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April 12, 2024 - @539.31 (what is this?)
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shevek
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« on: March 20, 2024 @933.39 »

When we first discover this side of the web, a lot of it is new. It must be even more extreme of a contrast to people who grew up exclusively within the narrow constraints of the most popular and commercialized online spaces. We tend to notice the differences a lot and keep talking about it – oh, no tracking? More privacy? More expressive freedom? Nicer people? More nuanced discussion? More intimacy and coziness? Great!

I think the landing page introductions and manifestos being found on many of the web revival sites on Neocities (or other hosts) kind of set the stage for that too. They openly lament the state of social media and detail what drove them away from it and say that is why that site exists.

But I think there comes a time where we should consider what we are outside of simply not liking these aspects of social media – not necessarily as a group or online culture, even just as an individual. Do we want to outgrow the phase where we (and our remaining online presence) are defined by more or less a defiance to mainstream internet? Do we want to keep modeling our sense of what this space is around what other spaces lack forever?
We sometimes can see this in some online culture war discussions as well, where not a movie, not a song, not a food item can be enjoyed without going on a weird tangent about conservatives or “wokeism”.

It can be hard to drop that of course. It’s difficult to talk about all the advantages of the spaces and sites we create here without going on a tangent about how it would go if we did that on Instagram or Twitter instead. But I think there can be a refreshing kind of joy to actually fill our spaces with what we want to see and appreciate without tacking on “Reddit could never! Does anyone else think Discord is bad?”.

While I like to participate in discussions like that in this forum occasionally and they're especially helpful for newbies, I think when you have your website for a while and have heard it all before, it starts to be second nature to have the possibilities we have on this side of the web and stop focusing on what other spaces lack for us. I think this is also one of the reasons why I will never publish a manifesto like that on my website or introduce my site with words about how bad social media is. I just center it around what I want to put on my site.

Where are you on this journey? Any thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2024 @25.79 »

I agree! I think it's much more fun/interesting to focus on what people have made & their interests, rather than the same old "social media bad" stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with those obviously, I think there's just only so much that can be said on the topic.

As to how far I am on my 'journey'... I'm not sure! I never really participated in social media like instagram/twitter so I never really felt the need to write something like a manifesto or participate in those discussions.

(As an aside, I like your site! Sites that act like interactive consoles are always fun to see/play around with  :4u: )
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2024 @30.88 »

I feel like after leaving social media I've felt like I've been at my own turning point, I feel like more of my focus has been on creating and I don't really think much about social media any more much at all now that I'm at a distance from it. So I just kind of focus on making fun stuff...! I never really wrote much of a 'manifesto' beyond "I want to make a site I would have enjoyed as a kid" since I feel like a lot of what I could say has already been said in literally every other manifesto lol

I feel like when you're new to the web revival it can be really easy to get super invigorated by all the stuff you're reading that backs up everything you've been feeling about the web up until that point, and when you fixate on something new it can become all you talk about- I know because I was also like this as a newbie lol. I don't think its necessarily a bad thing that a lot of people start their sites like "Hi I'm sparklewolf and this is my list of top 10 things I hate about socmed!" but I think coming from a perspective of "top 10 things I want to achieve with my site" is a lot more helpful in directing your own goals and following through with making your site the best it can be. In my experience, anyway. Like I said, I've been there, I've had my "TOP 10 REASONS I HATE SOCIAL MEDIA" phase, it honestly feels like a pretty common experience. "Web fever", I guess we could say.

As for how to avoid this I think we could put more emphasis on web art, shrines, etc. and all the potential the medium has for creative expression, rather than only being a social media alternative! :)
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2024 @100.31 »

If you've watched Olia Lialina's My to Me talk, it's really about the process of Geocities becoming social media - that 2000 to 2009 transition that the world went through; we went into it on cassette players, dialup and CRTs and came out of it with smartphones, WiFi and 3D flatscreen TVs. That decade marked a staggeringly vast shift in the global culture towards tech, Silicon Valley values and digital life.

Those first-wave net artists like Olia were some of the earlier people to feel what was happening and start to ask questions about it. A lot of web revival ideas are super inspired by her work and the work of similar netart archivists like Kyle Drake (the neocities founder). The 2010s was a time of trying to grapple with that change and understand what was happening! So it doesn't surprise me at all that 2020 saw such a huge explosion in those discussions where they began to reach out more widely and everyone was writing manifestos.

However what you're asking is the next question and in a lot of ways it's the much harder one - before we just had to analyze what had already happened, but now it feels much more like we've completed our analysis, we have our results and we want to build something new with what we've learned - but building things and having new ideas is really hard!

Olia's My to Me talk looked at the transition that took place from personal sites to social media where sharing your interests became selling yourself. The web revival has been about returning to sharing interests and owning yourself. However, self-expression as a medium has its limits! I'd like to see the Web Revival grow in a direction that is about supporting others as much as it's about finding your own feet in the world today. e.g. instead of My to Me, I'd like the next decade to be My to We  :tongue:

What that looks like exactly I don't know! But I do know that there is no idea from the past that is the correct answer; its gotta be new, its gotta be respectful of artists and all forms of art, its gotta be fun but well informed, it's gotta provide dignity and autonomy to individuals, its gotta offer help and good support to those who need it, and its gotta offer opportunities for growth and income without diminishing the previous points. In a lot of ways now is the most exciting time on the web in 20 years, things are resetting and shifting around! I think we will see a fewer monolithic companies and a lot more small spaces and creative tools for people to build those smaller spaces (Hey you reading this! You can go and make those spaces and tools right now! Yes u can!)

I also know that we will get it wrong; whatever the web becomes in the coming years, it will be flawed too, and a new web revival will have to come and challenge it :ozwomp: (Maybe I won't be part of that one because I'll be the bad guy by then :omg:  ) but little by little it will be figured out  :happy:
« Last Edit: March 21, 2024 @102.55 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2024 @210.07 »

What a great thread, I've had this thought for awhile but have never been good at putting it into words, so thank you!

I agree with what everyone has said so far, and especially resonate a lot with your last post Melon about a healthy take on the future of the web :)  :ozwomp:

I think my main thought which is tangentially related is that many people, myself included, didn't realize how much of an online world existed outside of the mainstream channels. The thing that shook me the most was that this place and spaces like it existed; I just hadn't thought to look. I didn't realize that another way of life (though that's a tad dramatic) was an option. To me life without social media was a sacrifice, , a way of fighting an "addiction", when in reality it was none of that. It only worked when I stopped trying to force myself away/block myself from social media, and when instead I took a positive approach and just kept making lifestyle choices that aligned with how I felt. Over time social media has faded (and continues to fade) into the distance.

Like my internet experience used to open with shocking images and news stories and now I get the delightful News of "Open the all windows! Your mind needs storms and air! :happy:"

I think when I think about the future of the web I think about a space where I can login and be free, where I can share moments from my life and things I'm passionate or interested about, and gain inspiration from others. I would love also a space to post writing, art, and some of the performing arts stuff I do.

The main thing I do feel about this side of the internet is that I feel very proud. I played no role in creating it but by taking the time to make my site and engage with others in healthy dialogue and support for their work I feel a sense of community and that feels great. I look forward to telling people not what I don't do online but what I do do, and how it makes me happy.
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2024 @322.25 »

instead of My to Me, I'd like the next decade to be My to We  :tongue:

I love this idea of the next evolution of the web, and that can be felt throughout this site.
It feels like we spent the 2010s reckoning with the ways the tech boom affected the world. Which most certainly is partially myself coming into my own awareness. But has this happened in the past? Was there social turmoil when printing was invented too? :ohdear: (when hasn't there been turmoil?)

The biggest barrier I foresee is just how much effort it takes to hold space for community and give people the tools to create things themselves (Appreciate everything you do Melooon)! I'm new to this side of the web, but from my understanding, web rings are part of that path, right? Things like Surf Club? Joint but still individual? Or are webrings missing key functionality for this new web revival?

As for the manifestos mentioned in shevek's post, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's easier to define yourself in contrast to something rather than spring an identity out of thin air. Which isn't a criticism of those type of manifestos at all, I agree that the state of social media leaves much to be desired, and love seeing someone's personal parameters for their existence online. But I also want to move on from existing in opposition to existing in celebration.  :4u:

But I'm stuck halfway between 'I wish there was even more accessible tools for building personal sites outside of corporate owned webpage builders,' and 'people should put in the work to develop the things they want, that friction is good and necessary for creativity and growth.'
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2024 @593.62 »


But I also want to move on from existing in opposition to existing in celebration.  :4u:


^^This! I feel like when a new culture or space is created it often times is in opposition to something which exists, or maybe even counter or parallel to it. It's exciting though to eventually move beyond that and experience joy in a space because of what it is rather than what it is in contrast too! :4u:
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Melooon
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2024 @515.73 »

Was there social turmoil when printing was invented too?
Oh boy was there ever!

I'm new to this side of the web, but from my understanding, web rings are part of that path, right?
Yep! I think webrings have their faults, but they are a great way of creating micro-communities of homepages. Generally speaking, I think anything that does not depend on metrics or numbers is what we want. Cut out the follower counts and the site views from your mode of judging or promoting online media and you get a much more interesting kind of web.

Metrics and view counts are like the junk food of the internet, it's so easy to log them and they offer a zero-effort way to create a hierarchy of media quality; it feels great getting validation and scores, but the more you watch those numbers, the more unhealthy your web experience becomes. I love getting a takeaway burger and milkshake, but it should not be anyone's primary meal :ohdear:

I think Discord communities are a great kind of micro-community, I just wish they didn't depend on Discord the company :drat: Its an example of an accessible way of creating an online community. This forum is an example of a slightly unrealistic community for most people - I did a degree in CS, spent years developing web skills, and I invest quite a bit into maintaining and improving it. However there can be a middle ground, somewhere that's a bit more effort than Discord, but a bit less effort than this forum!

One thing that's really unexplored in the web revival is apps; there are so many tools out there for building mobile apps, even if you don't understand code! What if people had homepage apps? What if when you met someone new you could install their app on your phone and check on it when your bored to see what they added? Those apps could have whole 3D games or micro social networks in them and they could connect into your life in a much more seamless way than a website usually can by sending notifs and letting you share images, or overlay your own music. - That's just a random idea, but I've never seen anyone do it!  :ozwomp:

*random thoughts*

The main thing I do feel about this side of the internet is that I feel very proud. I played no role in creating it but by taking the time to make my site and engage with others in healthy dialogue and support for their work I feel a sense of community and that feels great. I look forward to telling people not what I don't do online but what I do do, and how it makes me happy.
This is a really sweet sentiment and I totally get it! As long as that feeling of pride remains, then something is worthwhile  :4u:
« Last Edit: March 22, 2024 @544.33 by Melooon » Logged


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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2024 @994.92 »

For me, it's like, I try to keep a balance between welcoming new platforms/sites/etc, but also keeping my skepticism, and not jumping into everything head first and becoming obsessed with the scroll, or whatever. Part of what I loved about the internet in the 00s was that there was so much to try! I want to keep that spirit.

There were new sites, forums, social platforms (there were many huge platforms here back then, that were specifically to our country.) I jumped eagerly into all of them, and used them quite a lot. But over time you sort of learnt what works for you and what doesn't, etc. So as I age, I found that not everything new was as fun or worth trying. And you get sort of exhausted and overwhelmed.

I never got TikTok for example, because I could recognize that I would be too obsessed with it, or just annoyed/hate scroll. I think that's whats mostly getting to me. That itch you want to scratch of constantly being annoyed? For example I would scroll Twitter and just get annoyed/heated/salty or something over inane things, lol. It was like mosquito bites! Soooo annoying, but feels so good to scratch. And that's not what I want from an internet platform. I just want to hang out and have fun! And look at what people make, or hear about what interests them. In a forum, because I hate "feeds" haha. :ok:

But I wouldn't say "twitter bad" (i mean, apart from the obvious horrible stuff within it.) - But I had years and years of really fun times on there, it was such a funny platform to shitpost on!  :happy:

I dont know where I'm going with this. I guess I just try to keep it as a balance. I dont want to be like "oh old internet was the best everrr", or completely "all social media is bad for everything". I want to keep a spirit of enjoying new things that are good , keeping my cosy internet times with old things that are good.

But I also dont know anything about coding or antyhing, and it doesnt really interest me either. So I guess I'm an outlier there mostly in these communities. I just love forums, looking at threads people post, talk about stuff within the threads, and just chill out online. :loved: 

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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2024 @651.22 »

...I didn't realize that another way of life (though that's a tad dramatic) was an option. To me life without social media was a sacrifice, , a way of fighting an "addiction", when in reality it was none of that. It only worked when I stopped trying to force myself away/block myself from social media, and when instead I took a positive approach and just kept making lifestyle choices that aligned with how I felt. Over time social media has faded (and continues to fade) into the distance.

[...]

The main thing I do feel about this side of the internet is that I feel very proud. I played no role in creating it but by taking the time to make my site and engage with others in healthy dialogue and support for their work I feel a sense of community and that feels great. I look forward to telling people not what I don't do online but what I do do, and how it makes me happy.


I feel like this is a healthier way of looking at it than I have. I think part of my focus on social media as bad is because being in Web revival spaces like these ones isn't normalized amongst people I know IRL---only one real-life friend of mine is part of Web revival spaces---and social media seems to be an incessant part of the life of many people my age to the point where it gets brought up very often, so it's hard to pay it no mind.


I love this idea of the next evolution of the web, and that can be felt throughout this site.
It feels like we spent the 2010s reckoning with the ways the tech boom affected the world. Which most certainly is partially myself coming into my own awareness. But has this happened in the past? Was there social turmoil when printing was invented too? :ohdear: (when hasn't there been turmoil?)

The biggest barrier I foresee is just how much effort it takes to hold space for community and give people the tools to create things themselves (Appreciate everything you do Melooon)! I'm new to this side of the web, but from my understanding, web rings are part of that path, right? Things like Surf Club? Joint but still individual? Or are webrings missing key functionality for this new web revival?

As for the manifestos mentioned in shevek's post, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's easier to define yourself in contrast to something rather than spring an identity out of thin air. Which isn't a criticism of those type of manifestos at all, I agree that the state of social media leaves much to be desired, and love seeing someone's personal parameters for their existence online. But I also want to move on from existing in opposition to existing in celebration.  :4u:

I think webrings are a great part of the Web revival! Although I don't use them super frequently, I like the decentralized aspect to them, which I think is an important part of this area of the Web.

Meanwhile, I think for me it is coming time to define my site and myself not based upon what I'm (we're?) against, but what I'm for. I'm generally an optimist and I think that pessimism seldom leads to good things, so I want to shift my focus in this area, at least for the most part, and quit my get-off-my-lawn rants I sometimes go on about social media/smartphones/whatever, at least for the most part. (I started complaining about Tik Tok the other day when I was chatting with someone, and my interlocutor reminded me that she had already heard that rant before!)
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2024 @481.23 »

I didn't mean to drop this into the forum and then disappear :grin: I was unexpectedly hospitalized and then had to bed rest at home but now I am back and can respond.

(As an aside, I like your site! Sites that act like interactive consoles are always fun to see/play around with  :4u: )

Thank you so much :4u:

"Web fever", I guess we could say.

That really hits it well! There's a lot of initial bursting energy and passion when breaking out and discovering new things, and finally people that finally get you and you know you will be heard. It's powerful. A necessary phase I think, but also so easy to get stuck on forever. Especially when you initially come from social media that incentivizes negativity because you get more engagement that way and normalizes endless debates and positioning yourself in a culture war debate or make up a new culture war-esque thing, almost? To me it reminds me heavily of the trend to seek something politicially or academically wrong with something to justify why you don't like something, too. So instead of saying "well, screw that, I don't like it here, I go somewhere else online" that other place online gets filled with huge thinkpieces about the old shitty place, but mixed in with political analysis. Which I do like to read and is important to talk about, but it can be a lot. Like a really heavy focus. So there's this pressure for your critique or dislike of it to be really sophisticated and academic, and like an us vs. them.

instead of My to Me, I'd like the next decade to be My to We
That's so beautiful :smile:

The main thing I do feel about this side of the internet is that I feel very proud. I played no role in creating it but by taking the time to make my site and engage with others in healthy dialogue and support for their work I feel a sense of community and that feels great. I look forward to telling people not what I don't do online but what I do do, and how it makes me happy.
Yes, leading positively by example sounds really good. Like okay, we've had our little commiseration about the state of those few sites, now let's make something cool :grin:

move on from existing in opposition to existing in celebration
That hits it well!
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2024 @508.21 »

That really hits it well! There's a lot of initial bursting energy and passion when breaking out and discovering new things, and finally people that finally get you and you know you will be heard. It's powerful. A necessary phase I think, but also so easy to get stuck on forever. Especially when you initially come from social media that incentivizes negativity because you get more engagement that way and normalizes endless debates and positioning yourself in a culture war debate or make up a new culture war-esque thing, almost? To me it reminds me heavily of the trend to seek something politicially or academically wrong with something to justify why you don't like something, too. So instead of saying "well, screw that, I don't like it here, I go somewhere else online" that other place online gets filled with huge thinkpieces about the old shitty place, but mixed in with political analysis. Which I do like to read and is important to talk about, but it can be a lot. Like a really heavy focus. So there's this pressure for your critique or dislike of it to be really sophisticated and academic, and like an us vs. them.

As someone who came to the indie web via Tumblr (as I'm sure many others did)... Yeah this is exactly it. It's very "broadcasting all your discourse opinions in your DNI"-adjacent.  (Except replace DNI with About Me or manifesto xD)

I think it might also be because a lot of the "entry points" provided for people who came over (like the Yesterweb) are filled with manifestos and "this is our web-based revolution, screw social media" messaging (iirc the Yesterweb site specifically had a directory of others' manifestos). Not inherently a bad thing of course, since it clearly touched a lot of hearts that might not have otherwise found an interest in webcrafting! But I think that might have been what fed into the "thinkpiece instinct"...

And honestly I think people just like feeling like they're part of something Big and Important (this extends to Tumblr discourse- for participants it feels like Important Political Action And Discussion).

This topic has been super interesting, btw, lots of fascinating discussion :D
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2024 @141.01 »

While I agree with a lot of what has been said, I'd say manifestos are a vital part of the indie web, with the issue specifically being that barely anyone complaining takes action, nor suggests any.

Let's look at an effective manifesto for comparison: https://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html
The author of the manifesto started working towards these goals before publishing it. The manifesto is not too lengthy, uses fairly simple language, and has a clear goal laid out. The project's site has guides on how to set up a GNU/Linux system, with many other resources. The author's personal site brings up issues with privacy disrespecting services, but he does so with citations and suggestions of alternatives.

More manifestos need to focus on what else the internet has to offer, alongside their critique. They would be more effective if they listed a variety of alternative software and sites to try, with resources and guides to support their message.

I didn't mean to drop this into the forum and then disappear :grin: I was unexpectedly hospitalized and then had to bed rest at home but now I am back and can respond.

I hope you're doing better now.
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