D-Web Movement: Widespread, But Below Tipping Point
So I was going to write a post today about the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH). To help me write the post, I first did a little reading about the Decentralized Web (D-Web) movement for which Brewster Kahle and Tim Berners-Lee are two of the leading proponents.
Argh… I ended up spending a couple hours reading about projects related to the D-Web and thinking about how they relate to the PDH. And that couple hours of reading is just barely scratching the surface. It feels like I’m just beginning to get a picture of how many technologies and people are involved in the D-Web effort. Sort of makes the PDH project feel overwhelming, or Sisyphean…
But I’m still going ahead with the PDH project!
It’s something I want and need. And if PDH is designed and built well, it will be something other people want and use daily.
But the rest of today’s post will just be a reading list for people new to the D-Web movement and the projects and technologies involved with it. If this topic seems important to you, take the time to go to the source items and read them in their entirety.
Locking The Web Open
The first item to read is “Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Distributed Web” — a clarion call from Brewster Kahle in August 2015, urging people to come together to build a Distributed Web (that name changed over the next few months to the Decentralized Web).
“Over the last 25 years, millions of people have poured creativity and knowledge into the World Wide Web…
It turns out that the World Wide Web is quite fragile…We now know that Web pages only last about 100 days on average before they change or disappear. They blink on and off in their servers…And the Web is massively accessible– unless you live in China…And other countries block their citizens’ access as well every once in a while. So the Web is not reliably accessible.
And the Web isn’t private. People, corporations, countries can spy on what you are reading. And they do…So we need a Web that is better than it is now in order to protect reader privacy.
But the Web is fun. The Web is so easy to use and inviting that millions of people are putting interesting things online; in many ways pouring a digital representation of their lives into the Web…
We got one of the three things right. But we need a Web that is reliable, a Web that is private, while keeping the Web fun. I believe it is time to take that next step: I believe we can now build a Web reliable, private and fun all at the same time…
What we need to do now is bring together technologists, visionaries, and philanthropists to build such a system that has no central points of control. Building this as a truly open project could in itself be done in a distributed way, allowing many people and many projects to participate toward a shared goal of a Distributed Web….”
Decentralized Web Summit
“Join us for the first Decentralized Web Summit — June 8-9, in SF” by Brewster Kahle in May 2016.
“The first Decentralized Web Summit is a call for dreamers and builders who believe we can lock the Web open for good. This goal of the Summit (June 8) and Meetup featuring lightning talks and workshops (June 9) is to spark collaboration and take concrete steps to create a better Web.
Together we can build a more reliable, more dynamic, and more private Web on top of the existing web infrastructure…”
Break Open The Web
“How To Break Open The Web” by Dan Gillmor and Kevin Marks in June 2016.
“One of us is writing this piece from an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean. The other is working from his home in California. Not long ago this would have sounded like science fiction. Today it’s becoming routine in a world where we do more and more with amazing digital tools on far-flung networks.
But there’s a catch. We’re doing this on an Internet that is breaking its original promise.
…this government-created, radically decentralized network of networks, which has spawned so much innovation at the edges, is rapidly being re-centralized. Control is being captured by governments and corporations and taken away from—or being ceded by—the rest of us.
…What’s at stake here? In a word, permission. People should not need permission to speak, to assemble, to innovate, to be private, and more. But when governments and corporations control choke points, they also control whether average people can participate fully in society, politics, commerce, and more.
That’s why we spent three days earlier this month in San Francisco with technologists and activists who are determined to re-decentralize or redistribute the web (and by extension, the broader Internet), by returning control and permission to the edges…the Decentralized Web Summit brought together some of the graybeards who invented it all with millennials who see beyond the boundaries of Facebook. (You can watch the talks and discussions on the Internet Archive’s video player.)…”
Bringing Back The Blog
“Bringing Back The Blog” by Tantek Çelik in August 2010 (early days of IndieWeb).
“8 years ago this month I started blogging my thoughts on tantek.com. That lasted just 6 years; there was no seventh year of blogging.
I continued publicly posting to Twitter, Pownce (moment of silence), Flickr (currently 7 months behind), my PBWiki, and comments on others’ blogs. But it wasn’t the same. I had gone from owning (most of) my content, to digital sharecropping…
Last year I told myself this year would be different. Among personal struggles perhaps I’ll recount someday, I thought about how should personal publishing work? How did I want it to work?…
Encouraged by the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism of the implementers at the Federated Social Web Summit (presentation) a month ago, I decided little text notes were not enough, it was time to rebuild my blog…”
IndieWeb Movement Importance
“Why the Indie Web movement is so important” by Dan Gillmor in April 2014.
“Suppose you could write in your personal blog and have a summary of your post show up on popular social-media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook – and then have responses on those sites show up as comments in your blog? You can, and if some talented programmers have their way you’ll soon be able to do so easily…
Why would you or I want to do this? Simple: We’re in danger of losing what’s made the Internet the most important medium in history – a decentralized platform where the people at the edges of the networks – that would be you and me – don’t need permission to communicate, create and innovate.
…when we use centralized services like social media sites, however helpful and convenient they may be, we are handing over ultimate control to third parties that profit from our work, material that exists on their sites only as long as they allow…”
It looks like I’ll be doing a bunch more reading, absorbing, and figuring out how the myriad of D-Web efforts relate to PDH and might influence v.0.1 of the product. I’ll get back to you with more on PDH in a week or two…