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”.