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Is There Such A Thing As The 'Quiet Web?'

02/21/2023

We have the "clear web", the "deep web", and even the "dark web."  But, is there also something we could legitimately call the "quiet web?" 

I am not sure that the phrase "quiet web" describes what I mean exactly -- particularly since the first hit or two from a Google search brings up how it is used to describe the background machinations of the commercial e-commerce oriented web.  The telemetry and the cookie tracking and all of that sort of thing. 

What I'm trying to conceptualize is the web and the internet as it existed before the web became a place of advertising and data collection, where its instruments and philosophies were about openness and for lack of a better way of putting it, task readiness and optimization.

A good example of something optimized for the tasks at hand were Usenet or perhaps IRC clients (and to be sure, Usenet and IRC themselves).  In the 1990s the clients that you used for these were built to access and allow for engagement for perhaps the price of the software -- assuming you weren't using freeware.

Too, there were message forums, personal websites like the very one you are perusing now, novelty websites, file repositories, classified ad sites, and so on and so on.  All of which were built and provided to engage on the premise of usability first and foremost.

How the "quiet web" as I am thinking of it relates to any of that is that, surely, there has to be a population of web and internet users today who, having started their existence online in that era, fundamentally retained it as the tide of commercialization roared in and seemingly swamped everything around them.

These people, assuming they exist to a significant number to even define a community, still communicate on usenet, still keep open IRC clients, still prefer privately run message forums, and like me in this case at least, still maintain a WWW site that they will cling to until the day that they die.

They are there (again in a presumptive sense), but, because of the extra exertion it takes to live such a peaceful digital lifestyle, they are somehow elevated above the noise of the dumbed-down consumer web, possibly working smarter, faster, and better than their bent-neck human brethren who know of no potential beyond what a smartphone can demonstrate.  

How great it would be if the working parties of the would-be "Quiet Web" were to somehow find each other and establish a consistent base of persona.  If you think you might be one of these people, drop me a message.

As an Aside...

While Googling the "quiet web" as mentioned at the top of this entry, I came across the minimalist blogger of Manuel Moreale, which in turn led me to find Marginalia that describes itself as an:

an independent DIY search engine that focuses on non-commercial content, and attempts to show you sites you perhaps weren't aware of in favor of the sort of sites you probably already knew existed.

...just the fact that someone developed a web experiment with this vernacular is evidence that while disparate, people are nonetheless collectively beginning to wonder if we can somehow have (retain/bring back?) a better World Wide Web experience.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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