Cambridge Analytica and Facebook Inspired Me to Take Back My Data

I’ve been blogging on this site for almost 20 years now, and over that time I’ve tried just about every platform, every option there is, and have ended up back where I started. Over the last few years I’ve let my blog sit on the wordpress.com “free” site, while I took a break for the most part, while I tried out and contributed to other sites like Medium and all those other free content based sites.

Blogging has changed so much over the last 20 years, but it is still alive and well, and makes up a good bit of the knowledge base of the internet. I like to think I had a small part in that back in the early 90’s when I posted my first pages on a site called Concentric.net, my url address at the time was http://www.concentric.net/~sfillmer but is long long gone (previously Nextlink Communications, Concentric Network Corporation and Allegiance Telecom, Inc. is now a telecommunications company owned by XO Holdings, Inc, which is now owned by Verizon).

I wrote a post about 6 years ago now called WORDPRESS SELF HOSTED VS WORDPRESS.COM HOSTED BLOG PROS CONS :: REVIEW which detailed out the difference between the .org and the free .com and while it’s been nice not having to worry about malware and other attacks, I’ve come full circle and determined that with anything “free” there is a cost. Don’t let the “free” sites fool you into thinking their platform is free. Everything always has a cost, there is always an exchange for the free. It could be privacy, rights to market your own content, creatives rights, somewhere there is a cost to you and a way the “free” platform makes their money (otherwise they wouldn’t exist unless they were some government funded platform or something and then you have a whole different kind of cost, just look at China’s biggest social media platform).

This is so obvious when it comes to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Medium, and perhaps to a lessor extent WordPress.com, where anything you create on those platforms belongs to them. The exchange is you get to use a cool platform for free, and anything you contribute becomes part of their bottom line.

This is how the internet has worked for a long time now, and I know moving my site back to where I control my own data and content won’t change that, but at least I will have control of my own created content. So, it was messy, but I moved the DNS servers over, I deleted my mapping on wordpress.com, changed from an IP4 to an IP6 (my ISP has issues with this), and did the whole export/import thing. It’s still going to be a mess for a while, but I can now ftp into my own files, change them, alter them in any way I wish, market them, and screw them up.

After the news came out about Cambridge Analytica scandal this week it really made up my mind to take back over all my content and start having ftp access to my data once again. So thanks Facebook, thanks Cambridge Analytica, and while I can’t quit Facebook outright because of my job as Director of Communications, I can at least not give you every last bit of my data content.

Does this ultimately change anything for people to profit off others content, nope, but at least I have control of my own created content. I’m not sure what this means for this site. As blogging has changed over the last 20 years so have my interests and things I’d write about today aren’t the same as they were. In some ways my interests have grown, or outgrown some areas, and I love to test out that 10,000 hour rule and its validity with different things. Instead of focusing time and attention on the social media sites, I’m going to use that time to be here instead. I moved over here to create and be creative, to inspire and be inspired. Wherever that leads.

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