On January 1st, from the usual flow of new year wishes in my inbox, a special message stood out:
Hi Aya did you use Html for coding websites ? i'm also coding websites but with Php
Where did you host ur website ? did u host on ur own sever?
It was from one of my cousins. I haven't seen him in 8 years. He was just a toddler when he migrated to France with his parents in 2004 just after the Tsunami. He's becoming a teenager this year. And he wants to make websites.
I created my first web site when I was 14. Back in the day, creating and publishing a personal homepage on Geocities was considered the coolest thing you can do on the internet as a kid. My uncle (his dad) boasts he will soon catch me up. But he lives in an era, you can get 15,000 random people to like you by just saying "hey". He can take a picture of his food, apply a Polaroid filter and publish it on the web in the matter of seconds.
Then why the hell he wants to create his own website?
For long, we debated what could be the Facebook killer. The answer is here. No, it will not be another Silicon Valley startup. It is the post-millennials - the generation my cousin belongs to. They will soon revolt against the wall-gardened social web. They will want to take the web back to its roots.
What can we do, as the veterans from the previous generation, to fuel this revolution? Should they be using a doubled-clawed hammer like PHP?. Should they be forced to stay up all night figuring out how to configure Apache and MySQL for their environment? Should they still be reading tutorials that includes hacks to circumvent the limitations of IE6 (or even know what IE6 is)?
They grew up experiencing vastly better systems. We've spoiled them with tools that are intuitive and fun to use. The web they know is so easy to consume. Can we also make it a fun platform to create? A platform which will help them to innovate better and move faster?
They deserve tools that can widen their creativity, rich resources that can help them to learn better and of course, guidance on how not to repeat the same mistakes we did.
This is where I want spend my energy in 2013.