|Berenice Abbott, Newsstand, 32nd St., 1935. Courtesy MOMA|
Fewer people, he observes, are spending time exploring open websites and blogs. Instead we are spending our online time inside the walled gardens of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where links are often discouraged. Derakhshan argues that "linkiness" is an essential value of the internet that we're losing. Instead of actively searching via the browser and surfing from link to link, the internet experience has become more passive, with apps presenting content that computer algorithms choose for you based on your previous interests.
Because Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all favor short content and quick reactions, he says they don't really foster reasoned discussion and the opportunity for debate free from government and corporate oversight.
|Poster kiosk via ClickFix|
Since I'm not a political blogger, I'm not personally as worried about that last point, but I think it's a valid concern. I also think he has a point about the kind of discussion that happens on blogs vs. other channels of communication. But I'm not as discouraged as he is.
In 2015 I expanded to Twitter and Instagram, and I keep up daily posts on Facebook. People call those "social media," but somehow "social" doesn't seem like the best metaphor to me. I prefer to think of them as "kiosk media." You pin your little poster on the kiosk in the public square, and maybe people see it or maybe they don't, but it soon gets covered over by another poster.
Unlike Mr. Derakhshan I enjoy the witty, quick comments that appear there as much as I enjoy the more considered opinions. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are valuable for sharing images, reaching new people, and gauging reaction to artwork.
What I like least about the kiosk media is that yesterday's post is gone tomorrow. Because everything is behind a password wall, it's not open to search. It may make a momentary sensation, but not a lasting one. By contrast, the information and images archived on Blogger, YouTube, and Pinterest are available for discovery weeks, months, or years later by people who are not subscribed to your feed.
YouTube channel are still the centerpiece of my efforts on the web. The traffic on this blog has held steady over the years, and although it hasn't grown as fast as the kiosk media, it's still robust. Anyway, the quantity of traffic doesn't matter as much as the quality of the exchange of ideas. Thanks to your input in the comments, I've grown and learned as much as you have. I have always found your comments and links thoughtful, funny, and interesting.
If you spend time at Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, please check out my channels there. I've got lots of ideas for 2016 for new things that work best in those environments.
"The Web We Have to Save: The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying." by Hossein Derakhshan