything else.

Use it to just as a billboard, just a post. That's all Twitter pretty much is really now. Is use it as a billboard or as like your little pin up board at the auto parts store, the local grocery store for, you know, like seeking babysitter or something like that. Think of it as Twitter is that is the only value that Twitter is currently. There is no more interaction. Do not interact with it pretty much just use it as an advertising, free advertising. That's it. Now, you can use, especially if you're working with brands for sponsorship deals and stuff like that, you have to have for DMs. OK, that's it. Use it for DMs and as a free advertising blog or a bulletin board. And that's it. There's no interaction or anything like that. The only interaction is if you allow it for comments or anything like that on your particular site that you fully control. And then you can even put some gateways up in front of it to, hey, if you want to interact with my postings here, you have to create an account for free or hey, you know what? You got to pay me $4 .99. And that's the thing is that you have to make this drastic change. Yes, it's going to suck and you're going to lose couple of things or a lot of things in the meantime. But what's going to happen is that over the long term, your mental and physical health is actually probably going to get better because you're dropping something that is a detriment to your mental state that it's no longer feasible for you to even interact with this particular toxic environment anymore. It’s physically harming you. And I understand that for larger creators from myself or even even larger creators, even higher up is it's going to be it's going to be a change that it's going to be a painful change. But it's something that you'll have to do. Full stop. You have to take ownership of the content that you produce. What, like I said, whether it's a video, it's a live stream, it's a post, it's an image, a blog post, any kind of content that you make, you have to take control over and then share that content's link to the outside world. That's pretty much full stop what you have to do. And I say this to every other content creator, live streamer, do this because...If you're like myself, because I come from a privilege because I'm a straight white guy, old white guy. So I, I don't have really that experience where other people, marginalized creators or live streamers or people of color or anything like that. I don't have that experience. I have, I can only see from the outside perspective. And what I see is disgusting. It's not right. And it's unfortunate that these groups and these groups of people are having to take the full brunt of what is being thrown at them constantly day in day out. It's disgusting. But one thing I want to look at is how do you go about owning your own content? I've already touched on this by creating your own site or let's say for this example, we'll look into creating a blog. Now you don't have to

No, oh, I got to do a blog posting every day. You don't know. It's something that you can do on your own at your own pace. You can do one a week. You can do one every two weeks or one every other day. It's whatever schedule you want to go with and how you want to go about it is totally up to you. Now, one thing is using a software that's out there. It's a lot of it is free. You can even monetize these ventures as well. So again, it works out in your favor to have this set up as a particular way of getting your content out there. But you control the reins on it. You are in control. I know that I can say a lot of control a lot tonight because that is what the basis of tonight is going to be about is taking full effect, full of control of your particular destiny.

So one way for me, how I've done it, and this is not like a how -to guide or anything, or how you must do this in order to be better at controlling your own destiny. No, this is just how I've found what works for me. And it could be something that is completely different for you. You might find something that is better fit for you but it's all a personal journey and how you go about controlling your own destiny. One of them is actually creating your own website. What I mean by that is this is our forum, our website, for I use for, this is the Indie Creator. It's a forum, it's based off of Envision Power Board, is the underlying system or infrastructure that powers our site. And going through this, It's something that is showing that I can create a way to set up a place for other content creators to come in to keep things organized and to have people come in that want to share their experience or their resources that they might have found that might help themselves or might help somebody else or they might find someone's post is something else that might help them.

And it's something that I came up with that is for in my way is I'm controlling the my destiny of getting my content out there. And this is not just one. This is like a the peak of like a two prong approach. I guess that's how if you want to refer to it as what I do is I have a this is kind of like a combination of my two blog websites that I have that I still continue to use that I can post up here as well as like a kind of like essential hub that people can look through if they want to find my any game reviews and also talking about content creator centric stuff, especially for independent creators, you'll be finding here as well. So this is kind of like a place that I found that I can bring together.

And I'll show you this is, like I said, from a and that's unfortunately it's not free. I have to give you that to make that known. It's it's a it's paid option. It's a paid option. Some might say it's a little too much. But for me and how I go about things, it fit perfectly in line to what I want to do with it. And last. Two episodes ago, we talked about this stuff as well. So this is a blog post or a blog or newsletter site called Ghost. Now, what Ghost is, is a again, this is kind of like it's a free there's a free version ish and then there's a paid version. Free version is the software that runs the website is free and open source. You just have to provide the hosting infrastructure to put the software on. So that's why I say it's free ish unless you have the hardware yourself and the means to do it. And it doesn't cost you a penny. Fine. That's great. A lot of people do that. Or there's this is a low cost option for especially for someone just starting out. It's eleven dollars a month for if you have up to five hundred members. So you can you can have five hundred people or subscribe or create accounts into your ghost newsletter or blog. And then what you after that, then you'll have to bump it up. But what you could do is offer a pay plan to help offset the cost. So you have 500 people pay whatever amount that you want, say $4 .99. That's what I have set up here for the Indie Creator Hub is you can have a free, there's a free plan, free account. So if you want to to post comments on these articles. And there's also a paid option, which gives you a little bit more of, it gives you a Discord, a role in our Discord server. And you also help an independent creator out, help offset the cost. So that's another thing, what you can do is if you want to focus on, you don't have, like I said, you don't have to make a blog post.

You can just make a post and then share out from there because it's easy to do. It's like if I want to go ahead and let's open this one up here, this particular this particular post, all I got to do is just, you know, copy and paste that link and automatically shows up nice and pretty on whatever social media that you want to utilize. Say if it's Twitter, that's great. Go ahead and post it up on on Twitter and post a link out there and share your thoughts and opinions, because what's going to happen is your content is living on your own service, on your own infrastructure that you own and control. You're not putting what you're talking about on someone else's computer infrastructure. And let's say if Twitter, which probably more than likely happen, this is go away or completely dissolve into something different entirely. Your content that you've been posting out there for years and decades is gone. There is no coming back from that. You don't have control. Yeah, you can download or you can request your account information, but who's to say how long it's going to take? And then you've got to extrapolate that from a database file or whatever they give you. So it's kind of...It's like a catch -22. If you post your content on Twitter or anything like that, it's not technically yours anymore, really, because you don't have control over it. Yeah, you can delete it, but who's to say it gets censored? What if, you know, El Musco decides, oh, I don't like, I don't like the cut of your jib and starts, you know, deleting your cut, your, your tweets. Well, that's there in his prerogative and you don't have anything to say in it, oh well. But if you have setting up your own site, your own website, your own blog, and it's something that you can easily do, you don't have to use Envision or Ghost. You can use Substack. I have Substack here and this is completely free. And you can also monetize your content as well. So you can set this up create your own substack, which is the same thing as with Ghost. True, like I talked about in a couple of episodes ago, you don't really have caveats where it's not really, excuse me, you still have full control, but it's not your space that you control completely. So you have to weigh the pros and cons, but you have better options than posting your content out on a failed network.

You can also go to WordPress. WordPress allows you to do the same thing as Substack and you can also set it up for free. You have, let's go to the pricing plans here. You get free, you get themes and products. And you also, if you can also, if you want to pay for it, they got a pay plan, which is like $4 a month. If you buy annually, if you do monthly, it's $10. Okay, so you save a few dollars if you buy the annual plan. But still, you have a free option that is tons better than getting your content out there on having it live on a service or infrastructure that you have no control over. You have no say over what actually happens to that particular content. So looking at a couple of different things is that you do have options.

Your options are out there that you just have to take care of. And if you got a site already, perfect. Utilize it. Start creating content on your site and get the links out from your site to the rest of the world. That's the only way you can really take back control from the likes of Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else. One other thing is. Let's diversify our content hosting, especially let's look at video and live streaming or diversifying our content. Our video content is something that is also very important as well, because we have to rely mostly on YouTube because YouTube is the biggest and for all intents and purposes, the best version of a video storage platform that we can actually utilize for the moment.

Yes, there's options. There is Vimeo, but the free plan, there is major restrictions. You can only do 24 videos at a time on account stuff if you use, but and also you're going to do two, one or two videos per month. So you have 24 videos and that's it. You can't put any more on. You have to delete the oldest, put a new one in. So Vimeo is kind of weird about that, but it's also tons better and how it implements because it's actually Vimeo. Let me put this out there. Vimeo is geared more for the filmmaker, the professional putting content out there. They spent tons of time and money to do a 4K cinematic short. So most of the time they put it out there or corporations use it for whatever purposes that they might use it for. But anyways, going back to YouTube, YouTube is pretty much, it was started for the people, but it's no longer for the people because corporate interests have kind of taken over YouTube. A lot of the advertisement that you see on there dictates what kind of content is actually shown. Now, some people might disagree with this hot take and say, that's okay. But I think it's YouTube should not. It was basically as it started out, it was like that's why it's called YouTube. It's you on the tube TV. It's a cultural thing that unfortunately has outgrown any kind of competition to strike back at it. There is at this time, there is physically and literally no way to be a full competitor against the likes of YouTube. You have to spend billions upon trillions of dollars to even get started and to even begin to be a competitor to them. It's the unfortunate thing because they've grown to a size where they've taken over the market share. They control, they are the market share of video storage platform. That's it. Now,

How do you go against this? How do you fight it? Well, one way you can actually do that is you can utilize YouTube in a way, but again, you're not full control. One other way that it's not for everybody, because it is a pain in the butt to get set up and get working. Then of course you have to fit to get into the mindset of actually controlling, spinning up a server maintenance of installing the software, making sure it's up to date, making sure your storage is not getting taken care of or being used all of it being used. So you got there's so many different things you got to worry about. But the issue is one of the issues is taking care of and putting things in your own space is by using a place like PeerTube. PeerTube is a free and open source video storage platform.

Again, if you've been watching this channel and my previous videos, I did spend a live stream of about two hours getting and setting up an instance of PeerTube. It took two hours of me going through it and fumbling through it. And by myself, I am not a like a web system admin or server admin. I know enough to get myself into trouble, but PeerTube is kind of easy if you know what you're doing. It's the only thing I can get out there, but it is, it's not for the faint of heart. It's not for the people who just want like a simple press a button and go. It is very powerful once you get it up and running that you can put your videos on a PeerTube instance and share out from there.

Another thing that you can think of is this is also, you can look for instances are already built. You can go through and find someone who started up an instance and see if you can get a space on their, on their server. Now it's not, you're not going to have full another control because again, you're relying on another person keeping that server maintained and up and running.

So it's just something that you have to think about and go from there. There are other options is again, this is all starting to cost some money, but what you could do is spin up a storage server and post your videos there or use something like OneDrive box, iCloud, Google Drive, anything like that. You can use those services to store your videos on. And then you can share the link to those videos to the outside world. Is it, I mean, is it going to be the best? Probably not. But you know what is it gets you off of the YouTube. But the problem is, is that you're not going to have people like looking at your finding your videos and your content. So that's something that you have to take care of and say, oh, I'll have to, there's some caveats into this as well. It's not, so it's a simple diversify your content and that's easy peasy. But you can also set up a open source by using PeerTube. If you're not just a video content creator, if you do podcasts or you're a musician, you can use CastoPOD, especially if you are a, like I said, for a podcaster, there's another free open source, a free ish because you still have to control, you have to find or host your server infrastructure and do it that way. For musician there is the likes of SoundCloud. There is, there's a free and open source. I think it's whale or something like that. Whale spin. I'm not, I should have brought this up beginning, but yeah.

But there are options out there that go into more of hosting your content that is away from YouTube. There is options out there. But again, you just have to make the sacrifice and say, hey, I understand if I post my videos on a PeerTube, excuse me, if I post my stuff on YouTube, And not really meaning people are going to see it as it were if I had posted it to the likes of YouTube. And that's okay. What you could do is integrate your video, take the link and embed it inside a blog post and then share that blog post out to Twitter. Yes, it's kind of like a roundabout way, but it's still, you still have full control over what your content is, where it is, and how it is shared out and what happens to it. So that is pretty much what I wanted to talk about is how to organize and control your own destiny, your own content destiny, and going about this. I know for some it could be a scary transition, but it's something that needs to be taken a full look into and say I need to actually take control of not only my content, but my life as well, because what you're putting out is part of you. There is no way other way to think about it because you are putting a little bit of what you are into your content. And if you're just placing that content and for it to get cracked on from by these toxic people, well, it's something you got, you have to figure out and take care of. 

So, That is a big decision for a lot of creators. And I hope what I talked about in this episode kind of resonates with some and that say, hey, I got to make some changes here. I got to make some changes with my content and to get away from this toxic cesspool and to control my own destiny and my own free will as it were. So hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode. If you have, go ahead, leave a comment. If you listening to this on like Apple podcast, do leave a review that helps out a lot. And I really want to read your guys' review on Apple podcasts, especially if you, if you subscribe to our show there, you can also find our show anywhere else on the podcast players that you might use or your RSS feeds or anything like that. So thank you for listening. I'll see you guys on the next episode. We'll talk about another important topic that deals with content creation and anything like that. And within this kind of universe as a word for us as content creators. So thank you for coming for me, Josh, your humble host again on the independent creator podcast. I'll see you next time. Have a good night.