Maintaining Context

Context is something to be built and protected.

The first half of Nate's thought is self-explanatory. We already put a lot of time into building ways to build context. It comes in many forms on the web – places to host and share your blog posts, videos, status updates, images, and audio files.

But once context is established, another obligation surfaces. How do you protect it? That is the real kicker of Nate's thought – protecting context once created.

Bix (who, to give context, I found Nate's thought through) commented on the matter cogently:

At issue, then, for people remembering the old open web, thinking about the existing social web, or making the new indieweb is building tools and creating sites which allow and encourage users to build and protect context, rather than just produce “content”. Building and protecting takes, perhaps, more care, time, and attention than does merely producing.

He is right. Being a creator has all of the appeal. But what we need now more than ever are maintainers. If we are to further build out these webs of context, then the infrastructure needs to be constantly attended to. Otherwise we build context upon sand.

It reminds me of an Aeon piece from Andrew Russell and Lee Vissel:

As the pursuit of innovation has inspired technologists and capitalists, it has also provoked critics who suspect that the peddlers of innovation radically overvalue innovation. What happens after innovation, they argue, is more important. Maintenance and repair, the building of infrastructures, the mundane labour that goes into sustaining functioning and efficient infrastructures, simply has more impact on people’s daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations.

Here's to the maintainers of context on the web.