Bruce Sterling's State of the Word 2019

For more than fifteen years, The WELL has been proud to host writer Bruce Sterling’s annual discussion about where the world is and where it’s going. Join Sterling and other special guests for a freewheeling, fascinating discussion that is open to everyone

For more about why conversation so treasured on The WELL, and why members of the community banded together to buy the site in 2012, check out the story of The WELL.

If you like what you see, join us!

No advertising? Really?

Yes, really. Our conferences are ad-free. The WELL is entirely user-supported, which means we don’t have to serve you ads to make money. It also means that what you talk about on The WELL will stay there–if you post about your new pair of running shoes in the fitness conference, you won’t suddenly see ads for other fitness equipment the next time you visit a different social media site. Plus, our posts aren’t spider-able so they won’t show up in web searches.

Come on, everyone sells data. I’m sure you’re doing it too.

Nope. We collect almost no personal data from our users, and what we do collect, we don’t sell. A wise man once said “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.” On The WELL, the product is the great content that our members create, not the members themselves. We won’t sell you out to some massive aggregator of online data. Here, you don’t just Own Your Own Words, you own your identity, too.

What’s wrong with anonymous posting?

Nothing, I guess, if you’re not interested in building community. Requiring our users to register with their real names means every user knows who every other user is. It cuts down on drive-by posting and helps build real connections between people.

I was looking into the origins of the Global Lives Project when I stumbled upon the Long Now Project, and then the name of the long-familiar Stewart Brand, and then mention of the WELL, which I’ve known about for decades.

I’m feeling adventuresome in my third year of retirement, so I decided to join the WELL at last. I look forward to plumbing its riches!

Joe Meyers

WELL member since 2018