The open web needs a new marketing strategy and a big fat marketing budget

This post is fantastic:

As with smoking, it’s easier to not start using the social web than to stop.


You can turn your back on the social networks that matter in your field and be free and independent running your own site on your own domain. But increasingly that freedom is just the freedom to be ignored, the freedom to starve. We need to use social networks to get heard and this forces us into digital serfdom. We give more power to Big Web companies with every tweet and page we post to their networks while hoping to get a bit of traffic and attention back for ourselves. The open web of free and independent websites has never looked so weak.

Is FB a cancer merchant or just simply the devil? You decide!

And the third best freedom? Steve Jobs' "freedom from porn," of course.

It SHOULD feel dirty promoting yourself on places like Twitter. Twitter is talking. It coarsens and cheapens our discourse to promote ourselves in person to our friends. Twitter is no different, except someone else records it, doesn't give you a record, then monetizes it. And you get "served" ads during the whole process. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was...

Spamming random people (traditional advertising) is bad enough, but we've somehow become accustomed to spamming our friends and people who somehow "like," "follow" or "friend" us. We've even created solutions, first Twitter (uni-directional relationships), then FB's algorithmic and manual "ignoring of your friends' updates" and then Google's Circles (a combo of the previous two created with almost no innovative element to speak of) to combat all this without just stopping it ourselves, asking others to stop it, or directly stopping "following/liking/friending" certain people.

-- continued from above:

The promise of the open web looks increasingly uncertain. The technology will continue to exist and improve. It looks like you’ll be able to run your own web server on your own domain for the foreseeable future. But all the things that matter will be controlled and owned by a very small number of Big Web companies. Your identity will be your accounts at Facebook, Google and Twitter, not the domain name you own. You don’t pay Big Web a single penny so it can take away your identity and all your data at any time. The things you can say and do that are likely to be seen and used by any significant number of people will be the things that Facebook, Google and Twitter are happy for you to say and do. You can do what you like on your own website but you’ll probably be shouting into the void.

But, I don't blame the Zucks of the world. I blame the standards organizations and the open web community for not rising up and fighting at an even more rapid clip. Why we need to have people like Shuttleworth bring anything "open" to the mass market is just plain sad. The closest we have to that elsewhere in the consumer-facing sphere is Mozilla, and even I use Chrome at this point. I want to use Firefox. I want to love Firefox. Maybe someday again, Firefox.

So, what i meant was: the "open web of free and independent websites" needs a marketing budget or at least a new marketing strategy. Maybe something like they're trying with baby carrots.

Baby carrots rebooted! -

Switching to the open web needs to be as simple as getting your friends off of IE and onto Firefox or Chrome. It has to be better, cleaner, backward compatible with all the old things AND have the side-effect (that your friends don't actually care about) of not being in the pocket of someone like FB. We need something like an "eat organic" movement for the open web. Not "I support open standards" or "This page is xxx compatible" ugly-ass buttons on your sidebar, but rather something with bite. Organic food didn't take off because they were "healthy." They became popular because there were enough articles and marketing behind it to make it trendy. Smoking, despite overwhelming and conclusive evidence it could kill you, didn't see declines in popularity till there was a nationwide multi-decade movement to viciously attack it in public, and more importantly, in front of children ad nauseam. Promoting the open web will probably need to be somewhere between these two extremes.

And if it's not interoperable with the old services then it has to be straight-up better, since it can't be cheaper than free and people don't give a shit about open/privacy/(insert whatever good thing you care about here). (I define giving a shit as DOING something about something, not saying "I value privacy" when someone asks you a question.) I think we're more likely to be successful with a movement to let us pay for FB or Twitter than getting people off those kinds of services. But, just look at how most publicly-held corporations respond to their owners' (shareholders') demands. You think it would be any better with users demands?

So, let's all stop saying nice things about Twitter. If we openly spew venom in FB's direction, why not Twitter? Because they haven't put ads in stream yet like FB? Is there any doubt they will soon with no option to opt out?

If current standards are insufficient to the needs of the open web to thrive successfully, or sufficiently user-hostile to prevent greater adoption, then the standards community and the community of the open web just have to work harder on something better. Judging by how awful Ubuntu is 8 years into that experiment (yes, embarrassingly, look-away awful. Look at iOS and try to convince yourself that Ubuntu is on the right track) I have low expectations.

Maybe if more people were working on things like making the email (y'know, actual open standards, remember those?) experience better (or god forbid extending it with new standards and options) like Sparrow (and Gmail before it), instead of making new Twitter clients they could sell for one dollar with slightly more perfect pixels, we would be getting somewhere.