It might just be a sign of the times where large following is gained by attractive people making short videos mostly devoid of intellectual value and hence, as many antisocial media users try to mimic what the popular ones do, people may not think that their online presence is endangered because they seemingly don’t do anything controversial. But were you to take a knife and remove the edge from it, instead of having an edgeless knife, you’ve simply created a new edge. The same holds true for the users of Big Tech platforms. Once a group of controversial people is removed from a site, the “controversial” badge doesn’t cease to exist, it’s simply placed on the people who were next in line. And with most content on popular platforms being rather milquetoast, it’s not difficult to end up in line to the chopping block.
To add insult to injury, now the AI and algorithms are the ones making decisions on whether or not something violates the site’s rules and unless you have a strong enough presence to object to the decision and actually be heard, you’re screwed. Your account can basically get removed for no reason and you can’t do anything about it.
What I want to achieve with this post is to make you, dear reader, want to have a website if you don’t already have one and understand that it’s not difficult. So, what should every single website ideally have?
- tidy address - short and memorizable (Tor chads be like 👀)
- contact information - best to have a few ways for people to contact you.
- public PGP encryption key - let’s normalize encryption.
- small size - you probably shouldn’t put 4K images on your main page.
- decent theme - don’t make people’s eyes bleed. When in doubt, go for black text on white background. It’s easy for readers to apply a dark theme with add-ons.
The role of the hobbyists
Alright, let’s assume that you, as a tech person, have decided to create a website. Great, the entire process of buying a domain, writing a basic website (or using Hugo, like yours truly) and setting up a server will likely take you no more than a few hours (not including the wait for DNS propagation). It ain’t gonna be easy for non-technical folks, though. And that’s where we come in.
Not everyone has the patience to figure out how to create a website from scratch, especially the ones who are on the fence about needing one. An avegare person would probably try using Wix or Squarespace but I’m pretty sure these were created by Satan himself so I’ll omit them. But almost everone knows someone who “knows about computers” - that’s probably you. So if somebody mentions to you they would like to have a website, help them. And be approachable. Let them know about Neocities and txti - most people don’t want to pay for anything online. If you have a home server, you might even host it on your own hardware.
And, last but not least, read other minimalist sites and recommend them to people. Chances are you’ll get to know cool, like-minded people who are also passionate about redecentralizing the web. Cheers!