by Cesare Rocchi

The Web is already Decentralized

tags: web

It’s funny. It sounds like “a loving love” or “a new innovation”. A tautology.

There’s no need to specify that the web is decentralized. It’s already decentralized, by nature. And yet, the title of the conference had to be Decentralized Web Summit.

We don’t lack technical tools. We have plenty of them. What we lack is the culture of owning the URL.

Sir Berners-Lee says it better

The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem.

Tim Berners-Lee source

I don’t blame silos. We always had them and we will have them again. And honestly, if I weren’t involved in creating software, I’d probably pick a silo rather than buying a domain name and setting up my server. They are such an easy shortcut to take.

Let’s say that I am opening a restaurant. I am busy with a billion tasks: the masons are late, the delivery of beverages has been rescheduled, the City Hall is late in releasing the license. With all that mess going on, when it comes to the task “digital presence of my restaurant” what do I do?

The easiest shortcut is building a Facebook page. I already have an account, I upload a logo, provide a few details and I am done. I probably can do it in ten minutes before going to sleep.

Then my business grows, I get busier, I periodically think of expanding my digital presence, but I am ok with it and I prefer to improve the kitchen, hire a bartender or open another restaurant. I don’t even think that my digital presence is siloed, that I’ll be in contact with my “friends” only until the silo is alive (or doesn’t change policy). I’ll realize one day, maybe, when it’s usually too late. Or maybe not, I’ll retire, and I won’t even think about it. How can you blame a story like that? But that’s a story about a restaurant owner.

If you are a writer, a blogger, a podcaster, an artist producing music, comics or digital art I really suggest you to own your URL and build your empire on top of that. Social networks will come and go. Your URL will stay, as long as you renew it.

Sometimes I stumble upon good podcasts, well produced, hosted only on Soundcloud. They are not even on iTunes and they don’t link to any other domain. I cringe a bit.

On the other hand I can imagine “regular people” cringing when prompted some weird error while trying to install $famous_blogging_platform or while trying to figure out why SSL doesn’t work.

There must be a middle ground, where hosted platforms are easy to use and the migration to self-hosting is frictionless.

In the meantime, when in doubt, own the URL.