The Internet Six Years Later

Poetic account by Hossein Derakhshan of trying to adapt to a social media dominated Internet after spending 6 years in an Iranian jail. The consolidation of content onto Facebook, Twitter, et al worries him:

But the scariest outcome of the centralization of information in the age of social networks is something else: It is making us all much less powerful in relation to governments and corporations.

Being watched is something we all eventually have to get used to and live with and, sadly, it has nothing to do with the country of our residence. Ironically enough, states that cooperate with Facebook and Twitter know much more about their citizens than those, like Iran, where the state has a tight grip on the Internet but does not have legal access to social media companies.

His major concern is the decline of independent blogging and writing, as content networks lock up—and lock out—the Internet at large:

But apps like Instagram are blind — or almost blind. Their gaze goes nowhere except inwards, reluctant to transfer any of their vast powers to others, leading them into quiet deaths. The consequence is that web pages outside social media are dying.

See also The Internet Sucks Reading List by Jonathan Poritsky over at The Candler Blog for a collection of similar sentiments.