It’s not something “out there” that you Google. It’s not a passive repository of information that you access when you want to know something. It’s the product of the collective effort of many (formerly) unrelated agents acting sometimes in unison and other times in completely separate spaces.
What we create counts. What we link to, retweet, comment on, email to friends, imitate, down vote, dismiss, blur over, buy, reject, and critique counts.
Sometimes our actions count in small ways, but those small things add up. For instance, up to a certain point, each comment on a post increases the chance that someone else will comment. At the same time, past that point, each comment makes it less likely that someone else will comment.
At other times, those actions have much larger effects, say of starting a new meme or introducing the broader world to an idea that’s been fringe, local, or relatively unheard of. If you’ve got an idea, you now have a place to share it. That wasn’t true 20 years ago.
Are we building the web we want to see, though? Does what you create embody the ethos you live by and cultivate the culture you want to be a part of? Are you sharing and supporting the work of others that you find relevant, useful, and interesting?
What we put here isn’t just about you or me – it’s about this thing that we’re building. It’s about the way this web affects how we live our lives online and off.
This web can create a latter to climb upon, a net of supportive people to catch us when we fall, a blanket to keep us warm, or an entangling mess that smothers the life out of us. What are you building?
p.s. Like anything we build, there will be flaws in the web we create. Better to put out the best you can rather than trying to operate as if you can get it perfect the first time. Be mindful, but have fun, too.