trenchant.org

by adam mathes · archive

The Internet We Deserve

At the beginning of the year I wrote a long rant about how I would stop posting my words, pictures, and life to advertiser supported web services and instead would use paid ad-free services or host things myself.

I never posted it — partly because it’s hard to change habits like that and I was skeptical I would actually follow through on any of it. (I’ve made some progress, more on that tomorrow.)

My thesis was that advertiser supported web services in the long run have interests that probably do not coincide with mine.

This isn’t just about “if you’re not paying you’re the product being sold” though that’s part of it.

I have a different philosophy of why we create things and put them on the internet. And that philosophy is incompatible with having my words and thoughts and life become real estate for advertising.

If people want to donate their time, copyrights, intellectual property, and personal data to companies and whoever else so they can sell billboards on it in exchange for heart and star icons, that’s fine.

That’s the internet they deserve.

This is something I care about. These are not one-time transactions for disposable commodities. This is not like having a disagreement with a company that makes my socks. (Which is a lot less likely because now I buy socks made in Wisconsin.)

And not all advertiser supported things are bad. I treasure metafilter. decommodify is essentially marketing for products I think are outstanding supported (not really) by affiliate links.

But it seems sometimes we forget that we used to call our personal sites “home pages.” Most people don’t want their home plastered with ads and containing hidden constant corporate surveillance.

So I’m trying to deal with it and remove most of it from my life.

I’ll share a progress report tomorrow.