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29/10/2021

2021/10/29#p1
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On this day in 2019, Brent Simmons wrote his post 'You Choose' in which he advocated for people to "choose the web you want." The downside was that you have to do the work.

"A lot of people are doing the work. You could keep telling them, discouragingly, that what they’re doing is dead. Or you could join in the fun."

I proposed last year that October 29th could be "The Web You Want (TWYW) Day":

"Ownership, both physical and moral, of our spaces, words and actions on the web are important and we have a responsibility to build and use things the way we want them to be."

So, this is my annual reminder to myself (moved from 30th to 29th) to choose the web I want. Building (b)log-In was a major step forward in that direction.

It is also a good time to go back to Anil Dash's seminal post "The Web We Lost" from 2012 to remind ourselves how things used to be.

With enough people doing the work we need not be beholden to the gatekeepers and large corporations. The web can, once again, be for the people by the people but we have to give a shit. Therein lies the problem: not enough people seem to give enough of a shit to do anything about it.

Manu wrote recently that he had come to a somewhat depressing realisation:

"The only people who are still caring about an independent web are the people who have the tech skills to do something about it. But they're obviously a tiny minority. And they probably live in a tech bubble. The reality of this fight is that the vast majority of people fundamentally don't care ...

"Personal sites are not going to "come back" because they never "went away" to begin with. At one point they were the only available tool and that's why they were everywhere. But at that time the web was also dominated by tech oriented people and those same people still have personal websites to this day. They've simply become a minority. Today's web is filled with people who are not tech savvy—or nerds—and they are content to use social media platforms. They never cared about having a personal site. It was never a thing for them."

At least those who do care can try to do something about it so that we don't lose the rest.

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James says:Reply to James

With enough people doing the work we need not be beholden to the gatekeepers and large corporations. The web can, once again, be for the people by the people but we have to give a shit. Therein lies the problem: not enough people seem to give enough of a shit to do anything about it. Most people don't care about the web like they don't care about how their car works. But with large influx of users on the internet, there's arguably more people who care about web than ever before, it's just a smaller percentage of over all users. And with the giants penalizing content that's not on the big platforms, it's harder to find and gets lost in the noise.

Personal websites have always required technical skills of one kind or another. It's "problem" is that while modern tooling is much more capable than that of early web 2.0, it's much more complex. While getting started in a cookiec-cutter fashion is easier than ever (Wordpress etc..), doing something that's truly your own is much more difficult. Hopefully import-maps will help us leave part of this complexity in the past. (DHH wrote a good post about this).

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warner says:Reply to warner

@colinwalker agreed props to the tech makers like Winer, but the real decider of success will be if influential creatives with direct normie audience adopt, so arguably more important persona is non-technical supporters like @jasraj & his writer network. I'm seeing trend there among thoughtful, introvert & educated subset of normie population steering away from BigSocials. That's 10% rather than 1% of population. That's where my hope lies, hence why I'm coaching musician equivalents in tech via SavvyIndie.com

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2021/10/29#p2
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So, shout outs to the likes of Brent Simmons, Manton Reece, Dave Winer, to name a few, who keep trying to build the web they want and the tools they need to get there.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog