I, unironically, love Reddit. But it’s just USENET with a better UI, and a few moderation improvements.
Most days I use DropBox. But it’s just FTP, but a bit easier to use and automate.
I waste a lot of time on Slack. When I explain it to old-school nerds, I say it’s IRC – but developed by someone who gives a damn about user experience.
Most people in the world don’t have access to WWW. Instead, they use Facebook which gives them a much simpler way to post photos and share their thoughts. It doesn’t ask them to hand-edit an
I don’t know anyone who uses Listserve. It turns out that Telegram is faster, more convenient, and doesn’t require esoteric commands.
Indeed, why bother with Email? You don’t need to learn how to configure SMTP when you have WhatsApp.
What other, classic, decentralised Internet tools have been turned from open protocols to closed and proprietary services?
A large part of this is our fault. And, by us, I mean gatekeeping nerds. We developed tools which were unforgiving. We had no interest in the “soft” skills of empathy. We were too socially-awkward to speak to real users. We were insular and we liked it! Worse than that – we revelled in it.
LOL! ROFL! LMAO!
And then Apple eats everyone’s lunch by relentlessly focussing on being user friendly. Good for them. But it means handing over control to a single organisation.
I don’t claim to be any good at user experience – far from it. But I despair at some of the redecentralised efforts I see springing up. They are technically brilliant, and follow the open-source philosophy of scratching one’s own itch. And they all – without fail – are terrible to use.
Redecentralisation won’t happen because of us nerds. It must happen despite us. Despite our ingenuity and despite our self-infatuation. It must be inclusive, and put user-needs at its very heart.