When will the Web grow up?

Max Back’s “Make Free Stuff” is a post that has been making the rounds on the Internet lately (and well deserved, it’s a great one). Max discusses how the web has changed over the years and how the web he grew up with is different from the one he’s seeing now. I am not sure what age demographic Max belongs to, but I can definitely relate to what he is experiencing. In the early days, the web was, as Max puts it, “I made something, here it is.”

“I made something, here it is”. Sharing things for the sake of showing them to the world. Somebody had created something, then put it online so you could see it. Visit their website (wait for the dial-up to finish), and it’s yours.Max Böck - Make Free Stuff

While at first, it might sound like the web is still like this today, but, if you think about it, it’s clear it isn’t. Websites are designed to collect data, get your email, money, and ultimately the most valuable asset, your time. But, unfortunately, most experiences want more than they will actually give.

If the web back then was this naive, kind child assuming the best of everyone’s intentions, it feels like the web today is the greedy, self-righteous teenager demanding more of everyone else but themselves. I’m longing for the day when the web grows up and turns into the fulfilling, self-respecting adult it has the potential to become.

But I think it’s unlikely the web will ever become that person unless we, its society, help it become that person.

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