50 Ways to Make the Web a Better Place
Popularity Comes From People
When people want to get popular on the Web they often have the popularity itself as a goal while in reality it’s just a by-product of doing the right thing.
What is the right thing on the Internet? Of course it’s making the Web a better place itself. You can help people a lot online without even meeting them. Also
you can help a lot of people at once without having to write, call or meet everybody individually.
When you take a look at people who are really popular on the Web other than celebrities who are already well known outside of it you’ll notice one thing.
Popular personalities in real life have contributed something of value that was so important that people simply adore them.
Just consider the term popular which in essence stems from the word people itself. So you have to impress many people to become popular.
Focus on Improving the Web
Ideally you forget the popularity contest completely and just focus on improving the Web in order to reach that goal. Improve the Web for its won sake and you will become popular.
While at it you may even discover that you don’t need to become popular anymore or that you are already popular enough but do not want to stop helping people and improving the Web.
In order to help you help other people and make the Web a better place I made a list of actions you can perform to actually improve the Web right now with little effort.
- Share your work under a Creative Commons license
- Reblog, retweet, reshare, repin something you love and point to the original source
- Write a positive review of your favorite restaurant, bar or cafe you visit often
- Express gratitude to someone by sharing their work with proper attribution
- Share good news about major improvements done by others
- Find the real source of a popular image everybody uses without proper credits by using TinEye or Google Search by Image
- Create a Google+ collection showcasing something you admire
- Make a Twitter list of great people you can recommend who specialize in a certain trade
- Create a Pinterest board for your favorite architect, artist, blogger, designer, musician or photographer
- Publish a list of free and open source software for a specific use case on your blog
- Share an inspiring real life story with your readers or followers
- Take a picture of something you love and upload it
- Make a case study or a tutorial displaying how you tackled and solved a problem
- Publish a list of the best resources from a particular field
- Print out your favorite blog post or article and give it to your co-workers, neighbors or family members
- Make a list of your favorite charities and link out to them
- Recommend a follower of yours to other people you know or know you
- Show appreciation to someone you look up to by writing an article about them
- Link out to someone new in your niche, industry or subculture who is just starting out
- Say “thank you” to someone who linked to a great site you didn’t know before
- Help a non-profit to optimize a blog or site for free
- Notify a webmaster or blogger of a broken link
- Add a useful resource in the comment section of a good blog post
- Support a project on Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, IndieGoGo or other crowdfunding sites
- Help a reporter out to get valuable insights into your trade
- Criticize a monopolistic corporation that attempts to dismantle the Web as we know it
- Express your distaste with articles that are openly attacking people or trades
- Report shady sites on Web of Trust in order to warn others
- Like a righteous comment up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or your favorite community
- Amplify a dissident voice that does not agree with the mainstream opinion
- Write a friendly and thoughtful comment on someone’s site (I don’t mean “thank you great post” bot-like comments)
- Send your favorite site an email explaining why you like them
- Send a letter via snail mail to express your fondness with a webmaster
- Take and image of yourself smiling and dedicate it to someone on the Web
- Cite someone not very well known yet as if s/he was a famous philosopher
- Make your font size bigger and easier to read
- Ensure there is enough white space on your site
- Add an easy to use feedback functionality to your website or blog
- Design for the other 90% too not just gadgets for rich kids
- Make your site accessible for blind people
- Create an IFTTT applet and share it for everybody else to use
- Create a WordPress plugin an offer it for free download
- Create a Firefox add on and let people get it for free
- Program a piece of standalone open source software to give it away
- Notify a hacked site and offer free support to clean it up
- Write a piece of satire about some all too powerful entity
- Draw a comic about something from your daily life that other can relate to
- Ridicule yourself a bit publicly – nobody is perfect – not even I am!
- Photograph your cat, dog or hamster while looking stupid and share it with the Web
- Take a misogynist, racist or otherwise offending joke and retell it without the offending part
Celebrity vs Financial Stability
You may not become a celebrity over night doing these things but I assure you that people will notice and remember you.
Not all people will do it but some will. Enough people will know who you are and what you’ve done.
You just need the proverbial 1000 true fans on the Web anyway to thrive as a creative person nowadays. Sheer popularity is way overrated.
You can achieve financial stability by inspiring hundreds, dozens or sometimes even just a few people depending on what you have to offer.
Popularity or fame do not equal financial success either. Many of the Instagram influencers who have millions of followers still struggle to get by.
What a terrific post. I wrote an article on this many years ago, but this one is better. I wish more people realized just how wonderful the Web is, and realized how lucky we are to have it in our lives. But, like with anything, human nature can improve it or make it worse. So a post like this serves as a terrific reminder that we are all responsible for the Web and for making it better. Thanks.
Thank you Jason for the kind feedback. Indeed I remember the days before the Web vividly. Thus I can cherish it even more.
It’s about 15 years ago that I “joined” it and I’m still astounded.
Great post, thank you.
I was nodding my head to quite a few of your suggestions, not just in agreement, but acknowledgment I have done those. My blog is a mixture of topics, but my most popular post is a personal story I share about foiling a scam artist who was using the GChat number.
I’m going to try a few of these, they are really good ideas. Thanks again.
What a beautiful article, loved this. Web has always been my best friend, my teacher. I depend so much on it to learn so many different things. I take so much from it everyday but I will be more than happy to give something back to the web and the people by adding some values to the community.
Being a trainer and entrepreneur, I always try to help people who need it and also teach them about how they can make use of web and internet to gain more help in terms of knowledge, inspiration and prospects.
Will definitely try more from this list. Thanks for sharing.
I found your blog just awesome. Web is like my companion from childhood. I learned lot of things from web. If any kind of problem or query occurs I always took the help of web. The Web is not only a space of information, it is a tool to connect people with shared interests. The power of the Web is to enable anybody to share information. I think till now I don’t know the half of the belongings of the web, so can you please let me know more about web from your new blog. Once again thank you so much.
Than you for the kind feedback Debina!
Great to hear how enthusiastic you are about the Web.
Make sure to also read “The Web Blooms Again”:
Thank you so much for the URL..