“Today’s platforms were inspired by the many that preceded them, but along the way, we started to go astray. How can we make sense of where we are today? What can we understand about the decisions that were made and the structures we had in place? And most importantly, how can the builders of new platforms that also intend to bring the world closer together, give everyone the power to create or organize the world’s information, do it better?”
BKC fellow Jad Esber posed these overarching questions at the start of a Berkman Klein Center event that looked back on online platforms over the past 30 years. Caterina Fake, the founder of Flickr, David Bohnett, the founder of Geocities, and Nancy Baym, Sr. Principal Research Manager, Microsoft Research, joined Esber to reflect on early platforms, the state of newer platforms today, and what they could look like in the future. Their conversation covered topics including subcultures, content moderation, and the evolution of technology.