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<nettime> Frank Chimero: Refragmentation
nettime_utilities on Wed, 1 Oct 2014 02:44:57 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Frank Chimero: Refragmentation

< http://frankchimero.com/blog/refragmentation/ >


   Aug 28, 2014

   Sometimes it's worth reading the comments. For instance, take this
   comment[1] on the web's consolidation from Mike Caulfield.[2]

     You look in 1993 and see Guido Van Rossum and Berners-Lee arguing
     that instead of an IMG tag there should be a general "include", that
     would allow you to pull together pieces of multiple sites together
     from multiple MIME types. Twenty years later, there's still no

     You see Shirky and Weinberger talking in 2003 about how the web was
     designed to connect pages, not people, and the groups forming were
     essentially hacks on top of that. But that power to connect people
     doesn't get built into the protocols, or the browser, or HTML. It
     gets built on servers.

     It's almost like the web's inability to connect people, places, and
     things was the ultimate carve-out for corporations. [I]f the
     connections have to live on a single server (or server cluster) then
     the company who controls that server wins.

   The lack of an <include> tag led to Pinterest. No method to connect
   people created Facebook. RSS's confusing interfaces contributed to
   Twitter's success. Any guargantuan web company's core value is a
   response to limitations of the protocol (connection), markup spec
   (description), or browsers (interface). Without proper connective
   tissue, consolidation becomes necessary to address these unmet needs.
   That, of course, leads to too much power in too few places. The door
   opens to potential exploitation, invasive surveillance, and a fragility
   that undermines the entire ethos of the internet.

   [Edit: APIs were at first a patchwork to resolve the shortcomings of
   protocols. They let data flow from place to place, but ultimately APIs
   are an allowed opening to a private dataset -- a privatized protocol. The
   halcyon days of Web 2.0 were a short lived window of benevolence that
   eventually closed.]

   If a fifth of the planet signs on to Facebook each month, why shouldn't
   a neutral version of it's functionality be built into the protocol,
   markup spec, and browsers that drive the distributed web? (An argument
   could be made that Facebook is already trying to do the inverse -- turning
   the internet into Facebook -- with its [14]internet.org campaign.) We
   should view the size and success of these companies as clear calls to
   recreate their products' core functionality and weave it into the
   fabric of the web.

   What if tech companies were field research for the protocol? This may
   be a dream, but it's our only hope to refragment the web.

     Frank Chimero is a professional designer, amateur human, and 
     intelligent idiot.

(c) 2014 Frank Chimero, or whomever made the things I didn't make.

     [1] http://cogdogblog.com/2014/08/27/dont-be-a-platform-pawn/comment-page-1/#comment-680854

     [2] http://hapgood.us/about/

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