Submissions/We spent our youth killing time waiting for the web to show up

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 1118
Title of the submission
We spent our youth killing time waiting for the web to show up
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
E-mail address
Country of origin
Italy + UK

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In the spring of 2014 I found myself accidentally owning a rather unassuming mobile device for which I had accidentally written an app months before devices of its kind were available to purchase at all.

One of the first Firefox OS smartphones to be available, my newest development device quickly turned out to be much more than I had hoped: although somewhat minimalistic as an early release of a new mobile OS, it basically allows me to carry a specialised Web engine in my pocket all the time; Mozilla's recent talks of a 25$ Firefox OS phone could mean (leaving aside obvious questions about labour conditions under which such a phone would be made) that 'The Web' could finally show up[1] almost everywhere.

And there would be an opportunity for us all to work hard so that this could now be a human web, not just a series of tubes helping ads masquerade as cute videos: rather, bringing humanity's knowledge, stories, feelings and ideas together by making it so much easier for anyone armed with curiosity and enthusiasm to learn, share and contribute to a greater Web.

In this talk I will outline some traits of what a Web-centric cheap phone could mean in terms of reverting mainstream assumptions and empowering users to access and edit humanity's knowledge:

  • bringing knowledge from the field to the web, helping others in other places and with similar issues to learn from each other
  • putting individuals back in charge of their own data and information, rather than handing it over to shady private and public organisations
  • harnessing kids' enthusiasm and desire to learn, making it easy for them to work on real-life projects with small contributions, yet feeling part of a much larger project and community

Challenges to a free, open web are real and strong, and no technical solution alone is enough to turn the tide, but the more we practice the web as a primarily human environment, the stronger the human web can get.

The web has finally shown up, and it's finally really here for us to use. Let's just do it.

  • WikiCulture & Community
  • Education Outreach

Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Not sure yet
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests
  1. Many thanks to Jeremy Keith for the brilliant quote used as title of this proposal.

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  1. Quiddity (talk) 22:47, 12 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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