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Musings on digital media, urbanization and politics from Seattle, Wash.

Maybe in 2023 we return to a more people-powered internet?

3d light green lattice tiles on gray concrete background. High quality seamless realistic pattern.
Denis Kirichkov, Unsplash
January 6, 2023

In the back half of 2022, I took notice of a specific search tactic I’d been deploying on a regular basis. It might be one you use, too. It became a bit of a idealogical ear-worm thanks to some random tweet I can now not find.

The tactic or idea is not new; the specific tweet was about how people frequently augment their search with the word ‘Reddit.’

So if you were, say, looking for the best dive bar with burgers in Madison, Wisconsin, you’d search “dive bar burger madison reddit.”

It’s borne out in the data here, with searches mentioning ‘Reddit’ going vertical the last couple years.

People—not everyone, but a number of people—just don’t trust Google anymore. What was once basically a utility, and in many ways still is, Google search frequently fails in delivering the information you’re looking for. Or doing so in a way that’s easy to surface.

The SEO industry has taken its toll, with the pages surfaced not because they were the most credible or the most helpful, but the most optimized.

So if you want to find comments straight from real people, really just writing or just answering questions, you add ‘Reddit’ to your query. Or you look for something that looks like Reddit.

It’s Friday so tonight, like most Fridays, I’m heading to a pinball tournament at my go-to local establishment. You’re randomly assigned games and face off against one person per round until you lose three times.

Before every match, I try to quickly Google ‘[Machine name] pinball strategy’ and there are databases of rulesheets, some videos and a bunch of other stuff—but I’m always looking for one thing, a relic of a previous internet. Message boards. Forums.

If there’s a forum thread on a site that looks like it’s from 2004, that’s the spot.

And maybe message boards or forums aren’t the only tech we should bring back. I’m writing this because I want to blog more—a lot more—in 2023. Maybe we all should?

At the end of the day, we don’t know what is going to happen next with Twitter or any of these platforms. We don’t know what changes Web 3.0 is going to bring to the internet. We do know that we will all still be here, wanting to share our thoughts, talk about anything and everything, and commune with our people. Personal blogging is the simplest and fastest way to do all of that. 

Buy that domain name. Carve your space out on the web. Tell your stories, build your community, and talk to your people. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It doesn’t need to duplicate any space that already exists on the web — in fact, it shouldn’t. This is your creation. It’s your expression. It should reflect you. 

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

A hundred posts in 2023. Let’s go.

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