It's been almost 5 years since I wrote Slow is not a Dirty Word. Reflecting on the sentiment in that article, that the best things in life take time and we needn't rush as society tries to force us, didn't quite go far enough. The concept of Slow should also be applied to the web.
The Slow Web
What is the slow web? At it's core it's the idea that we shouldn't fill our mind with junk and we should connect with those around us. Social media is fast food for the mind. Consuming it feels in the moment, but when you look back you're not left with anything memorable. Moreover, because of the lack of nuance afforded by platforms, such as Twitter, it encourages behavior based on dopamine and adrenaline impulses.
- The slow web is formulating your thoughts and expressing them fully.
- The slow web is about owning what you produce.
- The slow web is open.
- The slow web is yours.
The Slow Web in Practice
For most people the slow web is best manifested as a blog. This could be a simple Wordpress blog, a micro.blog, a bunch of static files on a server somewhere, anything that works for you. The important part is that you have control of your content. That you can control how and when it appears.
So much of sharing on the web these days is based on these social media platforms. So how do you get the word out about your new latest pieces in the slow web?
- Writing unique content that matters to you and like-minded people will find it via search
- RSS Feeds (standard in most all blogging systems)
- POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere
Ignore the Numbers
Knowing the number of visits to your website or article only serves to feed disappointment when one article doesn't match your expectations. Avoiding that sense of failure will inevitability lead to a habit of not writing and only consuming.
The common methods of tracking visits can not only break your site, it also invites an invasion of privacy for your readers. Are there more privacy-minded ways to collect visitor statistics? Yes. Do you even need to collect the information in the first place? Probably not.
Don't Over Engineer
As technologies it's often easy to get caught up in nuts and bolts. We're want to build our websites to handle all the traffic the world can throw at it, so we setup database servers, build servers, deploy servers, proxy servers, and CDN caches. And for what? A trickle of traffic? All of this could be easily served off a single server, reducing operational complexity and reducing the places where things can break when you really just want to publish a blog.
Making the Jump
Making the jump to the slow web doesn't mean you cannot participate in the social networks, you're just changing the terms of engagement. Instead of being the default place to collect your thoughts and ideas, it simply becomes another channel to link back to your site.
Because you no longer tweet every clever thought you have into the void, you're able to slow down your mind, formulate your thoughts, and take back control.