Some thoughts on web revivalism
Welcome to the web! Have you missed it, or do you barely remember it being a thing? I’m in the latter half—I remember surfing the web when I was a kid, but most of my time was spent on social media. Like most people, I’m making a half-hearted attempt to leave it behind, and find a new home on the internet—one where I can design it how I want, and make my own rules.
For that, the web is great. With a minimum amount of work, you can build a website that people can read, share, and more—there’s a lot of good in giving that power back to the people. That said, I think that there’s a slight danger in framing it as a revival.
Nostalgia—whether it’s for a time you lived in or never experienced—is paralyzing. Blind nostalgia traps users into never making anything different, or anything new—eventually, nostalgia gets old. While it’s fun and worthwhile to look back on the past, the past is impossible to bring back. If web revival is to survive for a meaningful amount of time, it should be consistently, and constantly framed as being about user power and user freedom—a radical break from the current system of social media centralization.
In short, we should not be, Necromancer-like, attempting to reanimate a subject—we should be making new life: rebirthing the web. Otherwise, like most reanimated things, the web will resume the status-quo as a zombie, or simply decay back into obscurity. (It’s not like web revivalism is super mainstream or anything, but still.)