How WordPress Saved the Web
After reading Tim Berners-Lee’s writings on how Facebook threatens the future of the web it occurred to me just how in the reverse argument is also true, projects like WordPress actually saved the web up until now.
WordPress Saves Intellectual Property of Millions
Millions of websites are self-hosted with WordPress. Along with that hundreds of millions of articles, content and words have been produced on these self-hosted domains on an open source code base. This means that each person owns all of their intellectual property. That was the original purpose of the web, and if it weren’t for a powerful, centralized open community developing on an open source platform than millions of people would have given away their intellectual property to some centralized blogging platform that would have monetized their works and even worse, would have owned (or joint-owned) their works.
Centralization of the Web through Social Networking
As social networks get larger, we forget that we are actually coming into union with them by putting our thoughts, our “intellectual property” into these websites which we don’t own anymore.
“The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site. Each site is a silo, walled off from the others. Yes, your site’s pages are on the Web, but your data are not. You can access a Web page about a list of people you have created in one site, but you cannot send that list, or items from it, to another site.” – Tim Berners-Lee
BY PARTICIPATING IN SOCIAL NETWORKS, WE ARE GIVING AWAY OUR FREEDOM AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.
Maybe you already knew this…but I’m trying to get you from sitting on the fence to actually caring about this.
How I’ve Responded to Social Networks
I personally deleted my Facebook and created a new one that points out to this website so I can focus on this website instead…why? Because I own all of the content on this website and it is copyrighted…by me. In the past, I would re-post content all over the web, but I realized that a link back to my website suffices and allows me to maintain ownership of the content. At the end of the day, my website is all I own and all of my time spent on other websites is in a large way, donated to them.
I realize I probably use Twitter too much, but that is because their ownership of my intellectual property is shadowed by the open tools they provide to allow you to use your information wherever you want. Maybe the company will change for the worse in the future, or something more decentralized will get popular…which at either time I’ll jump ship.
Decentralized is Power in the Right Hands…YOU
We need a decentralized way to network. We need to keep control of our own connections. Maybe you are thinking of Diaspora. I applaud them but it is not here yet. Until decentralized social networking comes, we need to take steps to use social networks as a pointer back to a source of content that we own. Don’t only use social networks. Please, stop. Use your own blog, put up a WordPress and take back control over your intellectual property.
Keep the power of the internet in your hands by self-publishing and self-hosting. Don’t let social networking become the center of your online presence.
Keep decentralization in mind as you build your software and open source projects. Think of how git has helped developers…both by technically being easier to use but also in ownership of the code. It gave us developers back control over the way both write and publish code to other repositories. The more power you put in peoples’ hands the better. Sometimes that goes against corporate interest but there is certainly ways that corporations can benefit from decentralization as well. Think github.
The entire internet was built on this principle of decentralization…so build on it.