It all started with this tweet:
It is exactly a sentiment I had for a while now about the current state of the internet. Everything we do 90% of the time on the internet now is controlled by a few companies. Am I the only one that sees this as a potential threat?
I remember the days of IRC and DC++ (something that was really strong in Romania back in my 10s), you could find a decentralized channel where you could talk freely (as freely as the rules of that channel allowed you).
I remember the days of personal websites and Tumblr, back when if you liked a celebrity you would go to their blog and add it to your own RSS reader to see new posts.
Nowadays if you share something on Facebook that they don’t consider “worthy to read” your post would be buried and almost nobody would be able to read it. The “social media algorithms” are made so the companies can make more money, not encourage people to do their own content.
There are also companies that try to encourage people to create content and make independent platforms like personal websites, blogs, and so on. If you read my blog regularly you know one of those companies I like a lot is Automattic.
What should we do to bring back the spirit of the old internet? Thoughts, ideas?
Well… the change can start with you. Nowadays it is, even more, easier to create content but in an independent manner. Register on WordPress.com or another similar platform, customize a theme a bit and you are good to go. Or there’s Tumblr, a thing that was very popular amongst teenagers and youth a few years ago before Instagram and TikTok stole the crowd.
Of course, we had problems back in the old era too, for example, an abusive moderator on IRC or on a forum, but things were somehow easier to manage, nowadays when big corporations own all the content we create it is harder to prevent abuse.
We live in an excellent era to create original content in both writing and video but seems like fewer and fewer people tend to do this. I will write another article some these days on how open-source changed our lives, but one of the things open source gave us is the ability to make our own platforms and choose what we publish. I keep mentioning Facebook as if it was the evilest corporation ever, not trying to say that, but every corporation like that will try to seek its own good. If Facebook considers that a Youtube video I shared is not worth seeing by others, it won’t show it. And it is the same thing with personal sites or platforms, it is very hard to make for example this article popular on Facebook because every time someone leaves the platform for an external website they lose money.
Another aspect of hosted platforms like Facebook or Twitter is that you can’t customize your content or the way it looks. Everyone is forced into the same “template” and you can’t really put your unique personality on your profile.
Let’s make the internet great again. Otherwise, the future is not as bright as we might expect.