I have seen a bunch of posts and conversations lately about “Why isn’t the web fun anymore?”
I understand where people are coming from with this question and I think it is good that we are asking it and talking about it, but I also think that we are making it much more complicated than it needs to be.
The web isn’t fun anymore because instead of being a space used for weird creative expression, it’s been turned into a business, and turning anything into a business sucks all the fun and joy out of it. I really think it’s as simple as that.
It makes a certain kind of sense—within the confines of the system we’ve got—that we have ended up here. Someone has to pay for all the stuff that makes the web work—the servers and the storage and the network infrastructure and all the software that runs on it—and as long as we have a society that refuses to recognize that sort of thing as a public good, the money to pay for it all has to come from the stuff that runs on it.
And as soon as we’ve crossed that line, then all the usual creeps will start figuring out how to get their cut and squeeze every last penny from it.
What is confusing to me is why so many smart, thoughtful people wrap themselves into such knots trying to come up with complicated, esoteric explanations for what has happened to the web and why.
Maybe the problem is that none of them really wants to admit that the problem with the whole thing is that we’re forcing it to be a “But how can we make money from it?” deal, because if we start thinking about that, then we have to start thinking about why any of this is about “But how can we make money from it?” And if you start wondering about that, then people start treating you like some sort of crazy communist, and we can’t have that.