Timely not real-time. Rhythm not random. Moderation not excess. Knowledge not information. These are a few of the many characteristics of the Slow Web. It’s not so much a checklist as a feeling, one of being at greater ease with the web-enabled products and services in our lives.
The Slow Web Movement is a lot like the Slow Food Movement, in that they’re both blanket terms that mean a lot of different things. Slow Food began in part as a reaction to the opening of a McDonald’s in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, so from its very origin, it was defined by what it’s not. It’s not Fast Food, and we all know what Fast Food is… right?
Yet, if you ask a bunch of people to describe to you the qualities of Fast Food, you’re likely to get a bunch of different answers: it’s made from low-grade ingredients, it’s high in sugar, salt and fat, it’s sold by multinational corporations, it’s devoured quickly and in overlarge portions, it’s McDonaldsTacoBellSubway, even though Subway’s spent a lot of money marketing fresh bread and ingredients but it’s still Fast Food albeit “healthy” Fast Food.
Fast Food has an “I’ll know it when I see it” quality, and it has this quality because it’s describing something greater than all of its individual traits. Fast Food, and consequently, Slow Food, describe a feeling that we get from food.
Slow Web works the same way. Slow Web describes a feeling we get when we consume certain web-enabled things, be it products or content. It is the sum of its parts, but let’s start by describing what it’s not: the Fast Web.