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Could Apple create a new model of the social web by combining personal websites with social media features?

Let me start with some obvious caveats: this is not a prediction, I am in no way a developer or knowledgeable on how any of this really works [insert meme of thatsnothowanyofthisworks.gif], and I’m sure some of these are incredibly silly and flawed ideas. And of course, I’m not advocating that this would be a good thing, overall, for users.

It’s just an interesting idea, a bit of a thought experiment. Just for fun.

Let’s say that Apple wants to lean more heavily into charting the future of the web and social media. They could leverage their massive user base and existing services to create a new type of social web by merging personal websites and social media.

This would provide an off-ramp for people who don’t like Meta or Twitter and want an easy alternative to post about their interests and lives, but also don’t want the complexity or the feeling of “screaming into the void” that’s present on the small web. It would reduce user dependence on both Meta and Google, while further entrenching their own users in the Apple ecosystem.

Here’s what it might be able to do:

Merging websites and social media accounts

Develop a simple, easy-to-use static site generator (or other web design app) that works on both MacOS and iOS, syncing changes between the two.

There are templates to use and you can do some tinkering, but you don’t need to know about web design. It’s just enough of a creative canvass that personalities can shine through without being overly complicated. You can use any combination of pages and posts.

But it’s decidedly a vehicle for personal expression, not sharing other stuff you’ve come across. It’s about posting updates to your own website, not re-sharing content created by others.

It’s your own writings, your daily photo blog, your ode to that one weird anime character, your travel journal, your update on the big backyard renovation you’re doing, your collection of race medals and PRs, your latest watercolor.

The generated files live in a special corner of your iCloud account, which means you can quickly and easily update your website from anywhere you’re online. Apple shortcuts and Siri make this especially easy.

And because it’s already connected to your iCloud Photos, it’s incredibly simple to add photos and video to your site. As easy as uploading to Instagram, for instance.

And because these files live on iCloud, you can even control who can access each facet of your site via permissions (based on iCloud logins). Beyond fine-grained permissions, as you might extend for specific iCloud docs and photos, you can set a few broader groupings (primary/close friends, secondary/friends, tertiary/acquaintances, even public). You control who sees what, even down to which photos you can see within which galleries.

Users can easily add weather, location, temperature, elevation, workout details…any of the other meta data that Apple already collects that someone might want to append to their post. Posts can be automatically saved to your journal.

Perhaps there’s even a simple categorizing system that can delineate between the “importance” of posts, whether it’s a major life event, special moment, or just a common daily update. A tagging system helps further sort updates and new posts.

There’s a feed app that lets you receive updates from all of the sites you follow, with a personalized filter/algorithm you can customize. Want to always see your closest friends’ posts first? Sure, that’s easy. Want to see all posts tagged as a “major life event?” Sure, you can do that. Want to know which friends posted a picture of their cat today? Have at it. Who just added a new page to their site? Here’s the list.

Maybe it even repackages your feed into audio and serves you a personalized podcast of your friends’ recent writings. Or a personalized video channel of their recent pics and videos. Want to read a long piece, but not right now? Add it to the read/watch later tab on the app.

There are additional discovery options for public sites, especially around specific topics and interests: a video game, a fandom, a hobby, and so forth. But searches only return these personal sites, not what Google would give you.

Apple’s Facebook + WordPress?

In the end, this sounds a lot like what Facebook could have been had it not stuffed itself full of everything else under the sun and provided only a text box you could update.

Or maybe this is more like a more user-friendly version of WordPress, back when it was focused on personal blogging and not powering every possible site on the web?

To me, it feels like a combination of the two. It borrows the “here are my friends and what they’re doing” part of (old) Facebook and combines it with “here’s the stuff I like and things I have created” from the earlier web/blogging.

It’s not about arguing the news, or sharing the latest viral videos—it’s about creative personal expression and staying connected, something that Apple and its existing tools can really lean into.

Either way, I suspect that there would be room for something that connects people together like this online. Especially as folks tire of social media enshittification and move back towards direct communication like iMessage. And yes, even if it further entrenches users in Apple’s own proprietary ecosystem.

And Apple already has lots of pieces in place they could leverage.


The above vision is focused more on keeping track of people you already generally know, with an ability to connect with other people who share your interests.

But of course, there’s another vision for this could be focused more on growing your personal brand (🤢). That could easily leverage other Apple assets, such as integrating with ApplePay for micropayments and subscriptions, using iCloud email for newsletters, in-app notifications, and probably countless other things.

Anyway, what do you think?

I think it’s an interesting thought experiment. There are obviously a number of other facets and features you could employ, or not. But it seems (to me at least) to be a new model of the social web.

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