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Apart from the simplicity and the astoundingly interesting people that seem to inhabit the ‘small web’, there is one major factor that I think stands out across the whole ecosystem… and that’s authenticity.
Unlike the commercial web where people are either promoting themselves or promoting content to get eyeballs on advertisements, the small web has a real ‘hobbyist’ feel.
Here’s the key: people are creating for the love of creation itself.
When you were a child you didn’t build your lego models hoping to monetise them. You didn’t build them to seek approval (actually, that’s a sore point… I am beginning to learn I did a heck of a lot of stuff in my childhood to try and seek approval and continue doing the same even into my late adulthood if I’m not careful!). But emotional abandonment aside, the creative stuff you did as a child was likely accompanied with a flow state – happily losing track of all time, absorbed in the task and humming away merrily to yourself.
Yes, that’s what the small web encompasses.
No willy wanging. No need for self-promotion. No need to be anything other than exactly who you are.
No need to pretend you love something you don’t. No need to say “yes” when you mean “no”.
The small web gives each and every one of us a place for unbridled and unapologetic expression of Self. And that is a beautiful thing.
Many small web services (I’m thinking Bear Blog [bearblog.dev] in particular) even limit the feedback available to its writers. You can up-vote a post and that’s it. You can’t even comment on, or contact a Bear Blogger without their having explicitly shared their contact details on their blog. (That’s actually one of the main reasons I’m not using Bear right now… I feel it lacks a sense of community that a comments section can build.
When you’re creating for creation’s sake you are suddenly free to have opinions, to create stuff that no-one might like, to do what takes your fancy, when it takes your fancy and not worry about any reward. And that is a beautiful thing.
And because of the free-spirited nature of the ecosystem, there are some amazing seeds of ideas (and, indeed, some amazing fully baked ideas too).
I’m willing to bet there is a lifetime’s worth of interesting, engaging, challenging and inspiring content out there without ever having to leave the small web. And I’m going to find it all – and, all being well, provide some of it too.
Are you a small-webber? Let us know in the comments! I will gladly approve all genuine links… let’s connect…
Tags: Minimalism, Small Web
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