In February 2020, my friend and I were working on a couple of freelance projects that got either paused or cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
We had a lot of free time and nothing to do, so we decided to start a blog. The process was simple: learn something new every day and write about it.
Seems innocent, right? Well, it is, until you start working on improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That's where things get ugly. When you decide to improve your SEO in order to rank higher in the search engines, you end up fighting a war with the algorithms instead of simply trying to share knowledge.
Usually, you end up writing what people want to read instead of what you truly want to share. You'll eventually have to write those "7 surprising examples of..." type of shit headlines in order to drive traffic to the website, otherwise no one would think about clicking your links.
If the goal is to build a successful blog with high traffic, you'll need to adapt to the market and its needs. Eventually, I got tired and gave up. It made me question everything about my life: my motives, my goals, my values, my beliefs. Everything seemed rigid, and I couldn't know which ideas were truly mine and which ones were just a product of the Internet's echo chambers.
The more I thought about it, the more I hated the Internet. It's true that the web gave us access to a lot of great resources, but with great power comes great responsibility; and unfortunately everyone (people, companies and governments) mishandled this responsibility.
We created one of the most dangerous weapons that humanity ever witnessed: a platform to manipulate and influence behavior at a global scale, where everyone is willingly participating and happily engaging.
Spreading false information became exponentially easier, and some companies now hold more power than even the most powerful governments on the planet. The best case scenario is that this power would be used only for financial benefits, but this weapon can easily be used for political goals and cause civil wars if needed.
I can't fix the entire world around me, but at least I can start here; by building something I believe in that benefits those who use it, with no hidden agendas. That's why I decided to create my own digital corner that reflects my beliefs on how the Internet should be.
What to expect
Let me start by saying that you shouldn't get your hopes high. This isn't a place for high quality edited content or cutting edge technology tutorials. It's basically just raw unedited thoughts and ideas, in addition to some of the stuff I learned and found useful.
In short, this website is more like a personal journal where I document my thought process in order to see how I evolve.
What does this website contain?
- Thoughts I have
- Things I'm working on
- Some tech tutorials
- Experiences I've had
- Random observations
- Personal analysis on random things (books, documentaries, series, etc)
I don't even consider these to be writings, they are more like "thinking".
Thoughts change over time, which means some of the older posts might have ideas that evolved in my head. I'll usually write new posts about the newly formed ideas, but I won't delete the old ones: I like to see how I'm changing. That's why, fundamentally, my blog is for me more than it's for you, but I hope you enjoy it anyways.
What you won't find here
Before we dive into this section, I want to clarify that I'm not judging anyone using any of the below. On the contrary, they are sometimes necessary (depending on the website's functionality). I'm just against their excessive use, and I do wish less websites had them; especially when they add no value to the website.
1. Tracking and analytics
As I've already stated, this website is basically a personal journal. None of the data I would collect about the website's visitors would influence my decisions on how or what I write.
It doesn't matter to me how many people view a certain page, or where they came from, or how long they stayed on it. Use this website however you want, you can rest assured that your privacy is respected.
2. Third party scripts
You can't control what data these scripts collect or how they use it. That's why they should always be kept at the bare minimum.
In my previous version of the website, I was using Utterances for comments. I trust it because it's completely open-source and uses the GitHub issues API to store these comments. Nothing shady happens behind the curtains. But for now I removed it because I don't feel there's a need for it. I may add it back in the future, but that's as far as I'm going in terms of third party scripts.
I'm not trying to make a living out of this website, that's why it will never have ads on it no matter how big or small its traffic is.
The entire system needs to be rebuilt, but currently that's just not feasible. The change has to be gradual, one step at a time. The important thing is to never stop fighting. If not for us, at least for the future generations.
There are many initiatives trying to fix the problems around us, and I really hope they succeed; at least to enlighten people on why things are wrong and why they need to change. Here are some of them the ones I recommend you check:
- Solid: this project is led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who created the world wide web in the first place. It's an initiative to decentralize the web and bring back control and freedom. In a nutshell, it extends the existing web standards in order to enable richer choices for people, organizations, and app developers by allowing them to control which entities and apps can access their data.
- Elastos: another initiative that aims to renovate how the Internet works by leveraging the blockchain technology. It's like an operating system for the Internet itself; it's completely decentralized and can be installed on any hardware in the world. In addition to that, it's built to make the Internet more secure, scalable and powerful.
- Center for Humane Technology: This one is a bit different as it focuses more on the human aspect and the effects of technology on humans, but I believe this is the most important part if we want to make a change. Regardless of the infrastructure or technology we use, we must always keep in mind how to make it more humane. If you have some free time, I definitely recommend checking their Ledger of Harms.