...the last platform on the web of any scale or influence is Google Search. And so, over time, webpages have become dramatically optimized for Google Search. And that means the kinds of things people write about, the containers that we write in, are mostly designed to be optimized for Google Search. They’re not designed for, “I need to just quickly tell you about this and move on.” Our little insight was, “Well, what if we just don’t do that? What if we only write for the people who come directly to our website instead of the people who find our articles through Search or Google Discover or whatever other Google platforms are in the world?” And so we just made these little blog posts, and the idea was, if you just come to our website one more time a day because there’s one more thing to look at that you’ll like, we will be fine.

more and more people are starting to realize, “Oh, we should just make the websites more valuable.

...if you start writing for other people, which is the heart of what a blog post really is: it’s you trying to entertain yourself and trying to entertain just a handful of other people, you’re going to go really much farther than trying to satisfy the robot.

Why am I writing in the text box that pays money to Elon and Mark [Zuckerberg] and not my text box?

Why do we all work for free? Look, we want to talk about the platform era and media. Why do we all work for free?

...It’s very confusing, and there are a lot of reasons. If you just sit back and think about why, there are a million reasons why.

One, the software is nicer to use than most CMSes. You just pick one. Name a company that makes a CMS. They’re like, “Is this as fun to use as Twitter?” And the answer is no. Flatly no. Even the one we have now for quick posts is not as fun to use as Twitter was in its heyday. Will this immediately bring me the dopamine hit of immediate feedback? No.

[When redesigning the website]...the first instinct was, “Let’s at least make it easier to publish. Let’s at least remove the barriers to entry to getting on the website, and then we can do comments, and then we can think about how we can distribute in different ways.” So that is working. My team is happier. We did not know that the Twitter thing would happen, but the Twitter thing happened, and our desire to publish in the boxes we controlled went up as a group. And then, on top of it, our audience saw that we were having fun. And once you are having fun anywhere on the internet, people sort of gravitate to you. So traffic has gone up.

The distribution actually just creates the work or creates the pressures that force all the work to be the same. And I think over time that’s what drives the audiences away. So there’s a real change in how these platforms work, where, over time, they just become more and more of the same thing and the creators become more and more the same. And that’s a little exhausting. And every place where you see open distribution, you see a huge variety of creators and content.

Podcasts have basically open distribution. Like podcast or distributor RSS feeds, that means people kind of own their distribution, there’s a vast array of podcast creators. There’s a vast array of podcast formats. They don’t all sound like the beginning of YouTube videos or whatever. And I hate to keep picking on YouTube; you can pick any algorithmic platform, and it’s the same. TikTokers are more the same than different. Podcasters are more different than the same. The web is distributed largely through websites and through RSS. There’s a huge variety of websites and the way websites look. But then you see the algorithmic search pressure push web design kind of all under the same box.

Newsletters distributed by email: open distribution. The newsletter economy is full of a huge variety of creators doing a huge variety of things. They’re more different than the same. So all I see with the fediverse is, “Oh, this is going to open social distribution up a little bit.” It’s going to allow us to control our distribution networks. It’s going to say, “I’m not on Twitter, but people on Twitter can follow my website, and I can go promote that follow anywhere I want in different ways and build an audience outside of the pressures of the algorithm.” To me, just that, that ability to try, is 1 percent better.
If you’re me and you run a big website and you are thinking, “How can I redistribute this website, how can I reach people more directly?” my brain is lit up. You should be able to follow me at TheVerge.com and see all my quick posts in your Threads account when Threads federates.

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