The internet is broken. MegaCorps listen in on all your conversations.
This is a detail I was dimly aware of, but didn't really understand until recently.
My Dad is on Facebook. All the time. He pretty much only uses Facebook Messenger to chat, and here's how it works.
He wants to send me a message about his next woodworking project, but it doesn't go straight to me and only to me. The message he "sends me" is actually saved to one of Facebook's servers. Then Facebook allows my profile to access that information that my Dad shared with me. He never sends me anything directly.
This is a small, but vital, detail.
He and I never have truly 1 on 1 conversations. Everything we say to each other goes through Facebook first.
That's fucking creepy.
Every conversation I have with my family? Facebook has it. Everything I've said to my girlfriend, whether angry or happy? Facebook is there.
Think about every single conversation (no matter how mundane or intimate) that you had on Messenger. It's never just you.
It's like always having an employee of Facebook in the room with you.
And that's not even to mention if that person working at Facebook doesn't like what you're saying, then you're barred from accessing all the information you've created on their service and stored on their servers.
Your account is shut down and you're sent down a memory hole to disappear as though you never existed.
"LOL got sent to Facebook jail, but now I'm back!"
What an absolute fucked up thing to get used to.
So what do you do if you're like me? What if you're tired of having the connections and conversations of your life systematically catalogued, mined for data, and turned into a product to be sold to the highest bidder but you still want to be able to communicate with people online?
The real answer? Have your own server.
In order to have a different experience on the 'net, you need a different internet. To have a different internet, you need a new kind of server. In order to have a new server, you need a new kind of computer. In order to have a new kind of computer you need a new computer language. In order to have a new computer language you need a new computer logic.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.Henry David Thoreau
Most companies and projects who are trying to solve problems with the internet and connecting with others are usually only addressing surface level issues. Their approaches don't go deep enough.
It's incredibly difficult to reinvent the internet, so why do it in the first place? It's worth it.
Urbit is a project dedicated to helping normal people like me own their own servers and connect with people I want to connect with, without having a 3rd party involved.
There's a lot about the project that I love, and I'll be diving into more of it over time on here, but for now I want to highlight the fact that Urbit is dedicated to making it as easy as possible for normal folks to own our own server (and thereby information & ideas), keep it safe from hackers, and be able to trust that you're really having 1 to 1 conversations online while still maintaining the ability to grow a community and share your world with others.
If you're a non-technical person it might be a little challenging to get into it at first, but that learning curve is getting less difficult all the time.
I'll be writing some "how to get started" articles for non tech-savvy people (like me) in the future, but for now I wanted to give you a brief overview of what problems Urbit is solving, and help you appreciate just how important the project is.
If you're already on urbit, then come find me at ~minder-folden. Invite me to a DM and we can chat there!
If you aren't already on urbit, you'll find some hints on this site of the kinds of things I share on ~minder-folden. It's a combination of long form articles, how to's for public speaking & influence, and visual work of various subjects.
This website functions as the outer welcome lobby for people who are ready to leave the old world of MegaCorps and enter the exciting expanse of being your own person online again.
Welcome, you're ready.