Did you read that article on Ev and Medium?
Ev Williams became a billionaire by helping to create the free and open web. Now, he’s betting against it.
The Atlantic writes a perfect definition of the open web:
the open web describes an internet where people mostly publish their writing (or music, or photos, or films) to servers that they own or rent, accessible via their own personal domain names, in formats that are themselves free or unrestricted. It is the web because the pages are written in HTML and CSS; it is open because anyone can access almost all of it, without special privileges, expenditures, or a user account. Above all, the open web is free—free like language is free, like consciousness is free. Freedom not so much as a right, but as a technical and inalienable fact.
It is the web we’re still trying to use between silos. OG web. But yeah it’s tedious to set up RSS, it’s tedious to manage favorites, it’s even more tedious to create the pipeline to publish (from installing local apps to connect to diverse sources and understand the concept of client/server).
But when I read this:
Medium seeks to replicate the web’s old, chaotic hubbub on a single, ordered site—because, ultimately, Ev values the chaos.
I’m like, this is
bullshit. Sorry, this is pure antinomy. That makes no sense and I don’t want it. If you value the chaos, just leave it alone.
I understand WordPress is out of reach for non-tech people and I understand that Medium wants to be the FB of thoughts or whatever. We have to find something better. Another interesting quote though:
Railroad, electricity, cable, telephone—all followed this similar pattern toward closedness and monopoly, and government regulated or not, it tends to happen because of the power of network effects and the economies of scale
Keyword it tends to. Monopoly and closedness are fine when they don’t own shit but the pipes. Railroad companies didn’t own people’s suitcases. Medium does. Inside your brain will reside on their servers and we absolutely don’t have to. Monopolies tend to vastly abuse our collective asses, let’s not forget that.
Where closedness and more monopolies should happen is probably around hosting companies. It’s still the wild wild west and they don’t understand how to provide the next step of web services. I’ve been using a few in 16 years, they all are pretty terrible if not appalling. So here are a few ideas:
– The entire process of creating a personal
website online space and being able to publish stuff on it should be as easy as signing up for a new phone line. One payment, One email, One password. You download an app. You publish 5mn later. You pay your host a fee. Storage and bandwidth should be limitless.
I mean in 2016 this simple thing doesn’t exist. The closest to that, Squarespace, is still talking about templates and “building” websites. Girl, that’s the past. Empower people, don’t scare them with technical shenanigans. The geekiness is not appealing to most people.
– Second, following and blocking should be as easy as on Twitter. Maybe in your app you have one tab with your content and then tabs for your groups, crews, posses, friends, followers etc. on/off toggles for options.
– Tertiomundo, I think there should be a limit in how many times you can post a day. Maybe just twice a day, under a 1,000 words each. I want people to write their thoughts, to discuss them, not to spam and take over just through shear output.
– Fourth, a micropayment solution perfectly integrated to allow people to pay each other. The hosting company takes a cut.
In a perfect world this framework would be open source and installed en masse by hosting companies trying to enlarge their markets.
I don’t believe in Ev’s vision of providing content to people. Not providing actually, force-feeding. “You might also like” is wrong. Time spent reading is a weak ass metric. Publishing isn’t just about audience. FB’s algos are so wrong I always always feel like a lab rat on it, it’s gross. People need to make decisions, to reach for something. They need to want to read someone’s experience that’s how you grow, that’s how you actually profit from it. Did you know that your body processes food much better when you focus on it instead of watching some screen? Yup, same for thoughts. And as for food, it’s great to change and get something different any time you want. No “recommendation engine” can do that for you. You are your own chaos.
I’ll finish with this quote from Idle Words’ brilliant talks:
But the real world is a stubborn place. It is complex in ways that resist abstraction and modeling. It notices and reacts to our attempts to affect it. Nor can we hope to examine it objectively from the outside, any more than we can step out of our own skin.
Chaos is already here. Don’t try to reinvent it, incrementally make it more useful.