Why you need your own space on the Web

The other day I encountered a tweet by a well-known Norwegian C++ programmer, Patricia Aas on Net Neutrality and we exchanged a few mentions regarding that very topic. She was trying to make a case for the use of web browsers over apps, citing serial abuse by app owners.

These days, social media platforms seem to have come to a head. The era of innocent social media fun and banter seems to be over. The violation of this innocence probably began with the Arab Spring, when Twitter rose to prominence as a powerful tool for political activism. During the rise of ISIL, and then ISIS, merchants of death began to make audacious appearances on the same site. Then came the US 2016 elections and the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica affair, which resulted in much hue and cry about election interference.

Social media is toast. All the same, we still flock to the watering holes, most of us oblivious of the crocodiles that lay in wait (or perhaps many are just too thirsty to even care).

Nowadays social media giants wield a lot of power, power that they derive from other people’s data. I am not saying that they are doing any thing wrong. I am convinced that the onus lies on the users not to do themselves a disservice when they totally trust and depend on these companies. It seems we are in a time where people simply refuse to accept responsibility for they own lives.

And this is why many have lost out. How many, like me, lost all their data after MySpace was sold? What about all the time invested in Google Plus? How many remember how Facebook vowed not to mash up WhatsApp data with that of the parent company, only to break that promise a few years later? Some people get banned or suspended for their harmless political views, simply because some “fact checker” at a company disagrees with them — does something have to be consensual before being accepted as a fact and how bland is social interaction without dissent?

Am I advocating the avoidance of social media sites? Absolutely not. That they have done us all a good service is not in doubt. After all, this post is written on WordPress.com, a social blogging site. What I am saying is that we, the consumers, need to start playing smart with our use of these services. There are 2 simple things I have started to do that could help:

  1. Have a strategy for regularly backing up ALL your data from social media sites.
  2. Develop your own space. Start off by buying a domain. Host your own website — and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy — and work to mirror your social media content

What do you think?

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Computers & Internet

2 responses to “Why you need your own space on the Web

  1. George alderman

    Again, if you decry social media sites, then victim blame the users for the powerful spell they’re under, then also refuse to get off the platforms, you invalidate your own point.

    Social media giants have the power they do because of legislative bodies. We did not even question regulating Facebook et al until they already shaped the world. And we still haven’t because the people in power can still make money off it.

    Social media has destroyed our social fabric and Facebook in particular is the Trojan horse that allowed disinformation to mutate from niche bulletin boards into the home of everyday people who think they’re just lightly scrolling through their feed.

    You’re clearly a smart guy, but you are refusing to acknowledge the source of the problem and casting blame downstream. You lament twitter’s censorship of rhetoric around covid 19 or Biden or whatever, but act like Trump’s direct tweets aren’t reason enough to vote against him.

    There is no more “mainstream media”. The media are largely responsible for trumps election and any one out of thousands of his tweets are enough to vote him out. He actively encourages violence against his political opponents (“LIBERATE MICHIGAN”).

    See, I give you one example. That’s enough right there. It’s no coincidence that a dozen men were arrested in a plot to kidnap and kill Michigan’s governor. Maybe since you’re not from America you don’t understand how that is a call to action for white supremacists to take up arms. I’d like to think you DO understand.

    I don’t even like Biden, but I defy you to pick a single platform of his you don’t agree with, and tell me how Trump’s counter position is a better choice.

    Get off social media

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really welcome the healthy censure

      I think the term social media is somewhat broad and I don’t want to throw it all under the bus. WordPress.com, for instance is social media and can be used for good and for bad, just like any other. I was a very early adopter of Facebook and used it to reconnect with friends and family, but at some point it began to stink for me. My grouse with the site is its constant intrusion into my privacy. So I stopped using it. I have an account there, but post only once a year – on my birthday.

      I’ve explained my annoyance with Twitter. I expect it to be a platform and nothing more, not a judge and executioner. And I agree with you, Trump’s tweets can be cringeworthy. Yet, content that falls within their ToS should be allowed.

      To tell you the truth, I do see myself getting off social media altogether, if the model doesn’t change, but it has to be a phased disengagement. Many people who I follow for the value they provide are also making a shift – developing their own sites, newsletters, etc. Once, I’ve connected with them properly, I won’t have much use for Twitter et al.

      My point is this: For me, the days of innocent, carefree social media banter are over.

      Like

Your comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.