Take back your web?

Perhaps it’s time to go back to first principles.

I think I wrote my first web pages in July 1994. From memory1, that sounds about right.

I’d just been made permanent at Leeds Met Uni after two and a bit years of temping, and was looking for something to justify my existence on the payroll. Having noticed ‘CWIS’ on the management team meeting papers and having found out it stood for Campus-Wide Information Service, I took it on.

Two colleagues suggested I might like to look at that new-fangled World-Wide Web as a possible delivery method. The rest, as they say, is history.

Being there at the early days of HTML 1.0, with black text on a grey background, no colours apart from hyperlinks, no images, no tables, no nothing…it’s made me very independent in my Internet habits.

I have a natural (natural to me) aversion to storing data on other sites, such as Facebook, Facebook Instagram or Microsoft LinkedIn that want to ‘own’ my data and which one day may no longer exist. Share with them, possibly, as a secondary publishing medium. But the originals always stay with me.

Your web, your way

One of the sites I read is WP Tavern, which shares WordPress-related news. They had an article recently reporting on a presentation given by Tantek Çelik, Web Standards Lead at Mozilla and co-founder of IndieWebCamp. His premise was that we should eschew silos such as Facebook in favour of doing things for ourselves.

If we all built our own websites with our own domains we could syndicate our own posts to whoever wanted to subscribe to them – much as with Facebook, but without the need to sign up and share data with organisations we don’t want to.

Also, without the mental anguish of wondering why our posts and shares on Facebook weren’t being liked by anyone. Or, by that one person in particular.

No advertisements for things you’re not interested based on conversations you’ve had in Messenger. No complicated privacy settings. And we can still cross-publish to LinkedIn, Medium, even Facebook. You might even learn a new skill or two, and who doesn’t like doing that?

For most people this would be filed under Too Much Work. Who has time, right?

If you have time to post on Facebook, you have time to run your own website. Set it up for free, choose a free template/design and away you go.

And if you work in public relations, there’s even a CIPR course that will help you with that part.

We could bring back blogrolls and webrings, and link back to people and articles when they inspire us. Make the Internet work for all of us, not just some.

What’s stopping you?

  1. My memory’s so bad I forgot I banged on about this earlier this year. []