I've been consuming a lot of content in the background related to the demise of the "old web." Some of the content I'm coming across reasons in a way that makes sense to me while some of the analysis just doesn't hit the mark.
I'm going to begin presenting some of this compiled content, but before I do, I want to simplify the reasons as I see them. Any commentary I add to my finds will be judged in quality with respect to these.
Here they are:
The Original Web Depended on Desktop Computers
The primary consumption instrument for the web, among pedestrian users, changed. People stopped using personal computers to interface the web and relied on their smartphones instead. Since the "profit web" demands active foot (click) traffic, so went development. The "desktop" web became a secondary presentation and was often left miserable looking in efforts to maintain "responsive design" principles. Any component of a website that aligned with the spirit of curiosity-driven click navigation was presumed "bad design".
Social Media Platforms
Concurrently, social media platforms emerged, eliminating the technical friction involved with online expression. A post that took a click to make was easier than one that took a website to erect and maintain. Social media platforms also offered instant referable engagement to a critical mass audience, even for low quality expressions. Websites, even in the pre social media era, were shots in the dark for engagement. To illustrate, consider that a book sits idle on a library shelf for decades -- its author never knows who reads it. Meanwhile, a writer can dump a bucket of pamphlets from a high window and watch people take (or not take) them for reading. For the publishing masses, the latter is far more gratifying.
Google Monetized the Discovery Process
Major search engines slowly influenced the complete cycle from publishing to consumption by giving discoverability bias to for-profit enterprise publishers. A poor writer's cure for cancer was made to compete against a rich man's snake oil when it came to connecting consumers with information. Money now controls the ease by which information makes it to the searcher. Smaller publishing efforts established over and around the profit drive are less compelled, if capable even, to participate.
Late Stage Capitalism
Our corporatocracy forever struggles to refine the human spirit of curiosity and intellectual culture. It needs to draw out the component of human intellectualism and mentality that keeps business and commerce the defining ruling force in all matters, and, it needs to keep people consuming and "dumb." Keeping people from using the same conduits they might use to marvel over and multiply the franchise of the Kardashians, to also connect with alternate economic or human and social development theories, fuels a deep bias towards all digital enterprise philosophies that perfect this refinement. Targeting conduits of wildcard exposure and discoverability that an open web encourages means that big tech companies that can "read the will of its rulers" limit the full power of their own offerings, effectively doing so. As a result they are rewarded by being allowed to stay large and in control. By relatable contrast, in more open totalitarian states like China, certain behaviors tied to loss of population control are simply countered by forms of direct oppression. What all of this means is that displacing the uncontrolled wild west web with a big tech one is an imperative matter of order.
By Dave for Personal Blog.