Online Content Producers Timeline

D’Arcy Norman:

I’ve been thinking about the Posterous shutdown, and about previous large-hosted-service shutdowns, going all the way back go Geocities. I think I’ve been so deep in the host-your-own-stuff world that I haven’t been seeing the larger context. Just because I host my stuff, and just because most of the people I know host some (or most) of their stuff, doesn’t mean that the rest of the online population does the same thing. But, how far out of whack are my feelings about the commonality of people managing their own stuff?

I’m not surprised that more people don’t host their own stuff, to their eventual disappointment. Tumblr is down frequently enough that it’s a liability to host anything but the most perfunctory information there. Due to their funding structure, Facebook and Blogger (owned by Google) have inherent privacy issues. It would be nearly impossible to build a decentralized version of Flickr, for instance, or Twitter, and experiments to that end have failed.

Part of the problem is the technical tedium of setting up a server, a domain name, software, and a database. People don’t want to set things up — they just want to go. Zero configuration is what’s required to gain traction in managing their own content. Even then, it’s unlikely that people will want to. No matter how much we bitch and moan about the demise of hosted services, we’ll keep using them.