Bring Back Web Rings

It’s hard to waste time on the internet if you aren’t on the social platforms.

Not to get all Andy Rooney here, but I miss web rings. It was such a compelling way to dive down a rabbit hole on some random topic. It was always super exciting to seeing those shared navigation bars with the “next” button. You had only the vaguest sense of what you were going to get, and if you weren’t interested, you just clicked onto the next site. They exemplified the promise of the web in those early days, with generous nerds freely sharing their interests with like minded folks, collaborating to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Web rings offered spontaneity and serendipity that has been all but killed by the walled gardens and personalized algorithms of the social platforms, whose engagement-driven algorithms are designed to whip us up into a frenzy of dopamine-addicted rage monsters. Web Rings encouraged exploration and offered an open and adventurous approach to the web. They expanded our horizons in an open and communal way and rewarded curiosity. Wouldn’t it be great if the web could feel like that again?