While I help businesses and nonprofits utilize every tool at their disposal to help connect with customers – and these days that frequently means content/web/social media – I find myself at an interesting crossroads personally.
From the business side, I see the power and value that companies like Facebook provide. The ability to target, market, and sell to narrow or wide groups of people is simply breathtaking. Without a doubt, it’s a great time to communicate and connect as a brand.
From the personal side, however, I am increasingly disturbed by my own lack of ownership of my content. Keeping in mind that I am not a programmer and thus don’t have a lot of comfort writing applications that utilize APIs – if I take a photo on Instagram, for instance, can I ever get it back? What about Facebook, Google, [insert your favorite web service here]. In most cases the answer is “its complicated” and in some cases the answer is “not so much.”
This concerns me, and I’m certainly not alone. The programmer and writer Dave Winer has been a consistent voice in today’s distributed internet calling for a higher level of personal and corporate responsibility. On the corporate side, it means (among many things) simple transparency and data portability.
On the personal side, however, it means that we need to start understanding that just because something is convenient doesn’t mean its in our long-term interest. When we place our content in the hands of algorithms and ad targeting scripts, we lose a bit of control. Hell, we lose a lot of control. And with that loss, comes quite a bit of financial gain for those using this “siloed” data.
So with that in mind, I’ve decided to begin hosting everything myself.
Will you be able to tell?
Lucky for you, I’m really busy – so I won’t be flooding the feed. Yet :^)