Tag: Anil Dash

You Can't Start the Revolution from the Web Country Club

Photo by Markus Spiske
You Can't Start the Revolution from the Country Club by Anil Dash

The current fashion amongst alpha geeks is to reinvent many of the building blocks of the social web. Given that I’ve been obsessed with that particular intersection of technology and culture for a dozen years, I should be unequivocal in my excitement. But this time it’s complicated. Because we’re shutting some people out.
There are a few philosophical underpinnings that have informed the development of blogging and social media since their inception. These core values of the social web can be summed up as three simple goals. It’s important to understand them because they are what’s enabled the social web to be so radically transformative of society and culture.

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But I’ve been through this phase in the web’s evolution before, alongside some of the same folks who are building these tools today. The last time, the simple tools we all built exceeded our most outlandish predictions of their social impact in every regard. What matters this time is that we learn from what we got wrong before. And we won’t kick ourselves for having bugs in the software, or for not being compliant enough with the technical preferences of a small, geeky crowd. We will regret if we just give power to ourselves and to the existing institutions again.

I think Anil Dash is prescient. His post is from 2012. The hyperbole around micro.blog and mastodon etc. bothers me. The cycle continues.

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The Web We Lost

Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash
The Web We Lost by Anil Dash

This isn’t some standard polemic about “those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!” I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They’re amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they’re based on a few assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.

The first step to disabusing them of this notion is for the people creating the next generation of social applications to learn a little bit of history, to know your shit, whether that’s about Twitter’s business model or Google’s social features or anything else. We have to know what’s been tried and failed, what good ideas were simply ahead of their time, and what opportunities have been lost in the current generation of dominant social networks.

It’s and old post. I’d almost forgotten who Anil Dash is. He had me at “The Web”. Thank you, Nicola for this trip down memory lane. I think this is the space folks like David Shanske, Matthias Pfefferle, Ryan Barrett and others are trying to create/re-create.

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