Besides security issues discussed in a previous post, other factors are conspiring to stifle and ultimately threaten the viability of the web. These include the much ballyhooed concept of content shock, as well as the notion that somehow, and just possibly, that << web design is dead >> .
Content shock as a concept was first popularized in a now viral blog post that argues in a world of more and more content, we must work harder and harder to get any kind of audience to the point of vastly diminishing returns, while Ben Hunt argues in his short book aptly named Web Design is Dead, that because of the commoditization of such things as cheap very high quality WordPress templates—that the services of designers for most web projects become moot.
Perhaps the biggest threat to the web is something I argue, which is its almost total commercialization, to the point that Mark Zuckerberg is hocking a stripped down Facebook-flavour of the web to the world’s poor. This was not at all what John Perry Barlow, and the early tech luminaries such as Vince Cerf and Tim Berner-Lee’s really had in mind.
(for more on the Zuck’s impact on the web, see The Feed)
To make matters much much worse you must include how the web is being stuffed thick with surveillance – a subject that usually very pro-web Jen Simmons from the Web Ahead, covers well in this episode of her podcast, where she basically admits that because of all the heavy tracking clogging up the web, it is essentially broken.
Another one of my big beefs is with apps. Apps in general. I have tried to do app development, indeed, I have worked on several native apps for iOS and Android, as well as using AppPresser Reactor to single source hybrid apps to mobile from WordPress Sites. Thing is, no matter how you cut it, dealing with these closed platforms, their walled-garden app stores, their approval processes, certificates, onerous updating procedures, only to end up with siloed apps which, no matter how you cut it (again) cannot really connect much with other apps, or properly with the wider web.
The wide open web is just not good for Apple – who after much retropspective – for example in the new Aaron Sorkin written Steve Jobs movie, is a well done version of a totalitarian company – becoming almost exactly what it was mocking in its famous Mac Superbowl Big Brother commercial. Google is not much better, just recently retracting its early slogan: “Don’t be Evil”.
If the basic aphorism “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” is true, than this almost total oligopolistic situtation with Apple and Google controlling mobile, Microsoft backing down and RIM basically out of the picture – how can an independent mobile web, and therefore the web as a whole: as an open project owned, as it were, by world citizenry, survive?
Well, in this world of technocapitalism, it can’t.
That is, unless the web completely reverts to what is was originally supposed to be, which will be the subject of my next post: edX and the Future of the Web.