Advocate for Independent Web Publishing
Surfing Versus Darting
WWW openweb passingthought
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I posted an open lament to Reddit that maybe we should concede the death of the WWW to social networks and phone apps. There's only so much digital energy in people day to day and they aren't expending it through a web browser on a computer unless they have to.

What I suggested was the continued maintenance of a "laptop" web by enthusiasts who "got" the point of the web and could continue to develop for it, living with the constraint that their output was no longer part of a (relative) mass media. My WWW site would be designed and posted for other WWW enthusiasts, and that would be fine.

I've realized since that unpopular post (largely downvoted and mocked by the web design audience whose gravy is HTML) that what I really meant should not be spun as a "laptop" web or a "WWW" web, but rather, a web surfers web.

After all, I'm not talking about just the tools of web browsing (e.g., a web browser, HTML) but the habits and techniques engaged in by people who web browse.

Phone apps and closed garden social media sites eliminate the hopping (read: surfing) behavior so characteristic of people using the original web. Then, web authors unabashedly linked to other authors and people followed these links for the sheer enjoyment of it.

To most people the web, now, is a feed and the behavior is more akin to web "darting". People dart out to individual web pages containing stories or still other feeds, based on social prompts by linked social media contacts. After they have finished consuming their content, they dart straight back to their feed.

I could still be very well talking about the preservation of a laptop or PC WWW by synonymous effect, but from now on I'm going to call it more precisely the preservation of the web surfing culture. And I for one am going to concentrate on providing for that culture.


What if Trump Isn't Actually Avoiding The Media?
politics openweb trump
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Capture of NBC News front page featuring article about Trump avoiding the media.

If he talks to the people directly why does he need to talk to journalists?

As depicted above an NBC news page opens with the report that Donald Trump is "still avoiding journalists" after Trump released a Thanksgiving Day video, right past them, on You Tube.

It got me thinking, what if Trump isn't actually avoiding journalists? What if social media is the actual way that Trump intends to connect with the public, like, forever? And if that is true then it is fair to say that he's not really "avoiding" the media -- after all, the TV networks and newspapers are all free to report on his tweets and You Tube videos right? He's just not directly relying on them to dispense himself.

Who needs the traditional networks when you can broadcast yourself?

I think we are experiencing an interesting change in the relationship between politicians and the traditional press with Trump leading the way. Trump so far has been quite content and clearly effective at producing authentic communication between himself and the public on Twitter.

And when I say authentic I mean authentic. Many politicians are using social media to get their messages out but most of those I know of rely on posi-spin miniaturized "press release" formats. Carefully crafted communication that is contorted smoothly to avoid offending or making the office holder somehow vulnerable.

Trump's tweets, however ill-advised, are like one-on-one declarations. If imperfect in original form, they can be corrected in a follow up. The impulsive nature of his Twitter posts make it feel like he's talking to you directly.

As near as I can tell Trump can sail the next four years without ever having to meet a journalist in person. I suspect there is a bevy of reasons this is not a good idea for him or anyone of high public office to take advantage of, but it would be interesting for him to try by lark so that we could see how effective it is and to find out what some of the bad reasons actually wind up being. Maybe they aren't so bad whatever they are.

I am still compelled to tail my posts on Trump with a reminder I did not vote for him over his threats to repeal Obamacare, and because I did not like a certain faction of his followers. But I do appreciate his embrace of social media and his dare to self-manage his outward presence in a way that leaves the "old press" on the sidelines.


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