I am at an airport, and I just saw a booth where I could access the web for free if I had the right card, or for a certain amount of euros per time unit. I saw the Microsoft Internet Explorer logo. All the computers where available, except for one. I assumed the girl that was using it worked there. Why else would you use a place like that?
It made me realise how much the web has changed. In another era, there were publishers, who put information on paper. These papers could then be brought by those who were interested in the information. It was a publishers world. The story has been told many times: the internet changed that, information became free, anyone could publish. But the web has evolved once more.
Why would I not want to use a computer in that booth even if it were free? Because I have no idea what to do on the web. Do I go to some news sites? Do I look up the time of my flight again? It would only be to kill time. Most of the public information is boring, the real fun is on Twitter, Facebook or maybe even my e-mail, where the information is tailored to my tastes. And no, I would not feel okay with entering my password into one of those things.
I should probably not call the social media part of the internet ‘the web’. It is partly not accessable without logging in, not all parts have clear URLs, it depends on a few giant websites. But there’s more fun on those silo’s, or at least: there is more of that promised content, published by anyone, everyone, especially your friends. And the best way of viewing it, is by authenticating myself as me. Luckily this is not a problem: I have a device in my pocket that is connected and authenticated 24/7. Compared to that, the web is a dull place, with unpersonal information.
Will the web make place for these giant silo’s? Is the time of publishing on your own site over? I hope not. I’m experimenting with this on this website, which is my personal website. There is a link in the upper-right corner which says ‘log in’. That is not a link for me, that is a link for you. You can log in using various methods (ok, only IndieAuth and Twitter are supported at the time of writing). After you are logged in you will see more posts, like my checkin into the airport. If I know you and shared a post especially with you, you will see those as well.
We still need some work on staying authenticated, preferably to one app that collects private posts for you, as you. But there is more web in this approach than we have in social media. And that is nice. I like more web. The web is exciting. Let’s not let it stay boring with only public, general information. Let’s share the personal here too. And let’s create a way to do that in a more private way, where you control who sees your posts. See you on the IndieWeb!