In discussing the network topology of social networks — whether centralized like Facebook or federated like ActivityPub — I think the ultimate goal is for users to never actually encounter the underlying architecture.
To remain human-centric, ideally services wouldn’t bend social interactions to fit a chosen technical design. Instead, you would just publish to the network you choose, freely pick your persona for each place (how you present yourself), and keep control of your content (i.e. you still have it if a network goes offline, and you can move it from place to place). For bonus points, you could also build dynamic new social interactions on the network.
This idea isn’t revolutionary; we’ve seen most of these things in one form or another. But have we ever had it all in one place?
After moving everything into my Brooklyn apartment, I’m still between settling in and feeling like I’m only visiting. Some new routines have formed, others are developing; I’ve found an instant comfort — in the voices of strangers on the street, in the barren trees, in the sound of the train going by. Parts of me are fully here and present, others are still elsewhere, presumably making their way up the east coast.
Today I’m thinking about online misinformation. Sure, at some point, you might try to address it systemically — through “fact checking” on platforms and maybe even regulation. But I think these are only superficial fixes that don't address root causes.
I’ve loved this place in the South for what it was. I spent my twenties here accidentally, moving to the beach after college with my then-girlfriend, and later to the city for a job. Met good people. Slowly replaced who I’d always been with this southern Me. Bought a house even though I was always looking for a way away. I figured I’d live here a year or two. That was seven years ago.
Seemingly overnight, there’s been a whole new version of the Web invented, dubbed “web3.” I’ve seen a lot of people talk about it online lately, so I started looking into it to see if it’s worth paying attention to.
What I’ve found is summed up in my (slightly cheeky) web3 analysis. Basically, it’s that “web3” is a set of blockchain-based technologies with some very specific use cases. Many proponents are happy to make wild claims as to how this is truly “the future,” and more thoughtful community members seem to be drowned out by hype men who look at the tech uncritically.
From my conversations and research, it seems to me “web3” is at best poorly branded, having less to do with the Web itself than new ways to do commerce on the web. Overall, the hype seems disproportionate to the real-world usability or application, even when the idea is eventually fully realized.
Seeing that, I started wondering: if not this, what would a true iteration of the Web look like?
Last week I had the smallest window of time without any pressing obligations at the end of the day, paired with enough energy to code something for fun. So I used it to lay down some more code for Remark.as.
I spent the end of October in Mexico City for Founder Summit, and it was a really wonderful experience. Between the people I met — other founders, developers, salespeople, etc. all building companies — and the conversations I had, I was actually excited to get home just to start putting new things in motion. Here are some of my takeaways from the experience.
After two years of pushing hard to grow Write.as into a large business, heavily investing (and losing) my savings along the way, early this year I scaled us back to a calm, profitable level we can sustain indefinitely. With a still mind now, I’m seeing a clear vision of how I want this business to run and grow going forward.