Independent Work

A community for freelancers, independent of social media and tech.

Independent Work launched in May 2019, and it’s been slowly growing ever since. At the time of writing, the community is made up of around 700 registered freelancers.

The community was set up to be a space that’s independent of big tech: it’s a self-sustaining forum, with no association to Slack, Discord, Facebook or LinkedIn.

The forum format might seem a little old-school, but it offers a few perks that may not be immediately obvious:

  1. You don’t need to be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack or Discord to join: create an account with your email address
  2. It runs on Discourse, open source forum software that can be accessed via an app when you’re on the move.
  3. Messages are kept forever
  4. Conversations are threaded
  5. The format encourages/rewards meaningful and considered discussions
  6. Members are in control of their notifications (no work/personal blur or notification overload)
  7. Easy to search
  8. Topic organisation is straightforward

In general, the pace is slow and a laptop/desktop provides the best experience for contributing. That means messages tend to be a little longer and there isn’t the back-and-forth pinging of instant messages.

Oh, and the content you post won’t feed the surveillance capitalist model, which is nice.*

The community requires a login: founding members expressed that they were more likely to discuss details when the space wasn’t publicly accessible and/or indexable by search engines.

Like the sound of it?

If you’re a freelancer, we’d love you to join us. And if you’d like to support the running costs, that would be greatly appreciated.

The community is free to join and is proving to be a genuinely enjoyable forum to discuss freelance topics. 

See you there.

* I’m aware that being able to run an independent set-up requires a least a little privilege. If you run a freelance community and want to explore moving to an independent platform, I’d be happy to share my experiences of using Discourse. Book an Unoffice Hours and we can chat.


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