Blog 5.17.24

I miss the internet. This isn’t some “old person” rant where I’m shaking my first at the cloud (digital or otherwise). This is about something bigger and more important to me. It’s about the loss of diversity.

Back in the day, people had websites. They weren’t “branded” and they were certainly not “optimized” or any of that BS that I’ve spent a good chunk of my professional life doing. And yes, I realize that I’ve been part of the problem. I helped kill the internet and make it the garbage heap that it is today, while helping funnel people to social media sites which are the digital equivalent of fascist states. (I’m not being hyperbolic. Think about it.)

I’ve written before about how social media has turned into an obligation for me. How fucking tragic it is that they’ve captured my audiences and refuse to let them see my content, either because of algorithmic bullshit that prioritizes ads, or because they decided my content didn’t sufficiently conform to the political bent of their overlords. I was shadow-banned on Twitter, and I can see a drastic decrease in visibility on certain posts for Facebook & Instagram. TikTok is it’s own beast, but it’s not really anything except a time-suck comprised of highly entertaining ephemera. Mastodon/Fediverse is the most social of all the platforms I spend time on, but it still demands some degree of UX/UI conformity and certain limitations.

I know we can’t go back, but I also feel strongly that its important for us, in whatever capacity we can, to own our own properties online and re-create (manually, if necessary) a web of individual sites that reflect our own humanity. This morning I decided that I’m going to create an index on this website where I can add links to sites that I think are high value. There are still lots of people out there making great stuff that you can’t find on the big social platforms, and it deserves to be seen, read, and engaged with in the manner that the site owner has chosen to convey it.

The idea that we’re now all clumped together in these walled-gardens that are designed with gamification techniques to keep us there, with UIs that cater to the lowest common denominators, breaks my Gen X heart. The fact that there are multiple generations now who don’t know the value of an open web and are happy to consume content streams that have been curated for them using opaque criteria is a travesty.

Call me paranoid if you want (I’m not), but I’ve seen the power of these platforms in suppressing information, redirecting our attention, and watering down human relationships. They are a necessary evil for the time being, but if I had my way, I’d tear them all down and set us free.

Anyway, if you know of great websites, blogs, or other self-hosted web properties that I should be aware of, send me a link. I’m on a mission to find the best of the best, and make sure everyone else knows about it.