There are a few complaints that are often made about the internet by those of us who spend too much time on it.

1) It Sucks Now

The first is that the internet isn’t fun any more. There’s no exploration. Everything is centralised in a few places. Everybody is trying to build a brand. Nobody does anything just for the fun of it. You go on Twitter, get mad, and log off. There’s nowhere else to go.

2) The Whole Thing Is Owned By Like Three People

The second complaint, and it’s very much related, is that the majority of the content that we produce is aggregated in a few places to the benefit of companies. Twitter. Facebook. Yahoo Answers.

I was reading an AskReddit thread a while ago. “What sites do you use when you aren’t on reddit?” I didn’t know. Everything is on one place, and it’s filtered through algorithms, trends, bots and social manipulation. We generate content, but we don’t give it directly to each other. We give it to a third party who flavours it and squeezes it into our waiting mouths like a sort of digital nutrient paste.

The solution RSS, RSS is the solution has been staring us in the face. It’s RSS.

Link pages. Remember link pages?

“A link page is a type of web page found on some websites. The page contains a list of links the web page owner, a person or organization, finds notable to mention. Often this concerns an enumeration of partner organizations, clients, friends or related projects.” - Wikipedia, the only good counter-example to my rant.

People still have personal websites. A lot of us techies still have personal websites. But it’s an exercise in brand building. Look how clever I am. Hire me. Be my friend.

We need to bring link pages back. In a big way.

Advantages:

  • Make friends. Become popular.
  • Cool graphics.
  • Won’t disappear when Jack Dorsey dismantles the Twitter servers to salvage parts for Mark Zuckerberg’s future body.

Disadvantages:

  • Literally none.

I will put my money (just kidding, I use GitHub pages so I don’t pay squat) where my mouth is here and say that if you run a tech site, don’t represent a company, and send me a small (ideally 88 x 31, as per the web badge guidelines) image, I will include it on a special page on my website that gets no traffic.

My dream is that one day our sites will once again be connected by an intricate network of links. A web. A World Wide Web.

Answers To Anticipated Comments

James, the web badges you mention are generally used for web standards, not linking to other sites!

Yeah, I know. Aren’t they cool though?

Are you trying to be funny?

Depends whether it worked or not.

This is a great idea. Can I link to your site?

Sure. Here:

my badge