On Erasing Craigslist
While waiting to see if I'm first in line for Ben Tarnoff’s Internet for the People when it drops on OverDrive this Monday, I read an interview about it by Wired senior writer Gilad Edelman that contains one question that left me somewhat flummoxed.
Speaking of technical resources: To take a concrete example, I could imagine something like Facebook Marketplace existing on the local level as a cooperative or municipal service. If I'm shopping for a used couch, I don't need to be able to see what's for sale in Miami. I really just want to see what's in the East Bay, where I live. And yet it strikes me that I could never build a Berkeley Marketplace that competes with Facebook. And I don't know that I could find someone to build it for me. The people who have the technical training to do that are off getting rich working for Meta. So it's all well and good to rally my community, but are any of them master coders?
I get that the specific context here is a community- or municipally-run website but I’m struck by this specific example because there already is a locally-oriented if not locally-run alternative to Facebook Marketplace. It’s called Craigslist and it’s merrily been chugging along in all it’s pre-Web 2.0 glory for nearly three decades.