We all love social media … we love the way that it connects us, the way we can interact with people both near and far, and to an extent, we even love the gadgety effects of the technology that drives it all.
We have profiles all over the place, pictures, links, likes, dislikes, favorites and widgets. There are movies, music and clubs. There are groups, messages, inboxes and discussion boards. In fact, there are so many pieces to the puzzle that re-membering — actually putting all of your virtual limbs together — is a challenge.
But what happens, one day, when it all stops?
Never happen to you? Think again.
Because social networks rely on the power and reliability of the network members, there can be consequences for even a perceived breach of the “terms and conditions.” A friend of mine experienced this with Google AdWords some time ago … analytics seemed to indicate that he was inflating his clickthroughs by some kind of robot/program and he was therefore removed from the program. A couple of appeals went nowhere, and to this day he is on the blacklist. And while he was completely innocent of the charges, there was no further avenue to appeal.
Fair enough … this is Google’s network and they can do what they want
But what happens to the personal detail that is held in these networks when they turn you off … or, perhaps more importantly, when they close down (as they do)?
This question was raised by Harry Joiner this morning … as he had been evicted from Facebook.
And while Harry may have a beef … what about you or I? What about sites like Flickr? What happens to your personal content that resides on their network? What about the time that you have put into building your social network through links, messages and groups? Where does that investment go (and what happens to the images/digital assets you created)?
If our digital personalities are the sum total of the digital traces that we leave across the web, then the question of trust and ownership arise here. It is not just about the files and connections. It’s about something more important.
So … who owns YOU?