A Manifesto for Preserving Content on the Web
This was the last straw, watching a video via the iOS app and this message pops up under the video and no matter how much I tap on ‘skip trial’ I get nothing. This is the latest message…
Background info: The digital home of nonprofits is under attack
- ICANN races towards regulatory capture: the great .ORG heist
- Take action to save .org and prosecute those who sold out the internet
…I think what you’re saying is that even a single-line annotation of a
link, even just a few words of human curation do wonders when you’re out
discovering the world…
Exactly. I'll add that the words might bring not only insight as to the content linked to but also to the user experience one might expect when following the link. In my example, pointing out the ‘overly commercial tone’ was appreciated because frankly, I don't enjoy commercial sites that much unless I'm looking for something to buy – linking to them doesn't fit my admittedly subjective criteria. I like to think people who follow my links regularly might also enjoy business-free, ad-free surfing. That's part of what I'm trying to accomplish – connecting people to an atypical surfing experience. Adding “(ads)” or some other simple note to a link if it applies seems the considerate thing to do. Human curation is powerful.
You also mention in your essay that you ‘curate links for my own ongoing use’. Whereas I tend to ‘advertise’ links more, to bring attention to the parts of the web that I want to survive.
I'm pretty sure I'm doing both of those things. One doesn't preclude the other in my mind.
When I said, “people finding me and finding some of my links enjoyable and/or useful are important to me, but not as important as my being able to find new links which fit my own preferences as to content and user experience,” I'm afraid it was a misstatement. These two things are equally important to me.
So it’s more natural for me to work towards a final directory of links, a hub of all the nodes that I want to see connected. I want these individuals to be aware of each other.
That's a cool, unique goal. I admire it but to me, the linkport is intended to connect people with things useful or interesting to them. I never saw connecting linked sites or people with each other as a goal, though it could be result in some cases. Connecting people at large with useful or interesting things is more what I'm after.
I'll close with simple thank you to Kicks. The conversation’s enlightening – your comments about webmentions inspired some recent, much-needed improvements to several of my blogs I’m working on, including this one.
I recently came across a Pinboard user‘s note on a bookmark: “Overly commercial tone but looks useful.” That simple note made me think about the web and linking and what it all means to me. On the same day, I caught up with a conversation at Micro.blog, where @kicks had asked me several thought-provoking questions I’ve been pondering since then. He really got me thinking about about the web and linking – so here we are. I hope I address at least some of his questions.
The indieweb and platforms like Micro.blog are helping to bring the personal web back home.
The web was amazing before Web 2.0 and the advent of so-called social networks. Many people had their own sites and blogs from which they shared ideas and interacted with others in the community at large. It seemed to me like meeting others in their own homes back then and there was a widespread enthusiasm for blogging and personal expression. Then came the big social networks. With time, many personal sites and blogs disappeared from the web as people flocked to the big silos where their content became a heavily monitized commodity. To me, the web had lost much of its soul as people gathered in just a few, huge noise chambers.
Fortunately, things seem to be reversing in the last few years thanks to the indieweb movement and unique platforms like Micro.blog where blogging meets smaller social networks in a setting where meaningful interaction can take place. For a curator (of sorts) like me, I’m thankful to see this happening. Current trends and a rebirth of personal blogging certainly make the type of curation I do much easier, thank you. Had it not been for that stimulating conversation, I probably would not have been writing this.
My ‘curation hobby’
The phrase ‘curation hobby‘ came from @bradenslen in that same conversation. I thought it pretty well describes something I’ve been doing on the web since ’97. I’ve done other things on the web but it’s curation, linking if you will, I’ve mostly focused on. Why?
Hypertext links are magical to me and what I know about the topic of linking is purely subjective. I understand my own motivation for sharing links and what kind of links I like but there’s all kinds of motivations and tastes out there. There always has been.
On one hand, I curate links for my own ongoing use. Kicks asked if surfing is “a kind of skill.” To me, it’s more a pastime which I enjoy. Having links to so many sites I find enjoyable and/or useful and free of certain annoyances and tones serves me well. It helps me enjoy surfing the web. On the other hand, the icing on my little curation cake is that others with similar tastes in content and user experience might also benefit from my efforts. In that regard, to answer another of Kicks’ questions, people finding me and finding some of my links enjoyable and/or useful are important to me, but not as important as my being able to find new links which fit my own preferences as to content and user experience.
Regarding another thing Kicks asked about: Aside from evolving html, accessibility, and design standards and practices, I’m really not sure if linking, in general, has changed over the years. I’ve been doing it the same since day one. But that’s just me.
In closing, I want to mention something else Kicks said:
Having a ‘linkpost’ at least provides an intersection between worlds where people can find each other.
I couldn’t agree more. Providing points at which people might discover new things (and other people) is a key part of my motivation in linking from my little corner of the web.
So, I’m reading an ad-ridden article on a major technology-related site connected to a major university featuring “the most interesting stories from other sites” this week. It leads me to an an-ridden article on a major news site, under which I find the following choice selection of crap ads:
The only thing worse than a popunder ad is a popunder full of crap ads like these! Guess whose credibility is now in the toilet (clue: it ain’t mine).