This page was last modified: May 6th, 2023
A while back ago I came across this website called sadgrl.online. The site author called herself Sadness and she seemed to be sad about what the Internet had become. Her site wasn’t just about nostalgia, though. It questioned the current state-of-affairs, welcomed people to participate in the discussion, and inspired you to do something about it. At its very least, it inspired this website.
Communities have been loosely formed around ideas like the ones Sadness spoke about: Yesterweb, IndieWeb, Web Revival (Old Web), Small Web, Cozy Web. They’re all very similar, though they may argue otherwise. From manifestos and wikis to “digital gardens” and “retro” forums, their ideals and goals and principles are diverse and plentiful. And yet; I cannot help but feel that their foundational element, the Personal Web Page, remains too elusive for many of the interested.
It’s not that I believe everyone should have a personal website. I just feel that, currently, far too many that could, don’t. That the scales are tilted against people. That if society isn’t giving you the means to ownership and speech, then it is incentivizing you to surrender them.
You should own yourself. Share yourself; on your terms. You should say something, anything, as long as you, “the individual”, are saying it; believing it to be important. You should say it in a space where you are not being exploited. And you should share it in a manner that does not exploit others.
That’s the core of what I took away from it all, I guess. Sadness recently wrote: “focusing too heavily on the creation of personal websites” was a mistake. I believe every single one of these communities should be doing MORE to make having a website accessible. Granting people autonomy should be DIRECTLY proportional to their convenience, not inversely. These places spout on about connectivism and community while faltering at the welcome mat. Not having gatekeepers ISN’T enough, you must have stewards, shepards, midwives willing to carry the unchained out of the cave and into the light; demanding every inch of the way that steps and hand-rails and even a freaking escalator be installed immediately.
What is there to connect otherwise, hm? How diverse are we then, really? Is there not dormant potential here? I think so.
Look, I’m nothing special, dear stranger. But, if you’ll have me, I would gladly serve as one of your guides into…
The Personal Web
Part 1: Exploring the Personal Web