A conversation with Ben Werdmüller

I watched a video today for our eLearning 3.0 class – an interview between Stephen Downes (course facilitator) and Ben Werdmüller, cofounder of ELGG and Known.

This was an interesting conversation for myself because I am very interested in the Indie Web and wrestling what we can of the internet away from the corporations. In the spirit of this, I went with Reclaim Hosting (Hippie Hosting back in the day) to host my website, geoffcain.com, and I am also using WordPress. I would like to build out something here to help my family migrate into a post-Facebook world and get control back of their data. And by data, I mean their identities, stories, photos, etc. past, present, and future. I loved a few of the reasons Ben gave for the creation of the distributed web:

  • Ownership
  • Control
  • Audience
  • Career

These are all the reasons I am in this space. I want to own my data and identity, control my own data and internet space, develop my audience based on something besides ad revenue, and promote my professional life. I would also add how important privacy is now. I think it is obvious to everyone now that Zuckerberg and company are not our friends.

I find it hysterical when people freak out about the “dark web,” distributed web, or IPFS because criminals are using it. I think the internet now is a criminal enterprise with people buying and selling our privacy and our politics.

I like the attention to ethics that seems to be happening in this course. I think it helps that Downes has a background in philosophy. That is one of the biggest problems in tech (and many other sectors in our society) is that over-specialization leaves out ethics and thinking about the long-term consequences (and unintended consequences) of the choices that we make when building internet tools and platforms.

I found this video very inspirational and I am looking forward to learning more about distributed web spaces and how we can use them not only for education but to get my family to create our own social network!


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