Future Building The Internet

Tools for a Post-Capitalist World

I was thinking earlier, what is a missing tool for helping our society get past our current form of capitalism, to a more connected, less corporate, more local, more human-focused, more sustainable future.

Kickstarter and Patreon and Medium and Substack are all key tools for empowering independent creators to create without corporate sponsorship. Twitch does too. In contrast, YouTube “empowers” creators but is very tied to an advertising platform, and Kindle Unlimited locks creators into Amazon’s system.

Places I see potential opportunity:

  • Curation by non-biased sources
  • Trustworthy connection
  • Ways to follow creators and organizations¬† that you want to
  • Discovering new interesting voices and connecting with new people
  • Sharing what we make without giving up control to someone else’s platform
  • Building stronger local bonds and communities

On top of wanting to break free of capitalism, I also am interested in supporting the Indie Web.

There must be a way to make some of these pieces come together.

I’m kinda thinking a like mega-RSS aggregator that’s person/profile based. So a creative could choose any site with an RSS feed or API output to add to their feed. Then they wouldn’t have to have yet another site to update – they can update wherever they see fit, whether their own blog or Instagram or Medium. Then fans could follow creators’ collated feeds to hear all of their updates. I’d love this because it seems like often creators will primarily post on a platform I don’t like or I’ll miss an update to the algorithm and miss out on a sale or something. You could also add a “featured” feed for heavy posters so you could just subscribe to their top updates (creators would get a limited number to flag each day).

I’m also thinking how you could make a site or tool like this that isn’t evil. I’m thinking a cooperative model, maybe by invitation to prevent bad actors, to share profits and build investment from members. I think Medium and Kindle Unlimited do this somewhat for payments but it’s totally opaque and doesn’t really confer ownership.

Something I think could be interesting is pulling in the visualization web of connections so you can filter by just your first level connections, secondary and tertiary connections, but also so you can more easily find new people you might be interested in following.

I could also envision a geographic aspect to help make it easier to meet people near us, kind of how Facebook originally let you see which college people attended, and find local organizations. Somehow make local activism an embedded core element even if that’s as basic as supporting your local businesses or a favorite charity or even planting trees like that one search engine. I also feel like the geo element could help simulate a public space where you can meet “anyone” except the pool is limited to people near you. Maybe some opt-in Scuttlebutt inspired discover ability feature where at certain public spaces (opt-in like Pokemon Go sites) or events you could see the profiles of others attending (maybe with an interest overlap threshold to help you find people with similar interests, or even a connection-based match so you can meet friends of friends for a safer way to meet new folks who you’re likely to like).

Or maybe a way to opt into shared communities to pool money to crowd fundraise or even just share the money, adding a gamification and identity aspect.

Maybe this has all been tried already, but maybe I can find a new thread in here…

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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