The internet is not broken. People are.
That magical place that is Hacker News managed to fish up this piece of content today, from the depths of the web. And I am very grateful for that.
Before I start can we appreciate the fact that this piece is a .txt file hosted on a server? The reading experience is so broken on mobile but I don't even care. This is just great.
Anyway, back to the content of that post. Overall I don't disagree with the opinion shared in that lovely txt file. What I do disagree with though, is the root cause for the current "decline" of the web. I don't believe what we're facing is a tech issue. I think what we're facing is a human one.
This level of access seems to be gone these days. Services are still free, of course, but mostly services where you can be siloed in.
I don't believe this is the case. There are plenty of services that will grant you the same level of access these days. Heck there are plenty of services that will grant you whatever level of access you desire. I'd argue that it's easier than ever to make a personal website. The amount of resources out there are staggering. And yet, people are not spending an afternoon setting up a personal site. They sign up to the next social platform instead. Why? Because of the ability to reach people instantly. The web can be a lonely place at times. You create a site, you push it online and then... what? What happens next? Nothing. Nothing is probably what happens next. Because no one knows that site exists. We can safely assume there's more than 1 billion websites out there in the wild and if you add yours you're literally a drop in the digital ocean.
As a result of that, you have to be proactive if you want people to see your content. You have to interact with other communities out there, you have to reach out to people, and all this takes time and effort. But all that goes away as soon as you jump on the social platforms bandwagon. The Algorithm will do the work for you. You only have to figure out what kind of content works. And the payoff can be instantaneous.
No one can amass million of followers on a person blog in a matter of weeks. That is something that can only happen on a social platform like Instagram or TikTok. And that's why most people don't go down the personal site path. Most people are not chasing freedom of expression. They're chasing fame. Quantity over quality seems to be the law of the modern web.
And that is what's slowly killing the web in my opinion. It's not Google's fault. Or Facebook's fault. It's people's fault. We are responsible for what's happening. Now, I have to acknowledge the fact that big companies are spending big money in order to optimise their sites to leverage every single bit of human flaws that are present in our damn monkey brains. That's undeniable. But I still think we, the people, are sharing a good chunk of the responsibility for what's happening online.
But I get it. Complaining about Facebook or Twitter or Google or Amazon is easy. Doing something to change your internet life is hard. But I strongly encourage you to do it. Make yourself a personal site if you have something worth sharing. Reach out to people directly if you want to connect. Make time to build human connections. That is what still matters in my opinion.