What the Web Is Made of {#Opinion}

I usually review apps here, or show you a tip, trick, or hack. To be honest, that’s been bothering me a bit. There’s a certain magic to finding a beautiful, simple app, true.

But the web is so much more than apps. It’s a framework for people to build amazing things. It’s a medium for expression- the most powerful the world has ever seen.

Sssimpli’s tagline is “a conscious approach to geekery.” That said, a couple of things have come up recently which reminded me, not only of the power of the web, but of the underlying philosophy that so many of those who create for the web hold dear. One is simple — an idea in its purest form — and the other, at least in its underlying technology, is quite complex. Both exemplify what the web is capable of.

The fine folks at Fictive Kin have proposed an idea. The idea rests on the concept of purpose: what moves us, what gets us out of bed in the morning. Thus slashpurpose was born.

The concept is simple. If you have a website, you add a /purpose page (so, for Sssimpli, you could, and soon will, find a purpose page at www.sssimpli.com/purpose).

That’s it. It’s a small, simple, powerful idea. After all, we’re more than our work, more than our updates, more than our tweets. It reminds me of my aversion to small talk. When I meet someone, I’m not interested in the weather, or even what the kids have been up to. I’d prefer to get to what matters.

What drives you?

What’s your dream?

What makes you smile?

The /purpose page, I hope, is an idea that will spread. If it does, it will be the first page I visit when I come to a new site, or an old one, for that matter.

The next example of the power of the web carries a bit more weight. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy, a simple spreadsheet was created on Google Docs. It’s a simple form which allowed Bostonians to offer their homes to those in need of a place to stay for the night. Within a few hours, over 1,200 people had opened their doors. All anyone had to do was pull the smartphone out of their pocket, check the spreadsheet, and contact the homeowners.

Think about how remarkable that is. Imagine being in the midst of this horrific event, your mind reeling, and from a simple spreadsheet comes the promise of a warm bed, helping hands, and a little normalcy for a night.

A one-page idea and a simple spreadsheet. Two very different ideas which epitomize what the web, and those who power it, are capable of.

This isn’t just a place for cat videos, pictures of dinner, and streaming music. This is a place of humanity, of potential, of dreams.

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