The Web of Places

Here’s what I’ve realized: for the things I get out of Twitter, Twitter is very good at those things. For example, quick but in-depth input and information from experts when overwhelming bits of news are happening. Experts I would not otherwise known or have heard about; that’s a service I can use. Moving to some other social platform won’t give me that, no matter how much more granular and considerate might be the functions of those platforms (e.g. Mastodon). What I’m missing from my internet experience is that thing I’ve talked about over and over, on and off, since I started blogging again: that sense of place. Over the last decade, there was a nascent movement for a “slow web” (in the spirit of blogging, those links are in reverse chronological order), and while I’m not directly informed or inspired by that, some of what the “slow web” was about can be found in these distinctions I’ve been drawing, or linking to others who have drawn, between space and place — particularly apt are the twinned notions that place doesn’t scale and that speed disrupts place. What this all amounts to is that, yes, I’m seriously and studiously examining some web forum software, with the goal of luring people “from my various and very different stages in life” to take up residence, so to speak. The forum would operate on an invitation basis (in the early going, it looks like users would have to go through me to get invite codes; I think that feature is meant to change to user-generated invites later on), so that there’s never a sudden mass influx of new people. First it’s people I know, then it will be people they know, and so forth. It’s not so much that I’m after a slow web — although there is that to it — as it is that I miss the web of places, and if no one’s going to make a new place for me, I’ll have to make one myself, and hope that other people want to be there with me.