- Aug 2018
Ten years ago, if I knew someone primarily through online means, you could guarantee they had their own domain name. It was just before the big explosion in social media use which meant that if you wanted a space online, you had to create it. This provided a barrier to entry in terms of the digital literacy skills required to register a domain, set up the necessary software and, of course, design, build and upload a website. The upside was that your digital identity was yours.
Why have we gotten away from this? In short, I think it's because it was easier for big companies with massive resources to do the initial heavy lifting.
If we look at history, Gutenberg created the first printing press and guarded it heavily for years. Eventually others figured out how to do it and printing presses spread like wildfire.Now, with some modest means and some time, almost anyone can publish.
With simple standards and accessible hosting people can now broadly own their own domain name and create their own websites using a variety of content management systems. In a few years, this will be even more ubiquitous. Facebook is going to be just like Gutenberg attempting to hold onto his monopoly, but failing miserably.
The best part, I think, is that the speed of digital technology means that the Facebook edifice is going to crumble faster than Gutenberg's.