The web we lost

Earlier in the semester, we talked about webs that were and webs that weren’t, as we looked at the pre-history of the Internet we know today—the Memex and the Mondaneum, the origins of Web 2.0.

Anil Dash, an important and longstanding voice in the blogosphere, wrote “The Web We Lost” about some of the changes that have gone on over the last decade on the web and social media. For instance, links were formerly used for editorial purposes; today, they’re used for generating revenue. Or people could reasonably expect to be able to download the content they contributed to an online service. Or photos on Flickr were easily used in cool mashups, often thanks to Creative Commons licensing.

One of the things I like about Anil is that he stays optimistic even in the face of these changes. He followed up his post with “Rebuilding the Web We Lost,” in which he suggests how we might bring back some attributes of the earlier social web. How could startups be supported without huge venture capital or the expectation that they get huge? How can interfaces be made better? How could the web support digital public spaces, not just private ones?

In our blog projects, how might we think of incorporating some of these older digital values in our work? How might they extend what we think of digital media fluency? And as a newer digital critic, what do you think of Anil’s two posts?

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