Ten years ago I registered on Twitter under the handle @mpgstuart and discovered the joys of microblogging. At the time I was a small, niche print publisher of annual reference books and the digital revolution had only recently started to break on the shores of South Africa.
Ten years later the world is a very different place. Last month we witnessed the beginning of what may be our first global pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Information war rages across the internet and the Silicon Valley Tech giants are suffocating what used to be the waterways of a verdant, decentralised global web.
Censorship is not only in vogue but is driven by the sound business model of surveillance capitalism, with the people of the world paying with their data for what appear to be the conveniences of the fourth technological revolution. This data is then weaponised against them to algorithmically drive often unhealthy behaviours that serve the interests of an increasingly small group of oligarchs.
Such conditions began my search for Twitter alternatives and I found the IndieWeb which has the vision of restoring the decentralisation of the net by empowering individuals to own and host their own content, and syndicate it to multiple platforms. Even if a platform decides to delete you, your original content is preserved on your own website.
In searching for a content management system I wanted something unlike WordPress, currently the global standard in hosting websites. I wanted a simple but powerful CMS I could hack myself, have control over, and customise according to my unique, changing needs. I found Grav and loved its visual clarity.
Its 2020 now and the start of a new decade. The SAFE Network may be launched this year, the world’s first autonomous, decentralised internet. This website will be one of the first to be hosted on that network. My ship is ready and rigged and I have set sail. I can smell Freedom in the wind...