Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


Caroline Sinders and Dave Winer at the Media Lab Center for Civic Media on February 11, 2016

After the first Internet bubble burst around 2001 and the Nasdaq came crashing down to pre-Internet size, most of the world wrote off the Internet as having been a failure or a fad. Douglas Rushkoff said at the time, that it was just the Internet fending off an attack. I was lucky enough to still be investing at the time and was very excited by blogging which emerged from the ashes of the crashed dot-com space.

As I become familiar with the characters active in blogging, Dave Winer was one of those guys who was inspiring, aggravating, but only ignored at great expense. When I first started blogging, I learned a ton from Dave, sometimes by having him attack me for using the wrong version of RSS, but with a conviction to the Open Web and a clarity of mission that seemed almost a bit overboard when it felt like everyone was just trying to do the right thing - when many blogging platforms allowed you to export your whole blog and import it into another blogging platform and everyone was mostly working together on all kind of standards.

I've had my own strong beliefs around decentralized networks from when I was in the ISP business, copyright from when I ran Creative Commons and was on the Open Source Initiative Board, but it was only when I saw Dave just a few weeks ago that his views about the importance of the Open Web, or more precisely, the particular layer of the Open Web that Dave has been so focused on since I've known him, hit me with a big "ah ha!"

We talked about how "the walled gardens" like Facebook and at some level Twitter feed off of the Open Web and need it but how the Open Web was being torn apart from all sides. Even the somewhat reasonable sounding announcement that Google will be lowering page rank for non https: sites will push self-hosted blogs lower in the results.

It reminded me about an argument that Google Translate is trained with human-created translations and that it wouldn't be able to train anymore if the translators went out of business. On the other hand, I suppose we may have figured out better translation training by then or maybe already have. Anyway, I digress.

We talked about how a healthy system probably involves a vibrant Open Web along with for-profit companies and that this balance was important, but how we are leaning away from the Open Web right now. Dave isn't anti-platform, just anti-anti-Open Web. Listening to Dave speak at Ethan's Center for Civic Media group meeting, I realized that I needed to pay more attention to Dave, amplify his message and take some of his recommendation to heart and into action.

If you haven't been tracking him recently, I recommend you do. I think he's speaking up about an important topic and a very timely moment in the evolution of the Web.

Here's a provocative but insightful post about why NOT to post on Medium or at least cross-post to the Open Web, which caught my attention most recently and trigged inviting Dave to the Lab with Ethan.


Hear hear! So much to do, so much territory to reclaim, so much new stuff to create!

I've certainly been paying more attention to Mr Winer lately and find myself agreeing with him more often than not.

Interoperability, aka shared protocols is one of the corner stone of this decentralization. Active publishing is another one. It's very cool to explore new tools, new services and they have often great values, but these also come at a cost. It really depends if we are basically an archivist type of person or a dilettante (both are fine). If I accept everything can disappear in a whisk, then life in the silo doesn't matter that much. If on the other hand I value history, archives, links in between layers of time, then the silos are a pretty bad choice.

Maybe it's why the newspapers publishing all their contents in silos **without any stable URIs** on a domain they own is silly. They started to publish their content on the Web. Then they added ads to get a revenue stream. Then they needed to increase this revenue stream by having more eyeballs exposed to ads. Then they seeked to maximize exposure, so they optimized their content around the ads platform to maximize the revenue streams. From using ads to finance the content, many have switched to using content to maximize ads revenues.

What are the missing pieces to publish a stream of thoughts to your blog? How do we plug tools to suck the content from your site and broadcast it to silos? Look at your archive side bar and the frequency of posts. A couple of days ago, Tantek has published " Going Silo-Private to Prefer the IndieWeb, Leave Silo Publics, and Pioneer Privacy on the Independent Web ". It's a very focused and short set of concrete actions to re-own one's own soul.

Many more things to discuss. Kizuna +12 years?

glad to see this new development... I am a *huge* dwiner and open-Internet fan... I sincerely hope it will be possible to, as Boris Anthony says - "reclaim territory" and push back the commercialization and walled-gardening of our Internet.