concerns over internet centralization have been present since before it was released to the public. some of those concerns proved to be hyperbolic, some have been prophetic. AOL was once criticized as a “walled garden”, where its users were stunted in their ability to find and curate useful content. it does seem as though there was a residue of castaways left behind by AOL’s ultimate demise, but largely people just left when it became clear that there were far greener grasses outside the wall.
Facebook is as much a walled garden as AOL ever was. it’s possible for one’s internet experience to be entirely cocooned by Facebook. so what’s the harm of providing an all-encompassing internet experience?
walled gardens are nice if you appreciate the fragile, beautiful plants they allow, but less nice if you are one of those plants. the plants are there at the pleasure of the gardener, some will be called weeds and removed, others encouraged to flourish.
I am not arguing against gardens, but instead suggesting we all become gardeners. let’s collect and curate some of good, true, and beautiful ideas.
the garden is a finite game, being a gardener an infinite game. while value accrues to us individually by pursuing that which we find good, true, and beautiful, the most meaningful outcome is sharing that value with others, exploring which subjectivities we hold in common and building new ones. there’s no universal answer, we still need to interact with the rest of society, but it’s up to us to make sure its on our terms, and serving the right value.