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Ruminating on Walled Gardens

There is nothing I hate more than clicking on Medium article only to see that stupid sign-in screen. Sometimes I hit my Reader to see if it’ll display the whole article and if not, I just move along. Call it a lack of patience, call it me not wanting to create yet another account, but that bit of friction is enough to send me away.

But the more I think about online writing communities and the future, I can’t help but think, “I wish my writing was password protected.” I wish there was just one step that made it just a little more difficult for it to be seen by everybody. But if I feel that way, and still turn away from Medium/Substack articles, I’m sure a good majority of other people do the same.

Oddly enough, when I came back to blogging in the fall of last year, I only did so because of a gemlog I was reading on Gemini. I regret not saving that page, but the author had grown frustrated with the internet and found some solace in her little site in Gemini. She wrote about creating the internet you want and hopefully attracting others. I wanted to thank her for those amazing posts, but she didn’t provide any contact information. There was no way to reach out and the barrier between me and her page, then me and contacting her, created this sort of void of disconnect. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, and I respect her desire for privacy, but it made me wonder if that was truly the way to go. Should I create a Gemini page, that hardly anyone would ever see, that’s a pain to use and would limit the number of eyeballs?

Of course, I chose not to and decided to begin blogging here on BearBlog, and I have no regrets, but again, the walled garden motif comes to mind. Is it good or is it bad? It seems like Patreon and Discord are both growing, and quite a bit of the content is behind a login and sometimes a paywall.

I think we almost need something different for this “Indie Web” part of the internet. A few years ago, I created an HTML website that I hosted on my emailed and I used the description of setting up on a small farmhouse way far away from the city. There wasn’t a lot of traffic, things weren’t modern and shiny, but it was peaceful. It was simple, and authentic, and that beat the heck out of whatever most tech companies are selling and seeing the same templates over and over again. If I could have figured out how to get RSS to work on there, I’d still be writing on my simple, no frills HTML site. Heck, I might just give that RSS thing another shot now that I think about it.

I don’t really have a solution, but I do know that a walled garden keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Which means, the good parts of the internet would be hidden, and I think that would be a shame for the regular folks who might stumble upon a part of the web that isn’t so hostile, angry, or political. A place where folks are a bit more supportive, like to talk about their mundane lives, and reach out through email to support one another. Nothing makes me happier to see someone post or talk about how they just discovered the Indie Web or that blogs were still a thing, and it’s like it’s a respite from what passes as the internet today.

Published inSelf-ReflectionTechnology

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