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Published on December 22nd, 2012 | by John I.


The social web: how it once was and how it is today

The press, tech industry, and the general public have always treated the rise of ubiquitous smartphone applications as a win, a triumph of greater empowerment and usability. However, they rarely talk about what we have lost in this rise. In fact, most people of the younger generation do not even know how the internet and web used to be.

Thus, here is a look at what the web used to be and how the old web has mostly faded away:

Around ten years ago, Technorati allowed you to perform real-time searches on the social web. You even had tags that work similar to how hash-tags work on Twitter these days. With Technorati, a simple search could find you websites that had been linked to your content. This means you can easily find out which people were talking about a specific topic, regardless of what platforms or tools they were utilizing to make their thoughts known.

Half a decade ago, the majority of social photos were posted and uploaded to the photo-sharing site, Flickr. These photos could be tagged by services and applications as well as by humans. Photos can easily be found with the simple use of RSS feeds. Furthermore, the photos could be licensed easily.

Ten years ago, links weren’t monetized. With the introduction of AdSense and AdWords, Google has corrupted links.

Around ten years ago, there were hardly any restrictions on downloading a full-fidelity copy of data. Data exchange was designed to benefit the users.

In 2003, if a sign-in service was run by a corporation it was described as a tracking system that was even worthy of a Patriot act. This way users did not have to reveal their legal names and reduce the chances of identity theft and other similar crimes.
This is not how our web works today.

We have lost many key features that users used to rely on. Furthermore, what is worst is that we have given up core fundamental values in the web world. Social networks may have brought in millions of new participants to their networks, but they do not show the web itself the deserved care and respect. As a result, the newer generation of internet users do not realize how much more meaningful and innovative their experience can be on the web.

Nowadays, we see giant corporations battle out and pursue their own agenda instead of collaborating in a method that would better serve the user. The way the web works now only makes it easier for a small number of wealthy people to become even more rich, while limiting people to build new innovative opportunities for themselves on the web.

Social website networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all the other websites are all great sites. They do give user a good deal of value. However, they falsely believe that exerting heavy control over the users is the ideal way to maximize sustainability and profitability of their networks. Unfortunately, this control only hurts growth. So, the best way to avoid this fallacy and improve the future of the web is to educate people about the history of the web. By knowing what has been tried and what has failed or succeeded  we can significantly the state of the web.

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