The big players in social networking are setting a plodding pace of innovation. New startups, keen to offer useful and exciting new means of communication, have migrated wholesale to platform-based approaches. Constrained by what it means to be boxed into 140 characters or Facebook’s vision of a lifestream, we’re left without a compelling view of what "social" means on the web. It’s time to take back our identities, and with it the web. We’ll discuss examples of how the web is more Awesome when people are a part of it (and not just a layer on top of a few companies’ databases). We’ll talk about what kinds of approaches make sense in this new world (and which don’t), and discuss some successes (and failures) that have happened along the way. Parts of this discussion will be technical; you can’t build the web without some HTML, and we can’t build a social web without getting our hands dirty. However, tech is boring. You can always look up how to do something - knowing why you want to do something is the hard part. We’re going to look beyond the modern gold rush, and talk about ideas that have lasting value for content providers, producers, and consumers, and why you should care.