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Going back to a simpler web and my choice of Gemini.
Some may be wondering why I list my personal "website" as being a Gemini capsule.
In this first post I'll be answering this question as well as detailing some other
things I may touch upon in later posts.
(if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, my conclusion also serves as a tl;dr)
1: My relationship with the internet
I'll be upfront about it: This part will be a lot of "old person missing the good ol' days" type of things, so it'll be mostly a question of context, you can skip it.
I am not afraid to say that I am very much an "internet kid" in the sense that I grew up with the internet, and the internet did itself a bit of growing up alongside me.
I've been on the internet since I was a kid in the 00s (since around 2003 to be more precise) and as such I grew up with an idea of the web being a really varied space, which
proper usage may not have been the easiest, with a lot of small websites that were either really dedicated to one subject, or were really personnal. It wasn't rare to have
one person have multiple sites that were each focused on something different.
Instead of doom scrolling, we had to site-hop or, when available, we used RSS-feeds to know when a site or a page got updated.
Going online was an "adventure" in and of itself, if you wanted something precise you'd just go to your "good place" and read up on it.
On top of all that, internet connections back then required for the pages to be simple: we simply couldn't afford too many flashy animations, and when there were any
they were mostly just flash animations playing as transitions between two pages.
Now there were obviously flash games and the like, but they took some time to load and were usually still aggregated in specialised websites with the flash element being
the only animated part in a page (and that's not counting the sites that just opened a different windows specifically for the flash content).
All in all this led me to viewing the web as being:
- 1: A set of specialised or personal pages usually made by individuals
- 2: Something mostly comprised of text and images with videos and games here and there but as the only
animated/interactive element of the whole page
- 3: Something that still offers you a sense of discovery by wandering in it
- 4: Something that required a bit of work to create content for, but was still largely accessible to pretty much anybody.
But the late 2000s and early 2010s saw the rise of social media platforms, leading to still generally personal pages, but all aggregated in a single place with a single,
design, stripping part of the personnal flair of it all and leading to what is known as the consolidation of the internet, which go directly against 1 and 3,and the
developpement of computers and infrastructure made it so that we could have animations and interractions everywhere, making the creation of "acceptable" web pages way more
difficult for your everyperson.
we're now at a point where the internet is basically controlled by a handful of companies, and we basically went from visiting maybe a dozen different sites each time we went
online to visiting around 4-5 sites at most everyday.
Contrary to some people, I wouldn't say that the web is now bloated, but I would deffinitely say that it is not what I first liked about it 20 or so years ago.
2: My current stance on the web
To me the web has reach a point that makes me unable to fully endorse it: it is controlled by a few seemingly inescapable companies, Google being the main one that comes to mind
and I doubt that this current state will be reversible anytime soon.
I don't want to be constantly spied on by companies, I don't want to be fed formatted doomscroll content, and I want to go back to a simpler, more fun and personal time on the web.
The web needs to go back to being a hobby, at least as much as we can go back to it, and companies shouldn't even have the option to spy on us through our usage of the web.
It's with that mindset that I've decided to control more my usage of the web starting this year, I know that the price will be convenience but that's one I don't mind paying.
3: How Gemini answers to all that ?
Gemini is still relatively new, it's only a few years old at this point, but it started off thanks to people looking at the web and trying to find a compromise between the positives
of the new and the old web.
From the old, it takes the fact that it's only comprised of text and images, it's simple and so far it's niche enough for it to be composed of mainly personal pages, not even specialised ones
yet as far as I've seen. You also still needs to really search it, and the feeling of discovering some new place is definitely present in gemini.
From the new, it takes the necessity to ensure that each client/server communication is secure, and there's no real inconveniences to browsing it.
And as its own thing, though more inspired by the lack of foresight during the old web that led us to the current web: Gemini is built so that users normally can't be spied on it.
But the compromising don't stop here: Gemini is built to make extending it an arduous task, and that's by design: by making sure that gemini stays simple, its team and community ensures
that the risks of it turning into a new fully modern web is almost impossible. It also make sure that it stays "human sized".
Overall, Gemini fills a personal need that the web can't fill anymore, at least not for me. But it isn't perfect, after all nothing is, and it can't fully replace the web (and that's
not the intent behind it anyways) and as far as personal pages are concerned, I much prefer this approach to what the web would propose.
- Between 2009 and 2014, the web went from a free space meant for personnal expression to a consolidated space controlled by a handful of big companies.
- I decided that, to me at least, enough is enough and that I'll do my very best from now on to reduce most of the things there that goes against my personal beliefs regarding
the necessity of having an online "people's place" where I wouldn't be as scrutinized as I'd be by taking the convenience route.
- To this end, I chose to build my personal online space on Gemini as right now it moreso aligns with said beliefs.
In parallel to all of this, I also decided that by the end of 2023 I'll have a mostly de-googlized online life. While google isn't the only big online company that goes against my
previously mentionned beliefs, it is the more prominent one (managing my mails, my phone, my main source of entertainment etc.)
This has already begun, with a switch away from the google search engine in favor of Duck Duck Go and Qwant, and with the direct replacement of Android by Calyx OS on my phone.
I'll document my progress and the steps I've decided to take throughout the year on this very log, if you're ever intersted.
With all that being said, I wish you all a great time until the next post.