The recent social media uproar with Twitter has been an unexpected gift for the community at large that has created an opportunity for a mass return to decentralization and open web protocols, such as ActivityPub and RSS. The sting of the possibility of losing Twitter followers and the network that users worked so hard to build, has underscored the importance of agency in social networking, the ability to take all your data and connections with you to other networks on your own terms if you choose to do so.
People are constantly moving away from the all-powerful algorithms that steer consumers and subtly manipulate the public consciousness, and migrating away in search of the more healthier, ethical social networking alternatives. The refreshing lack of ads and algorithms are winning people over in the decentralized social networks, which are now getting a second look from mainstream publications in light of Twitter’s loss of critical engineering teams, and they high level of people deciding to leave the platform for others.
I’m thankful for this renewed focus on networks that value the open web, people are now exploring alternatives to the walled gardens with their friends they have been used to using to this point, instead of having to start over alone. You must never underestimate the power of friction and crisis to change how we communicate and to motivate us to find a better way to stay connected than the more mainstream ways of the past. This is a moment in time that may have enough traction to change the course of social interaction on the web as we know it.
With things changing all around us, it’s encouraging to know that WordPress is still here and going strong just like it always has. Everyone is so fortunate to have so many plugins available that connect our ecosystem to the rest of the web, allowing us to re-publish content to almost anywhere we want to. Let’s not miss this opportunity to dig into the open web and see where it takes us.