Let Us Build a New Web

@simonwoods made a great point about (re)building the web and search.

I’m convinced the best answer to search is websites. Let people collect and curate the information, rather than play Google’s game and then inch-by-inch the alternative search becomes viable —

Do read that whole thread I linked to above and pay particular attention to Simon’s replies because he’s on to something.

Here are a couple of takeaways I want to highlight:

  1. We, the little people, need to rebuild the web.  It does not do to just complain about silos and then point out other corporate alternatives, first and foremost the web needs websites built by individual humans, not just corporations, SEO’s and people trying to get their hand in your pocket.  This is the foundation of everything.
  2. People will not leave the silos and corporate web unless there is an alternative, ie. someplace to go and that someplace to go is actually many places built by us. See #1 above.
  3. We should link freely from our sites to other sites we like.  This, literally, helps rebuild the hyperlinked network of threads that gives The Web it’s name.
  4. Discovery, and search, will sort itself out, if we do #1,2, and 3.  We may have to relearn how to surf the web again, and that is not a bad thing.
  5. Over time, we will eventually adapt to #4: humans will index this New Web we build using both old ways and new ways that have yet to invented.  And yes, machines are also likely to index it as well.  We may end up with 5,6, 10 or more favorite places we go to search and that is good.

I hope I am interpreting Simon’s thoughts fairly and accurately.  I wanted to highlight them before that thread fades away.

How to Start

It’s not a pipe dream.  It is ridiculously easy to make a website these days.  You don’t need to know HTML.  If you want to blog go to Micro.blog or WordPress.com.  If you do not want to blog and would prefer a static website, again go to WordPress.com, because it’s just as easy to build a static site there and omit the blog.

(Example: On my to-do list is to build a static website for my neighborhood’s Little Free Library.  It only needs to be 1 – 3 static pages.  I’m going to build it on WordPress.com.  It should not take long.)

The point is, everyone has some skill, idea, knowledge that is worth sharing and equally, there are other people looking for the information you have in your head and take for granted.  Share it. We need to build that alternative.

Of course not everyone is going to build a website.  But more of us should be.  More of us can, we just don’t know how.

Pro Tip: With Micro.blog you can build your own website/blog almost by accident, while you are posting to social networks.  Just use it to post away, the blog (website) just builds itself.  No effort.  🙂  Example: Mumblings by Simon Woods is a Micro.blog blog.

More posts on ideas for websites in future posts.

Feel free to add to the discussion: agree? disagree? please comment.


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8 responses on “Let Us Build a New Web”

  1. Yeah, hey, great discussion! Thanks for pointing it out—missed it somehow.
    On your points:

    We, the little people, need to rebuild the web. […] This is the foundation
    of everything.

    Yes, cool—you see this at a football game when things get heated and two
    guys start fighting. Then another guy stands up and says, “I’ll fix this,”
    and he starts walking down. Oh boy. Sure.
    So, like: not only is another social media site going to solve this, but no
    one of us is going to have an ‘answer’. TiddlyWiki doesn’t work for me—but
    h0p3 and sphygmus are doing great things for themselves—and I think there
    are many people who will be served well by it (as compared to micro.blog).

    Someplace to go is actually many places built by us. Sweet! I get really
    excited at the prospect of more places to go.

    Link freely. This has the added benefit of creating a TON of noise for
    Google. 😘 If the tradeoff on something is “bad for bots, good for humans,”
    I’ll take that trade.

    Discovery, and search, will sort itself out, if we do #1,2, and 3.
    Trying to decide if I agree with this. I kind of agree with “it’ll all come
    out in the wash” but I also don’t think discovery gets better than Brad
    linking to Simon and me reading Simon.
    Once I start relying on a bot, what else is it giving me? And do I begin to
    get lazy with my discovery effort? And then am I isolated again?

    We may end up with 5, 6, 10 or more favorite places we go to search and that is

    More and more, I’m finding myself just using Stack Overflow, Pinboard and
    YouTube search directly. Google just does this anyway. I tend
    to use Google more as a glorified address bar: ‘indieweb.org author’ and click
    the first link. I know this will take me to Indieweb wiki’s page on
    authorship. (So there is a specific page I already know—basically a
    ‘feeling lucky’.)

    Love being a part of this discussion. I am working hard on my directory to
    finish it—hopefully by end of October. (Again, it’s not a directory people can
    submit to: it’s my model for the modern Little Web Library. Just trying to get
    a good amount of links, categories, fun to use, all that.)

    1. > using Stack Overflow, Pinboard and
      YouTube search directly

      You got it. Pre-Google, I used to keep 5 or 6 directories and search engines in my bookmarks and those were my first line tools in searching for something.

      >but I also don’t think discovery gets better than Brad
      linking to Simon and me reading Simon

      Yes, surfing. Especially after you find those voices you trust. I think we may need spiders for freshness. But I would hope there is room for curated directories too. Lovely link collections for people to explore.

      Kicks, remember my post about the 7 Directories? You already know this, but I’ll state it for anybody else reading: the thing they did wrong is they tried to index the same sites on the web that Google does. That was fine in pre-Google days, but today you can’t beat Google at it’s own game. You have to list the sites that are worthy but buried in Google. Those directories should have specialized in listing the stuff Google won’t rank or that Google does not understand.

      I’m so glad your directory work is proceeding. I’m really looking forward to it.

      I’m working on a directory too. Or rather I am stalled on support tickets with hosts and script companies but I’ll find my way through it. Once it launches I will allow submissions but they will have to “expand the web” or some such to get in.

  2. Surfing, or as I like to call it, “spinning the web,” is a lot of fun and I still do it! You say we’ll have to learn how, but I never forgot. As for discovery, I enjoy search engines like Million Short, Duck Duck Go, and Yippy.com. When I really don’t know what I’m looking for, a site like micro.blog is helpful. I also use and love RSs! I highly recommend that as a way of site discovery, and learning.

    1. Somehow a couple of generations have come along that know nothing about surfing. Oh they have heard of it but all they know is Google. The problem is, most of the old Web 1.0 infrastructure is gone: directories, webring hosts, blogrolls. It’s like all those streetcar tracks we tore up or paved over once the automobile came along. But it can be reinvented, if we want it bad enough. If we’ll use it.


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