Deja vu on the web. Is it real this time?

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Photo by David Dunkley Gyimah of cem.eltutar@creoqode.com changing how to code and build artefacts.

Just what my first website, a rising-star rapper emoting ‘hi my name is Slim Shady’ a couple of times and an instant cult film determining a cat signified deja vu and imminent danger have in common, could be anyone’s guess.

But history is nothing more than series of patterned deja vus threads if you can think back far enough.

Eminem and the Matrix proclaimed the loosening stranglehold corporatedom had on us. Goggle-eyed like many I gasped seeing how Napster could rip and share a hit record. Mainstream were still feeding us bile in mooted dark hues and tones; same story too, same sounding reportage. Meanwhile, two friends were about to radicalise online search calling their company at first googol. Just as well, a search for Whitehouse.com landed you on an adult website.

Disrupt Inc has arrived. 1999. Party time, announced a prescient Paisley Prince. The build up had been slow. In 1995, I presented the news on London’s first 24 hour cable station about something called the Internet. In the Summer of 1996, I sent my first email on Compuserve. Two years later built my first website.

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Second website built on the left in 1999. In 2005 a new website would win a major award in the US

Nine years later I would be acknowledged at the National Press club in Washington DC as part of an award ceremony for foreseeing the future of the web.

A flourishing web; decentralized, democratic, non-tameable medium had finally, finally kiboshed the hierarchy and we, the people, were feeling peachy. For me, stuck between finding a job and Pissarro’s missive: “Don’t bother looking for something new: you won’t find novelty in the subject matter, but in the way you express it, sensation matter, how you felt mattered.

As a Brit of Ghanaian parentage, someone not prescribed a shoe-in to a sought after media career, stuck between the sciences and Arts, yet mindful of my divisional identity and power in storytelling, I could now produce with no censors.

Hence, my exploits ranged from web design to a journalism movement that saw videojournalism and news making as staunchly meditative processes, whilst dissonantly acting with speed to capturing events redolent of cinema.

And then slowly, piece by piece, it changed. Naively, the very underdogs we welcomed, to use a military analogy, the radical NCOs enacting a coup d’état were now, we realise, acting as cynosures — the very officers they deposed when they were in power. Except they would still convince us they were still the little guy.

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At a London conference last week, a decentralized, democratic, non-tameable medium was put on a grand show. The original web had been re-birthed but this time as blockchain — simply put a protocol of trust (otherwise code) within a system without a CEO.

A new world of intangible currencies; governance and data sourcing.

Its reward is a cryptocurrency leveraging perceived value. Steemit, which I’m just about to post into has gained a head start. There, participants are valued by human perception rather than SEO. Joincivil.com is setting itself as another. Much is being written about Blockchain and whether indeed it truly will be the nirvana we all once revelled in, before the doors were locked.

Whatever happens the signs are you won’t be able to ignore it. Anywhere there appears to be a middle person, a filter, a third party, there is a heightened effort to disrupt and set the system free. Sounds like 1999 again and that history might have a future deja vu awaiting us. What do you think? I guess you know the answer already.

Written by

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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