my web manifesto
the following are my raw and unedited thoughts spread over a number of weeks. i add these to the page as i think them through, usually while walking my dogs. once i get to the point where i have shared all my feelings on the subject i will attempt to put some order into the chaos.
the internet used to be a huge place. netizens filled their time writing email, visiting forums, making websites, chatting on irc. they filled their bookmarks folder in their browsers with hundreds of places they enjoyed to visit across the web.
these days, the internet is smaller, reduced to a smaller number of places that people may visit every day. boring.
it's time to take it back.
why i have a homepage
i believe in taking back control, reclaiming my digital future and contribute to rebuilding a web for everybody.
i don't have a website for popularity or making money. i want to develop interesting things to write and share. i don't care if anyone reads it or not. i don't want to share on social media.
i miss the personal, do it yourself aspect of everyone having their own homepage rather than a page within a closed social media platform. the rise of these social media platforms have lead to an increasingly user-hostile web, and i don't like it.
websites and blogs these days are not organically passionate. they're just looking at ways to capitalise on any given subject, and an seo mess dilluting the usefulness of the web!
the old web
it's hard for me to pin point when or where the old web finished for me. i want to say sometime around 2010...
to me the old web was not an aesthetic, but a community, not just one community but hundreds of little communities.
sure there were websites that we lovingly slapped together html with textured backgrounds and hard to read text and enough animated gifs to bring your internet connection to your knees, but there were also a lot of really nice looking websites, remember this was a time where we were starting to figure out what we could really do on this web thing.
to me, the old web was all about having your own place on the web, lovingly crafting your homepage and tending to it over time, filling it with whatever we felt was interesting. we linked far and wide, to our favourite sites or new sites we came across that we thought were cool or interesting. we linked to each other. we didn't need a search engine to tell us where we might need to visit.
we posted useful information, information that got straight to the point. we didn't post recipes or guides with a 1000 word story on how a loaf of freshly baked bread straight out of the oven reminded us of spending summers at our grandparents farm. fuck that haha.
we were not confined to the walls of giant tech companies hostile silos of the internet.
the personal web
when i think of the web my first thoughts are of the personal web, and i smile.
the personal web is where everybody owns their own corner of cyber space where they can share what ever they want, and it is displayed how ever they want.
the personal web is not dictated by an algorithm. nor is it designed to sell you something.
however it may be designed to influence you in enjoying reading about something that brings joy to another netizen.
the medium of choice on the personal web is the personal homepage. with our own homepages we are free to choose the layout, design, graphics, fonts and colours of our homepages. it allows us to show off our personal style to the rest of the internet.
we can decide what goes where and don't care if it's beautiful or a beautiful mess.
the simple web
do you remember when you went to search the web for something, and you would often come across personal homepages, usually dedicated to a single topic, full of high quality information, created by people who absolutely loved the topic?
these days web search results are full of low quality seo'd pages full of adverts, that are not related to what you wear searching for at all. all the old high quality info sites are either non existent, lost to search algorithms as they've not been updated in a number of years, do not support https, or the valuable information is stuffed in between a useless 23 minute video!
i can't stand the videos either. they're usually long drawn out introductions, irrelevant stories about absolutely nothing, don't forget to check out our sponsor, who also sponsors every other video creator, and then if you're lucky, a couple words about the topic you were after that could have easily been communicated in a simple page of text. the videos are drawn out and created to be a certain length so that they can, monetise the videos...
don't forget to like and subscribe though!
the commercial web
the web today, social media is easy and people are lazy, or they don't know what more the web can offer them.
for the most part, facebook, twitter, instagram all make it very easy to share what's on peoples minds quickly with no setup.
which is fine. however, i don't see a too big of a difference between that and sharing the same stuff on your own personal home page, where you get to own your own content, except that the setup experience requires a few more steps than mindlessly entering every single piece of personal information.
not absolutely everything has to be monetised, hobbies can be just that, hobbies, making and sharing something doesn't need affiliate links, sponsored posts or targeted ads.
rss exists to follow those that you are interested in. however, again the setup experience rules out a lot of people who are either lazy, or don't care, want things handed to them (what's a little bit of my privacy worth for the convenience).
now, shitposts, hateposts aside, there is so much awesome content lost amongst the crap on the above platforms. like super awesome bbq tutorials stuck inside a facebook group, or super awesome info posts lost forever in someones instagram stories. outside of these platforms they're undiscoverable! even within the platforms they're undiscoverable as unless you saw the content the day it was posted its mostly lost forever in a stream of endless crap.
similar vein with blogs where the chronological post order came into play. it in the most part signified that anything dated old was no irrelevant.
our own homepages where we do have some content that is dated for various reasons isn't a big deal due to the way we are able to organise, curate and bring attention to particular pages.
i think the discoverability aspect of the web was lost during the time where blogs became means of monetisation as well as people no longer linked other blogs of similar topics as they were now the competition competing for those page views for the measly adsense cents per view.
i loved linking all my web friends sites from my own back in the day, that formed a sense of community within the communities for what ever topic your page was about that particular month.
having a personal homepage is awesome, if you don't have one already, get one!
to be continued
read more about the personal, small, and open web
have a read through the archives of my bookmark folders and pocket reading list. some absolute gems in here of others who share similar thoughts.