Note — May 16, 2021

Why Generation X Will Save the Web

Politicians don’t write laws and budgets themselves, they depend on young tech policy professionals, the ones working right now are Millenials. They are proposing policies based on the current shitstorm prone internet, not the open one that was. GenX can save us all by integrating that vision in policy. If that’s true, what the heck were GenX doing when they (“we”) were the young policy pros?? Fun read nonetheless, for the great GenX perspective / description, and some things to ponder.

Insert any number of Buzzfeed listicles here about what it’s like to be a GenXer in tech: we learned on floppies and dialup; we coded out of print magazines; we sowed our teenage wild oats on the parental tether of nothing more than a coin in a pay phone; we lived entire years of our student lives without a single photograph being taken of us; we navigated 9/11 on dumb cell phones which had antennas; we now live datafied existences, raising datafied children attending datafied virtual schools, in a world where everything we were raised to believe would sort us for life turned out to be boomer bullshit. […]

Today’s young tech policy professionals are are, quite rightfully, responding to the only internet in the only world they have ever known. The awful one. The one where the internet was and is a handful of billion-pound companies. The one where the internet has only ever been petrol on a fire. The one where the internet has been essential infrastructure like water and heat, not a thing you had to request and master. The closed internet made for them. Not the open internet I got to make. […]

[M]aybe, just maybe, the best things standing in the way of their spite and their avarice and their political aspirations are the Gen X fortysomethings who saw something better about the open web, and comprehended what was on their screens in a way that nothing has ever touched them since, and still believe in what the open web can be.