You know there was a time websites could be built that weren’t some plot to acquire VC funding or testbed a new technology for acquisition by a service delivery giant, or even an adjunct to some politically or financially motivated public service. People with passion connecting with others who shared the similar passions. The web is dead, as it has long been… now it simply exists as a multi-platform display interface which neutered the more controversial (not to mention forward thinking) aspects of Ted Nelson’s hypertext opus. Sure, there are more websites than ever before, conglomerating and centralizing in a Wall street organized orgy of acquisitions, however as with ‘blockbuster’ movies and music, the formulas are all regimented, cataloged and indexed.
There is no trail to blaze, or more accurately, there is enough noise to effectively kill any legitimate user base a site may have as well as the ability of centralized linking to crush a site’s ability to deliver targeted information by suddenly hitting a niche server with a centralized channel of viewers and the following ripple of aggregators.
As a result I am starting to think of a scheme which allowed entry only through the main portal and allow direct reference only through sites which register track-back. No more winding hyperlink user trails… it gives a maximum depth to the level an inquiry which began outside your site can drill into your content. I think that Vannevar’s original idea of Hypertext trails took as a precondition an archival reverence today’s bloggers are incapable of having on such a scale and also relied on Ted Nelson’s idea of trivial ownership. With the web having neither of these facilities, and blogging trying to rekindle this personal fascination with content creation, now is the time that the signal-to-noise ratio both in niche site creation and blogging can be corrected.
Unfortunately this is something that will have to be incorporated by blogging engine creators other than myself, so more than likely we will see increasing trends toward centralization and away from the decentralized structure it was designed to be. The superhighway may get me to my destination faster, but the scenery was nicer on main street.