Meeting your Internet neighbors

or how to find a good place to live online

Last spring, Severin Matusek - founder of co-matter, wrote that community is a mental mindset, not tied to a physical location. With the Internet and its multiplicity of forums, groups, platforms, and social networks, geographic coordinates no longer dictate a community's limits. What makes a group of people come together is the sharing of a common purpose.

Although we don't need maps to find new spaces to gather, one question remains. Who controls the communities we built online? On platforms like Instagram or Facebook, we are tenants, subject to their algorithms and regulations' volatility. It's easy to be closer to our Internet neighbors, but above the community's manifesto, we live by the platform's rules.

Internet artist Darius Kazemi proposed a solution: create your own social space. On his guide on how to run a small network site for your friends, he recalls that each community must have no more than 50 to 100 people. Due to his limited experience as a human being on planet Earth, it is impossible to keep the group together and promote meaningful conversations beyond that number. In this infinite universe, that is the Internet; it's the tiny digital neighborhoods - not the metropolises - that keep us together.

💾 Memory Lane

“As a research tool, the internet is invaluable” - Noam Chomsky

In the 90s, Internet citizens - also known as Netizens - created the first online communities on platforms such as Netscape, GeoCities, and MySpace. The websites had an almost unique identity and welcome messages - like a rug on a doorstep. Back then, connecting to the Internet was a motive for celebration. Today, little remains of that legacy.

Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied are part of a growing group of people who are preserving and archiving the beginning of our digital history - not only its chaotic aesthetic, but the idea that going online was a journey, not a destination.

💻 Present Tense

“I don't believe in a chronological way of doing things” - Yoko Ono

Each day, we share more and more textual content on the Internet, but few articles are read from beginning to end. And when that happens, the reading is likely to be quick and focused on keywords. The one to blame is usually the reader, with his lack of attention or interest. Still, several studies suggest that it is more difficult to maintain concentration while reading on screens. Looking for solutions to improve how we consume long-form articles, Readymag published a very dynamic essay about our online reading experience.

🔍 Time will tell

“AI is everywhere. It's not that big, scary thing in the future. AI is here with us” - Fei-Fei Li

At its heart, AI is computer programming that learns and adapts. That's the first digital entry in The A-Z of AI guide, a collaboration between the Oxford Internet Institute and Google, intended to break a complex computer science area down into entry-level explanations that will help anyone get their bearings and understand the basics. If we want to have a say on how the future is built, the best we can do is learn its terminologies and enter the conversation.

And today's question is:

🤔 Where are your digital communities?

Let’s share ideas, recommendations, and thoughts!

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Até já!

Inês 🌿

This is The Internet in a Telegram, a newsletter about mediums, messages, and humans, by me - Inês from Nevoazul Magazine. Twice a month, I'll be sharing content about how we communicate in the information age. I'll be orbiting around the expectations of the past, today's gratifications, and tomorrow's possibilities. The illustration above is from Pedro Codeço.