The Independent Web

I can remember the internet in the days before the term ‘independent web’ became an ideal. In the beginning, everything about the web was independent. If you wanted to put something on the ‘information superhighway,’ you had to get access to a server (or host your own) and code it in whatever message you wanted to share.

Collectively, we have made a big trade-off. The move to platforms of scale (i.e. social media) has made it astronomically easier to use the Internet: Mark Zuckerberg has made it extremely convenient for us to log-in and leave our messages for each other on his computer. But this ease of use comes at a cost. The web is increasingly centralized: all the stuff we post is published in datasets we can’t access, under terms of use agreements we don’t read.

We feel like the cloud gives us freedom, but this liberty is, in fact, an acute dependency server infrastructure we don’t control in any way whatsoever. Whatever the web is today, and becoming, it is not a state described well by the word ‘independent.’

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