Owning My Content - Or Not

I am in 100% agreement with the concept of “Owning Your Content”. I have had my own blog on my own domain for going on twenty years and have no plans to stop. The writing (aka “Content”) on my blog is displayed the way I want it and no one can take it away from me or change it or otherwise interfere. This is as it should be and I recommend this to anyone wanting to publish their writing online.

For short posts and status updates, I’ve used social media. This has mostly been Twitter since 2009. After all, it’s what Twitter was made for.

I’ve felt no need to own or control the type of content I post to social media.

It’s like Mitch Hedberg’s thoughts on flyers…

“Here, you throw this away” is exactly how I feel about the things I post to Twitter. This doesn’t mean I don’t keep a copy for myself, but I’ve never felt a need to “own” it. Twitter can do with it what it wants.

But that’s the problem now, isn’t it? The issue with posting to social media is no longer simply a matter of maintaining ownership. According to some it’s become a matter of moral responsibility1. Avoiding social media (specifically Twitter and Facebook) has become about disarming those who would use it to spread hatred or falsities or target and abuse others.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m coming around on this viewpoint, and it means that I’ve mostly stopped posting to social media.

Of course I still like to post short bits and images about what I’m thinking about or interested in. For this, I have my own microblog using the wonderful Micro.blog platform.

For blurting out silly little things that can (and probably should) be thrown away, I’m using Mastodon. I don’t truly own my content there but I don’t care. And given that Mastodon is decentralized, moderated, and trying to do the right thing by default, I don’t mind giving up control there.

So, I own the content that’s most important to me and I don’t worry about owning throwaway content.

Also, I’m not contributing to manipulative, hatred-and-abuse-enabling platforms hell-bent on surveillance and targeted advertising, because that’s gross.

  1. Lanier: If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem ↩︎