I think I have lost my faith in the social media platforms.
It has been an interesting few weeks of thinking about the Internet in general, and social media in particular — namely its pros/cons, opportunity cost, externalities, and collateral, oligopolies, the tyranny of the network effect, and how all this impacts the future of a free, open, and independent web.
Not that this is “the conclusion” of the matter by any means, but I feeling evermore comfortable in a place of “social platform agnosticism.” The investment of my time in developing platform-specific archives and followings does not make sense. These proprietary commercial mediums built on the Internet do not serve me, they serve advertisers.
The ultimate value of the Internet is that it is an open network. I want to invest my time and grow my understanding in a dataset I can access, transport, query, and utilize in the future. For me, right now, this means using WordPress to amalgamate my personal “online existence” in a MySQL database that I own, instead of relying on Facebook or Twitter — or whatever the “next things” might be — to host my digital life for me on their terms, under their conditions.
I will still share updates across these commercial platforms, of course, but I will share from this platform that I independently own and control — a platform that is free and independent of the proprietary web. This is what I mean by platform agnosticism: I don’t believe commercial networks should be the repositories of my data, but I’m happy to temporarily utilize them for the connectivity they create and provide… as fleeting and proprietary as they might be.