The internet is poised for a major shakeup in 2024, with shifts in power, regulation, and creativity that will make it feel more like the wild early days of the web from 25 years ago. That’s according to tech leader Anil Dash in a recent Rolling Stone article.
Dash argues that dominant tech giants like Apple and Google are at risk of losing relevance due to new regulations in the EU forcing them to open up their closed ecosystems. This could spur more innovation, choice, and variety in apps and services - similar to the DIY ethos of the 90s internet before a few huge companies took control.
The article also highlights the fragmentation happening in social media, with new platforms like Bluesky and Threads rising up even as old staples like Twitter falter. While navigating many separate networks may be messy, Dash sees value in having varied online “neighborhoods” catering to different interests and subcultures. Much like the early proliferation of sites like LiveJournal and Xanga last century.
Additionally, Dash spotlights artists and communities who keep the creative spirit of the early internet alive with wonderfully weird, human-centric projects. Figures like digital artist Everest Pipkin and organizations like the Society for Poetic Computation represent the kind of eccentric innovation that flourishes when control rests in many hands rather than a powerful few.
Even the recent rise in simple bots posting slice-of-life info represents a return to hobbyist coding of the dot-com days. And platforms made for kindness by people like Darius Kazemi offer oases from the toxicity plaguing sites like Twitter.
So while the dominance of Google and the endless horrors lurking online aren’t going anywhere soon, Dash sees signs that regular internet users will increasingly shape their own online experiences. Crafting spaces that feel more personal, local, and human. Much like neighborhood communities in the physical world.
The Takeaway: Major internet powers are declining while increased choice, variety, regulation and non-corporate creativity seem poised to make the web weird (in a good way) again. Buckle up for a new phase where many smaller voices can thrive alongside the big guns. Just maybe don’t expect a love-powered Facebook killer anytime soon.