Kottke is celebrating turning 25 years old which is an interesting look back at his experience with the web and how it has changed over the years.
I especially enjoyed the linked 2016 post about the web as it appeared on Halt and Catch Fire. I loved that show when it was on the air and reading this made me miss it.
Despite the nostalgia, this post ends on a concerned note:
But the open Web enthusiasts and advocates missed an opportunity to take what the Web was in the 90s and make that available to everyone. Instead of walled gardens like Facebook, Pinterest, and Medium (which echo the closed online services like AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve that predated the Web), imagine a bunch of smaller services bound together with open protocols where individuals have both freedom and convenience. At this stage, building an open Twitter or open Facebook is nearly impossible, but it wouldn’t have been 10-12 years ago. I hope I’m wrong, but with all of the entrenched incumbents and money pumping into online services, I’m afraid that time has truly passed. And it’s breaking my heart.
It’s interesting to look back and think about how the open Web landscape has or has not changed since 2016. As recently as the past year, I felt that the open Web was in a more precarious position than ever. Between mobile apps and strict “app store only” policies, Web3 (which really seemed to be more about walled gardens accessed by crypto rather than the open Web), and social networks, things felt dire.
But today? It feels like there’s a little more hope in the air. Perhaps I’m overly weighting the decline of Twitter and rise of Mastodon/ActivityPub (even RSS is getting more attention recently!), but it feels like things are shifting in a positive direction.