Advocate for Independent Web Publishing
People Never Cared About the Web
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What I've come to understand about the collapse of the web is that web users never existed in the first place. They "existed" insofar as they did only because for a time the web as hosted by a person's personal computer was the only instrument to connect electronically. Nobody wanted to be a publisher. It's just that once they were there, they did publish.

Using CB radio of the 70s as an analogy, people wanted a new way to communicate while on the road or just for the wild fun of it. CB radio was the one instrument that allowed for that so when people discovered it they amassed themselves on the open airwaves by the millions. As a side effect everyone became a broadcaster yet nobody actually wanted to broadcast, they only wanted to communicate. When cell phones came along CB radio use plummeted. Nobody hung on to being a broadcaster because "broadcasting was just so cool" or something.

People did enjoy putting up home pages, having their own domains, their own art and presentations, their own sense of hyperlink power, and their own place of expression, but this was all incidental. The computer with an Internet connection was mainly about getting work done. While a few stayed behind, like yours truly, to continue enjoying that power, most happily ceded it all when mobile apps and Facebook allowed for the more efficient and focused functionality of the online things they really needed to do.

Otherwise, nobody was in love with being a powerful far-reaching publisher. Nobody cared or thought much about who owned or controlled their online content whether it was themselves or some guy called Zuck.

If Facebook allows for easier interaction between people or the posting of posts ... like this very one ... nobody cares that every interaction is monetized, or that, as a single system of place that everyone agrees on, it is easier to control and censor communication. Ask the average citizen in China if their own Facebook Firewall - the "Great Firewall of China", state run rather than privately run, bothers their day to day online activities and I'd gamble hardly.

It is no longer right to say that people forgot about the freedom of the open web. Rather, it is more absolute to say most people never appreciated it in the first place.

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