For the Love of Gemini

After reading through a couple anti-gemini threads on lobsters, I serendipitously stumbled across bentsai's post praising the simplicity of gemini. I wanted to share a few thoughts while they are fresh.

bentsai - Embracing Constraints

Every so often someone posts a very conclusive blog post about the worthlessness of gemini that circulates around places like lobsters. It's always interesting reading these posts and the comments they accumulate. It is surprising that there are people who feel so strongly against gemini--maybe I'm just out of the loop.

What is funny to me, though, is that almost all of these posts are obsessed with the same strawman: some supposed audacity of gemini to attempt replacing the web. It's hilarious that these authors (and commentors) have such poor reading comprehension--the gemini homepage has a nice little list at the beginning that you've probably seen before:

Gemini is a new internet protocol which:

* Is heavier than gopher
* Is lighter than the web
* Will not replace either
* Strives for maximum power to weight ratio
* Takes user privacy very seriously

Anyone who has spent time here or kept an ear to the pavement understands why gemini exists, or, why it is of value. I won't argue the obvious points (accessibility, sustainability, ethics, etc.). What is so refreshing about gemini, for me and apparently many of you here, is that it is human.

Gemini's critics are always quick to assure you that they have, in fact, been on gemini before. Ironically, though, their critical reactions inadvertently testify to this increased humanity geminispace enjoys. This typical reaction boils down to something like this:

I looked around on gemini, and it's just...people. Ugh...

A typical complaint seems to be that gemini is just full of people's personal pages. It makes you wonder from what perspective this would be perceived as a deficit. What the hell is Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? I don't like or use these platforms, but they account for an overwhelming majority of how and where a typical person spends their time online. I think the reaction to gemini as being overly "personal" is really an expression of disappointment in the constraints of gemini; that is, the fact that it is austerely minimal. If you spend most of your time online just scrolling feeds and watching videos on YouTube, then gemini may seem rather underwhelming. If you require everything your browser touches online to look sleek and modern, well, then you may not be thrilled about gemtext. If you think Reddit is "democratic," or if impulsive likes, tweets, and comments are sufficiently "social" for you, then, well, the appeal of gemini may not be apparent.

Of course, there are still great parts of the web. But I think for many people who have made geminispace their primary habitat online, the displacement of the human element on the modern commercial web is more woeful than the absence of in-line links and images on gemini! I personally have always hated how blogging mutated into business/brand management, and how "social media" became the de facto agora of the web.

Gemini is not "the fix" for the web's problems (or for gopher's for that matter). It is just a habitat, really; a way to inhabit a virtual space with other people. What *that* is and means will always be overlooked from the point of view that assumes gemini *must* be all or nothing at all; that it *must* be a challenger to the throne.

Gemini is not supposed to exist--it doesn't need to: we already have protocols and platforms that can do what gemini does. From that perspective, gemini can be nothing more than a pointless and useless waste of time. Yet, it is a thriving ecosystem. And it doesn't need to be anything more than that.

It doesn't need to be anything more than us inhabitants ourselves.