If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering “What on earth is the Web Revival? What does it mean”? This movement goes by a few different names. It is also known as the Indie Web, Old Web, and many other names, which all ultimately have the same goal in mind; it’s time to return the soul/spirit back to the internet that was present before big tech corporations took over.
What was the Web 1.0?
During the Myspace era, and earlier years, the internet was vastly influenced by people and creativity rather than profits. Youtube, in it’s early years before it was acquired by Google, was solely for user creativity and was a fun new medium of communication to a vast audience of people. Creators were free to express themselves without the fear of censorship, because there were no advertisers or aggressive political agendas to pander to. Myspace was at its peak, and everyone’s Myspace page was a fun, creative space with quirky backgrounds, music, and various customization options that allowed users to fully express themselves. Geocities and Angelfire were also very popular around this time as website hosting, and it was very common place for folks to make websites on these platforms, share them around, and gain traffic through webrings. This period of time, as well as earlier years, is known as Web 1.0, and it was this period of time that we as a collective got to witness a version of the internet that had soul/spirit, because at this time it was we the people who greatly influenced it. It was a period where creativity was put over profits and self expression flourished.
What is Web 2.0
This is it; this is the era of Web 2.0. It began when big corporations started moving in, when Google acquired Youtube, when Facebook and Twitter came onto the scene. People started trickling into these big tech corporate silos, and they started monopolizing off of our personal data to advertisers. Creativity and freedom of speech and expression began getting stifled because it didn’t meet the standards of advertisers, and big tech wanted control over narratives, and ultimately, people’s minds. Aside from the major privacy issues, data monopolization, and freedom of expression issues, we also now have all these algorithms that determine who/what we’re going to see and when we’re going to see it. If the algorithms detect the content you’re sharing goes against the social/political narratives certain platforms want to promote, your posts get buried and unseen in people’s timelines. This is known as ‘shadow banning’. This is not just present in social media platforms, but even search engines.
What is Web 3.0
Unfortunately, it gets worse. Currently, we are collectively at a crossroads where big tech wants to introduce Web 3.0 – which in a nutshell, is a massive pyramid scheme. Web 3.0, in a nutshell, is the Metaverse, where people buy and sell virtual “real estate”. The rich buy and sell “virtual land” to you because what good is the internet if the rich can not monopolize more off of you using it? NFTs, most crypto, digital ID, the end of online anonymity, this is all part of Web 3.0. It boasts users will have more control over their own data, but our data is still monopolized, just in a different way. It also fails to mention all the security issues, lack of privacy, and how the mega rich are the ones who benefit most from this system.
While the political bias and colorful language of this content creator is very strong in this video, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it and try to see past any conflicting political bias and language as she gives a very thorough rundown of what Web 3.0 is and how it is a giant pyramid scheme.
So How Do We Fix It?
I really love this quote by Mahatma Ghandi, and feel it is the perfect opening to how we should address change.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” —Mahatma Gandhi—
Change starts within the individual, and the changes we as individuals make creates a ripple. Those of us who are not happy with Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 remember the soul/spirit that was present in 1.0, and it’s time to bring it back. Web 1.0 was by no means perfect, but we are taking what we’ve learned and loved about it; the fun, the creativity, the human spirit, freedom of expression over profits (money is not the goal), freedom of speech, control over our own data, and restoring a culture where people weren’t so divided and we could really connect with other people.
It is unlikely we can take down big tech giants by force, they have grown to be too powerful – BUT, we can disintegrate the pyramid from the bottom up by going independent, no longer relying on their systems to socialize online, and this is an organic process that requires no force. It simply requires a spark of inspiration within yourself to create a fun, unique space of your own, connect with others in the movement, and eventually through this process as it grows, we can get to a place where we don’t need big tech anymore. We can create our own online culture again, free from their control and influence. If you feel inspired by the soul/spirit of what the Web 1.0 was, if you miss freedom of expression, creativity over profits, freedom from privacy invasive data harvesting monopolies, if you miss a time when manipulative algorithms didn’t control whom/what you saw and when you saw it – you, yes YOU have the power to create a ripple amongst a vast sea of growing ripples in this movement whom all want the same things.
Change starts within, and you can start creating this change by taking back your own freedom of expression online! This can be by creating your very own website filled with all the things you love. Give it a funky background if you want to, customize it to completely suit your aesthetic. Express yourself however you like, it can be as organized or messy as you want it to be, share your favorite things, make it YOU. Create an authentic space that is by you, for you, where money is not the goal.
Socializing In This Movement
Joining this movement doesn’t mean you have to drop all your big tech social media accounts. Some people feel inspired to do that and dive into this movement head first, and that’s valid, but I’m of the belief this is a shift that will not happen overnight for most people. This is an organic process that will take time and continue to grow as more people feel inspired to start bringing back the heart of the old web and break free from big tech forces that try to control, influence, and monopolize on us for their personal gain.
And lastly, don’t be fooled that individual websites are lonely in the social aspect – they’re anything but! You likely will not find our indie sites on big tech search engines such as Google, because again, their system is based on profits and who can compete to win over the algorithm’s favor. This movement does not operate under big tech rules, our goal is not profits and we do not care about winning over any algorithms, it’s different system of organic discovery, created by the people for the people. Join webrings and directories. This is a great way to discover other people in this movement, you can go to their sites and interact with them, and often times they will come back to your site and interact with you as well. You can join my webring as well as the many other webrings listed on this page. You can also find new people via other people’s “links” pages, which often features other people’s websites that they love or are friends with. You can also find many folks on the Fediverse who share the same passion. There are even Fediverse servers completely dedicated for people in this movement.
Ready to Get Started?
After reading all of the above, if you feel the spark of inspiration brewing, head over to the ‘Getting Started’ and ‘Resources’ tabs of this page. I also recommend checking out the ‘What Is The Fediverse’ tab because if you would eventually like to replace your big tech social media accounts with people-empowering alternatives, the Fediverse is a fabulous alternative that will fill that void. 🙂
I hope this post has been informative and able to inspire you. If it did, leave me a comment letting me know, and feel free to leave a link to your own indie website for myself and anyone else reading the comments of this post to visit!