who is this?
In late 2014 I was getting more concerned for my privacy both online and on my smartphone. I felt stifled, because I knew social media sites were analyzing my status updates and search engines were cataloging my searches. So I wanted to create an antidote for that feeling, and came up with Write.as.
When I left school and entered the working world several years ago, I started to care less about becoming a millionaire and think more about problems in our world — especially when it comes to technology. I see companies like Facebook exploit our basic desire to communicate, and think there should be better options. I see Apple and Google encourage everyone to fondle glass slabs and think maybe we're losing something, even as we're “more connected.”
I'm old enough to remember dialing up over AOL, but not old enough to have ever seen the pre-web internet. Sometimes I pine for the “wild west” days of the web where I grew up, when there was Geocities and AngelFire and Xanga, and it was nothing but weird, funky sites everywhere. I've watched the web grow out of that time of distributed creativity and exploration, shrinking into walled gardens where everyone inside is carefully surveilled.
But I don't think all is lost. I think we merely need to remember, codify, and implement our values in software now. I think we need to again see the importance of humanity behind the software we use everyday, which shapes our lives and behaviors. We need ethical standards that make surveillance-based business models obsolete. We need everyday software that enables privacy, security, transparency, freedom, and democracy.
Write.as is, underneath everything, a proof of concept for this ideal software and web service. It makes a profit, but is driven by principles first. It seriously protects your privacy. I own 100% of the company and don't plan to ever sell it (or our users) off. The underlying software is free and open source — it's called WriteFreely — and development is sustainably funded by Write.as and other contributors.
To get there, I'll be building more simple, useful products. They'll share the same ideals, focus, and care for the humans on the other end of the screen (you). Here's what's in development now:
- Snap.as – publish your photos and photo essays. Available to Pro Write.as users today; opening up to the world in 2021.
- Remark.as – have a conversation. An interactive space for Write.as and other products in the suite.
- WriteFreely – start a community. This is the free and open source software behind Write.as that lets you host your own blog, or an entire community.
- HTMLhouse – quickly publish HTML.
Building more directly on Write.as, I'll launch these products too:
The goal is to eventually have a suite of products that all work well together, and form a sustainable business that can last. If you like these ideas, I'd encourage you to sign up for Write.as and subscribe for as little as $6 per month — it's the best way to help us get there.
so what's your blog about?
Oh, yeah. I'll generally write about the problems I'm trying to solve (especially with regard to Write.as), how I solve them, and just general things I write that I end up liking.
can we chat?
Absolutely. Get in touch through the contact page; generally when you're “talking to Write.as” you're talking to me. If you have ideas, questions, or the desire to help out, I'd love to hear from you.
where can I read more?
- Micro Matt. Small, less-polished thoughts that aren't suited for this longer blog.
- Matt's Dev Log. Posts strictly related to WriteFreely development.
I also write everything on these Write.as blogs: