The incoming internet switch-up

5 min read
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It feels like a good chunk of the previously untouchable “tech giants” that rose to popularity (and generated buckets of money) over the last ten years are falling apart all at once.

  • Elon just bought Twitter, and I’m not stoked about what he’s got planned:
    • Elon is touting “free speech” as the key to making Twitter “the de facto public town square”.
    • IMO this is a dog whistle for racists, homophobes and similar gremlins to come to Twitter in droves and feel safe being terrible humans.
    • Major bummer because Twitter is one of my favourite places to hang out.
  • Meta and its portfolio of social apps are not fun, and seem to be imploding:
  • Reddit is still… Reddit. There are a few nice corners here, but they come and go.
    • Reddit is a parable for why you don’t want to be the free-speech town square of the internet (Twitter’s new direction). They’ve improved recently but are still recovering from years of terrible management.
    • Was home to droves of insanely hateful communities protected by years of terrible policies enforcement around hate speech and misconduct.
    • I’m part of a few healthy small communities on here (specifically around some niche hobbies of mine, more in another post) but they’re few and far between.
  • Netflix and the onslaught of “new” streaming services are effectively cable bundles 2.0
    • Netflix is $20/mo, Crave (Canadian HBO+) is $20/mo, Disney plus is $12/mo, etc, etc.
    • I think the prohibitive cost of these services will spike piracy🏴‍☠️ over the next few years.
    • I miss when all I needed was Netflix.
  • The general downturn of high-risk, low-payout investment killing no/low-profit startups
    • The economy is in the shitter and loans are no longer free!
    • Startups with low to no profit will likely not do so hot over the next while, effectively killing a bunch of the “meh” apps (Snapchat comes to mind here🌶️)

Predictions for the future

These sites figuratively crashing and burning is likely going to open up some space for new fun places on the internet.

Things I’d say are a sure bet

Honestly, I think that a lot of the new “big things on the internet” are already out there, and have probably already effectively replaced their aging social counterparts.

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying and am confident will continue to succeed:

  • TikTok made me laugh and shattered my productivity. It’s the only app I can think of that I used so much I had to uninstall it, I was spending hours a day on the app (yikes). Given the addictive nature and strong user base, I’m sure it’ll stay huge.
  • Discord connects me to my friends in person and on the internet. It’s low friction, is fun to use, and generally easy to moderate. It has public and private spaces to talk about whatever you like.
  • Youtube is still great if you have good taste. Lots of great content but it occasionally suggests some weird alt-right men’s rights videos which are gross, but if I ignore the suggestions and continue as usual they disappear.

Niche apps I hope will take off

I also have a few niche pieces of tech that I really like using, and hope will take off in a more mainstream way. At the same time, I’m enough of a realist to know that niche apps tend to be a niche for a reason.

  • RSS or some generic syndication format for content across the internet. Having a generic protocol for sharing content would open up so many doors.
  • The return of personal websites and blogs powered-up by the modern internet. Imagine how cool Tumblr themes could be with a CSS grid and WASM-enabled apps.
  • Something like Mastodon that decentralizes socials (but not in a cringe crypto way). For now, Mastodon is just so damn confusing. I can’t figure it out and I’m pretty much their exact target market.

Something else exciting

I just want something that makes me feel stoked to open a browser again.

Whatever this is, it probably won’t end up being a “social app” in the lane of “Facebook 2”. Things like r/place on Reddit, or other internet-enabled communal experiences seem like a happier, more positive, path to go down.

I don’t know, something amazing I guess.