The Internet is ready for a new cultural shift. Discuss.

motivational posters erroneous

[“Erroneous Belief”: the very first cartoon I ever published online, back in 1999. Seems like a couple of lifetimes ago etc.]

1. One of the early inventors of blogging, my old friend Dave Winer is trying to reclaim that thing that blogging was first designed for. Blogging needs our help, he tells us.

The mission of blogging is to empower all of us to go directly to each other with our expertise. So if you know something as well as anyone else, or you learn something or know something that should be shared, then you should share it on your blog.

Like a lot of the early adaptors, I discovered blogging during a long, post-Dotcom/9-11 period of unemployment and general career nosediving.

It seemed back then to a lot of us, that the world had changed forever.

Even though history would prove us right eventually, we had no way of knowing this. All we knew was that the rules had changed somehow, and that we desperatelly wanted to know how this new Internet-enabled world of ours was going to work.

So we all started blogging to share information and to share ourselves, trying to make sense of it all. Real visionairies and trail blazers like Joi Ito or Loic Le Meur or Nick Denton were all part of the conversation; it was a really interesting, exciting time to be alive. Not only did it feel really personal, it felt really empowering. We really felt like we were on the cusp of something huge.

This cultural shift eventually adapted the popular moniker, “Web 2.0″. It basically meant personal websites, designed to enable converation and the sharing of information and ideas between fellow amateurs. As opposed to “Web 1.0″, which  implied commerical sites, more interested in selling stuff or broadcasting their “content”, their corporate agenda, than any meaningful contact between real individuals.

Eventually all this became what’s now known as “Social Media”. And like all things online, it degraded as the mainstream caught up with it eventually, with Facebook, Twitter et al moving in and taking over. Goodbye, Cluetrain. Hello, Cat Photos.

2. It seems we’re all getting sick of the noise.

We’re sick of checking our email forty seven times a day. We’re sick of of all the endless crap we see online, the never-ending content blizzard. We’re sick of spending most of our free time staring into our phones. Our lives are being devoured by all these billions of carnivorous Web 2.0 pixels, and we’ve grown weary of it.

3. Blogging came about because a decade ago, the Internet was ready for a new cultural shift. I think it’s ready for another one.

As this Internet-malaise that Dave is fighting against reaches critical mass, I predict we’re going to see a backlash, a rebellion, similar to what blogging was originally, back in the day.

A shift.  A movement. A reaction against the mainsteam Internet, against the noise.

A new quiet, as it were.

This movement doesn’t appear to have a name yet. For now, I’ll give it the hashtag, #TheNewQuiet and see what happens, whatever, the name really doesn’t matter. Not yet.

5. Kudos to Dave for taking a stand. I wish more people would do the same.

[Bonus: “Motivational Art For Smart People.” Daily cartoon newsletter.]