#reclaimopen Closer to the Heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart

Reclaim Open 2023 was the first in-person conference I have attended since OEGlobal19. The group of brilliant people it drew together was exactly the injection of insight, reflection, and commiseration I have been missing.

I generally lean into hope, resilience, and determination in the face of adversity but have been dismayed for years that I am witnessing the decline of the open web. A large part of that struggle is a sense of guilt that I have played a role in it. Twitter ate my blogging practice years ago and my 5 year affair with Known flamed out in 2021. While my emerging interests in solarpunk had me getting my hands dirty with other technologies over the past few years, I felt my enthusiasm for the web suffering.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s keynote “We Have Never Been Social: Web 2.0 and What Went Wrong” resonated deeply with me. Reflecting on the open web with a group of insightful, creative educators who connect with the optimism of the early open web and also share a sense of loss gave me permission to cut myself some slack. Kathleen’s talk sharply illustrated how we were all sold a bill of goods by the Web 2.0 run at the read/write web. We traded bits of our online identity and autonomy for tokens to the online carnival. Carnivals can be fun – I’ve enjoyed a few – but when the rides and games leave town they leave behind trampled ground and loads of garbage.

Sustainability and cultivation require responsibility and work.

I am encouraged, uplifted, and energized by the few days with the Reclaim Open 2023 choir. As Joe Murphy noted in Discord, I really needed this practice.

I am going to start taking more responsibility and do the work at https://networkeffects.ca. To start, I am re-committing to my blog practice by adopting Tom Woodward‘s practice of Weekly Web Harvests. Tom is a thoughtful educator and gifted technician – I have endless bookmarks drawn from his Weekly Web Harvests.

In addition to all the excellent on-site coordination, the Reclaim folks also committed to sharing sessions via hybrid delivery – those archives are all available at Youtube. I was furiously gathering links and notes during #reclaimopen and will be revisiting those archives to organize my thoughts in the weeks to come.

Atop all this learning and reflection Reclaim Open 2023 brought me together with wonderful friends – many of whom I had not seen in years. Thanks and gratitude to the Reclaim Hosting team for gathering these outstanding folks – I’ll keep working on my night moves to “lose the awkward open web blues”.


9 thoughts on “#reclaimopen Closer to the Heart

  1. Eric Likness says:

    Keep it up Grant! I just added you to my Feedly Reader list.

  2. Luke says:

    It was great hanging and digesting all the amazing ideas that were circulating with you. The carnival analogy here is right on, as is the (necessary) reminder not to be too hard on ourselves as autumn closes in…

    Your company is always inspiring and invigorating, and a reminder that you can’t fake the funk!

    1. gpotter says:


      They say we’re jivin’ game, it can’t be changed
      But on the positive side
      You’re my piece of the rock
      And I love you, Freddy
      Can you dig it?

  3. Taylor Jadin says:

    It was awesome getting to chat with you a bit at the conference!

    I also am going to start doing a Weekly Web Harvest knockoff. I need to keep the blog going more regularly I think.

    1. gpotter says:

      Really great to meet you – have your RSS in my feeds – look forward to seeing your weekly updates. Again, congrats for the outstanding work with Reclaim Open 2023!

  4. Anne-Marie Scott says:

    Late to this blog post cos you’re not in my feedz. Will rectify.

    So good to see you too. Never long enough it seems but hopefully see you in September again.

  5. Alan Levine says:

    I’ve been waiting patiently for the Networkaffects.ca feed to light up in my reader. Keep the flame on!

    So wonderful to see more jamming on the porches- there’ve been so many happy memories of being part of these with you.

  6. Jim Groom says:

    Love that you are turning that dismay into a post or two on the old web. In many ways you personify, at least for me, the generosity and joy that comes from tinkering on the web, so if you blog light remains lit, consider me the moth that can;t stay away from the flame (to butcher cogdog’s sentiment above :).

    It was amazing having you at Reclaim Open, and your time spent on the Rush pinball with pay off in Rock and Roll eternity 🙂

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