March 21, 2018

Hope for the Web

The open web is something I think about often—usually with some fear and trepidation. For the past decade, the open web has been under increasing attack. The community, connections, and creativity that made the web so amazing have been replaced by groupthink, bots, and blandness. Nearly every day, it feels like we’re losing a little more of the open web.

A lot of people try to do something to maintain what’s good about the web. I like to think that I do, too. We write about the web, standards, accessibility, and community. We talk to each other. I usually end up lecturing or ranting to my family about the danger in which we find ourselves and the web. But it’s hard to keep up the fight, especially when you’re facing monoliths like Google and Facebook. What hope do a relatively small number of people have when defending against these behemoths?

That’s why I was heartened to see the inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, tweet storm about his own fears and his hope for the future of the web. It’s reassuring to see that someone so entangled with the web—the creator of the whole damned thing—has similar feelings. But it’s even more reassuring to see that he still hasn’t given up the fight.

It’s going to be a hard fight, but a worthwhile one. Even when it seems like a small thing in our personal and professional lives, standing up for openness, access, inclusion, and diversity on the web can make a big difference. If enough people do that, it scales. It can change the world.

Just some random thoughts, but I wanted to write them down for future reference when I feel like the web is coming crashing down. Here are his tweets for posterity, too.