Over on Medium, Anil Dash talks about The Missing Building Blocks of the Web, which is actually an article I’d meant to link to ages ago, then forgot until Kottke linked to it. There’s no magic-bullet for solving the internet-mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, but there’s a lot to be said for “back to first principles” thinking. Some of it is going to be more realistic than others — getting “View Source” back to something useful, given how complex web development has become, is a bit optimistic, though I do agree with the notion of finding ways to improve it, given our multi-component sites. A core through-line for a lot of this post is getting back to the idea of everyone having their own stake in the internet:
There’s no reason it has to be that way, though. There are no technical barriers for why we couldn’t share our photos to our own sites instead of to Instagram, or why we couldn’t post stupid memes to our own web address instead of on Facebook or Reddit. There are social barriers, of course — if we stubbornly used our own websites right now, none of our family or friends would see our stuff. Yet there’s been a dogged community of web nerds working on that problem for a decade or two, trying to see if they can get the ease or convenience of sharing on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to work across a distributed network where everyone has their own websites.
Now, none of that stuff is simple enough yet. It’s for nerds, or sometimes, it’s for nobody at all. But the same was true of the web itself, for years, when it was young. This time, we know the stakes, and we can imagine the value of having a little piece of the internet that we own ourselves, and have some control over.