I come from the age of bloggers and self-installations. In fact, I come from the age of HTML pages and static websites. In those days we surfed the web looking for and finding content. We also found interesting bits of code and we added new features to our websites. We would install forums, guestbooks and more. In so doing our static websites became dynamic. At this point, our website could grow a community.
At this time we had our PhpBB forum, our own wiki, our own WordPress installation. When we said, “My website”, “my blog” or “my forum” it was ours. We were the webmasters. We were the ones that had found the code and figured out how to install it on our web host. Communities were small and geographically dispersed across countries, continents and time zones so most interactions were verbal.
Fast forward to today and most people do not have their own web server, their own wiki, their own web page or their own blogs. What they have are social media accounts hosted by others. They are not administrators, they do not have the technical knowledge. According to investors, marketers and other groups, these people are users of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and other websites but their power is restricted to what they post and whether they delete their account.
They are so disconnected from the mechanics of websites that they say “My Facebook”, “My Instagram”, “my twitter”. Web sites and by extension social media are not like books, mobile phones or bikes. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are not yours. Your influence is restricted to your personal account, no further.
I wanted to have my own microblogging platform, I wanted to have my own diaspora server and more. I never did because my technical skills and budget did not allow it. With both of these, you needed server permissions that I was not willing to pay for. At that time I would have had my own Twitter or my own Facebook. I would have installed them. I would have been the administrator. I would have had the challenge of finding a crowd or tribe to populate it with content.
Recently I was also thinking about the discussion about curation that people were having. There was a time when the idea was to get people to surf the web, find content and organise it in such a way as to make it easy for others to find content. Now that we’re in 2017 the idea of curation has evolved. Everyone shares content so the need for dedicated people has dwindled.