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Update

Unpopular Opinion: Short Notification Services are sub-par image gallery services.

The title alone should carry enough weight on its own to deliver the complete thought, but it seems the need to explain this in detail is just there as people keep wandering to Twitter, Instagram, and similar services to post their artwork, photography, and the like.

The problem is that the overall design of services like Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, and so is that they aren’t conducive to logical indexing of one’s work.

If you’re a photographer, and you only take one kind of photo ever, then you’re in the rare niche that an SNS would work for. A new picture of the same wall clock every day would fit.

But people photograph or draw all sorts of stuff! Sure, it might be all dog pics, or pictures taken from a bridge, but the moment you have diversity in your photos and want to sort them out, a SNS fails you as the photographer.

Sure, you can , but this fails you, as unless your hashtags are super unique to you and you alone, you share your audience with anyone else that has used the same tag. Yes, one could filter a little more by doing whatever your platform chooses to designate a user, followed by a hashtag, but that’s silly: It relies on people to think of a descriptor in the same manner as you, and we’re all pretty unique.

When I was less internet aware, we either wrote our own HTML and built an image gallery, or found a script bundle that generated one for us. Whether it was Gallery, ZenPhoto, Chevereto, or any number of PHP, Perl, or Python based scripts, we hosted our own galleries on our own online space, and personally, the internet was better for it. We cared for our own little corner of the interwebs, paid a little for shared hosting, and things were nice.

Yes, this approach introduces its own set of issues: You’re now required to maintain your site. Did the author of your gallery script just heck off into the aether and leave an unpatched issue behind, with no-one able to fix it? Sorry, find a new script or learn the language so that you can submit patches or patch your own site to protect against meatspin injections. Is your webhost hosting you on a mouldy potato and the script keeps dying? Sorry, find a new host.

But as the years progress, we find ourselves with websites-as-a-service setups, with sites brought to you by Squarespace or Wix, or a myriad of other services, replete with Docker or Kubernetes containers needed just to do a thing. And this level of complexity is such that folks just… They give up. They go to whatever is already easiest to just click on a link, type in a username, type in hunter2, and their email address, and call it a day.

I actually kind of miss the days of self-maintained sites, of web rings, of relative independence from information silos built by corporations that enjoy foisting ads upon us. This is why I run my own domains and use things like WordPress and Grav.

I avoid posting big, noisy overt ads on my personal blog, relying solely on the couple of dollars a year that I get from referral revenue that I get from one of the big machines for driving a customer to their doorstep for an item that I actually like enough to tell people that I like. That, and the occasional person that says, “You know what? Let me buy you a coffee.” and does so through my Buy Me a Coffee link (https://buymeacoff.ee/xial).

The quiet web is sorely missed, but maybe we’ll get back to it with how folks are getting fed up with the way the internet “works”.