Hossein Derakhshan, blogger iraniano, venne condannato nel 2008 a vent’anni di carcere per colpa della sua attività di blogger. Quando sette mesi fa è stato rilasciato in anticipo, si è all’improvviso ritrovato di fronte ad un web totalmente diverso da quello che ricordava e per il quale fu disposto ad andare in carcere — basato su social network, e sempre più centralizzato:

The hyperlink was my currency six years ago. Stemming from the idea of the hypertext, the hyperlink provided a diversity and decentralisation that the real world lacked. The hyperlink represented the open, interconnected spirit of the world wide web — a vision that started with its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. The hyperlink was a way to abandon centralization — all the links, lines and hierarchies — and replace them with something more distributed, a system of nodes and networks.

Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. Blogs were cafes where people exchanged diverse ideas on any and every topic you could possibly be interested in. They were Tehran’s taxicabs writ large.

Since I got out of jail, though, I’ve realized how much the hyperlink has been devalued, almost made obsolete.