For the Web is part of the Worldwide Web Foundation — “established in 2009 by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right … fighting for digital equality — a world where everyone can access the web and use it to improve their lives.”
For the Web is currently asking for stories.
How has the web changed your life? What do you use it for? What are your hopes for its future?
Well I have to say that the web changed my life. My blog has given me almost everything that is positive for my work. It has allowed me to connect with a global network. In 2003 I started freelancing, working from here in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada — population 5,000. Even our timezone [Atlantic Time] is unknown to many people. In 2003 my professional network was comprised of my ex-military connections, a few university ones, and some professionals in our rural region. The Canadian Maritime Provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island — have about 1.7 million people, with no large cities. The region has relatively high unemployment, no head offices of large companies, and my town is 1,000 KM away from the next major urban centre — Montréal or Boston. There are few regional opportunities for me to find good paid work.
Today, in 2018, I can say that blogging has directly connected me to a wide variety of clients, opened speaking opportunities worldwide, and helped me find international business partners. Without my blog, nobody would ever have heard of me. My blog has become my home base in a world of changing social media platforms. Social media come and go but access to the web is the fundamental platform that allowed me to learn, find work, grow my business, and connect with other professionals to continuously push at the edges of my competence.
An open web is critical for my work and my learning. Before the web it would have been impossible to publish to a global audience. Now, +3,100 blog posts later, I continue to make international connections. I also learn from a diverse and broad professional community. Not only does the web power my blog, but also my email, video conferencing, and collaborative work spaces. I could not work without an open web. I could not learn as quickly without an open web. I remember the pre-web days of waiting for library books to arrive. Knowledge-sharing was s l o w.
The web powers Internet Time. In internet time things happen much quicker than in pre-internet time because of the increased connections. Jay Cross — who died three years ago today — coined the term internet time.
More happens in a minute today than in one of your great-grandmother’s minutes. Not only is more and more activity packed into every minute, the rate of change itself is increasing. Measured by the atomic clock, the twenty-first century will contain a hundred years. Measured by how much will happen, in the twenty-first century, we will experience twenty thousand current years. —Jay Cross (2007) Informal Learning
I met Jay, who lived 6,000 KM away from me in California, through the web. We became friends and business partners. #ForTheWeb gave me Jay — thank you!
I do not want to lose the freedom that the web has given us. The Cluetrain Manifesto said that Hyperlinks Subvert Hierarchy. Hyperlinks are the foundation of the web. Without the web we go back to those hierarchies. We are seeing this in the current state surveillance capitalism that is dominating the economy. Only a free and open web can counter the platform monopolists. My hope is for an open web that lets people connect because it is only collectively that we will be able to take on our global challenges — climate change, refugees, pollution, inequality — that no national government can possibly address.