Silos are screwing up the Internet
Thursday, December 10, 2015 by Dave Winer

Here's how I know it.

Facebook really wants you to post all your stuff to Facebook. Same with Twitter, Medium, probably others. These are just the ones that exert pull on me at this time. 

That's why they don't want to put APIs on their services. But to get some of the content they want they have to put on the APIs. 

We know this is awkward because when someone comments on my stuff on Medium, the chances I'll see it are really small. On the other side, when I see a post on Facebook that originated on Twitter, I'm not likely to attach an idea onto it, because I'm pretty sure the person who wrote it won't see it.

This will keep going on until there is a default place to post. It's why we gravitate toward default places to post. It's why at least in my world we all post our public code to GitHub. 

Of course this sucks. Because GitHub is a company and they may decide someday to only host projects that support a particular political belief. They may find a way of saying it that makes me sound like a bad guy if I won't support their cause. Then I will be torn. Remove my work, or go ahead and accept their requirement. It will be a tough choice when that day comes.

Because we've lived with this approach for the whole life of the Internet, there's always been this problem with posting in multiple places, there are all kinds of systems we can't build. Pipes that go from my hub for all things related to biking to someone else's hub for all things related to meatball heroes. How do we know there are no connections here? There might be. But these places don't exist. Can't exist. Because we split the world up in a different way. The person isn't important, isn't the central organizing structure. Facebook is. 

I said before the only places that pull me are Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not true. For food deliveries there's Seamless and For car rides it's Lyft and Uber. For travel there's Kayak and Expedia.

Maybe Amazon has the right idea. They sell everything. If something new comes along eventually they will sell it. But they kicked Wikileaks off AWS when the government yelled at them. They like to sell web services to the CIA so there goes Wikileaks. That's the GitHub problem. I looked the other way when it happened on AWS. But it makes me worry about leaning too hard on Amazon.

If we could get neutral places on the Internet, with no business models attached to them and no ownership we could create some important new stuff. What? We won't know until we have it.

  • It seems like the federated model Diaspora was trying to create for social media could be applied to other types of content too and would address this problem? The issues I personally had with Diaspora were that it wasn't simple to setup and that it didn't have great cross-platform support. When I looked it didn't seem to integrate with tumblr for example. What you're describing seems like a great open source project waiting to happen.

    • we're doing some work on this in the w3c SocialWG - see

  • I wrote a response over here:

  • This article also gave me some hope:

  • These are a lot of the issues the indieweb ( community is trying to tackle, too, with pretty much exactly this framing. We ( have created a publishing platform that you can host anywhere, that allows any post to reply to any other post, creating chains of conversation across the web. But hosting is still the big bottleneck, and while projects like Sandstorm are trying hard to fix it, the only really independent solution is to have a box that you control, that's as easy to use as an iPhone. We're some way off that yet.

  • I think the platform you are looking for is called Usenet, it is still going strong. You don't have to use it for nasferious purposes.

    • I like the features of the web, don't want to move backward to the 80s. We have made some progress in the intervening years, with markup, linking, publishing systems, blogging, etc.