OK, the tag is probably the biggest in the list so far.
I wrote another post about this, and then binned it. It got way too ranty for a simple blog. It began to take in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Manchurian Candidate, and if my boss read it she’d think I was mad. (If she doesn’t already).
It boils down to a few bullet points.
- If you aren’t paying for it, someone else is. If you are using a website for nothing, it will be paying for it with Adverts, and your information. And by your information, I mean your likes, dislikes, opinions, prejudices and personal thoughts.
- All the big data systems you hook into are probably affected by laws which, while good intentioned, will more than likely be abused for someone else’s good. Whether that’s a government trying to stay in power by appealing to the lowest common denominator, or an interested third party willing to corrupt someone so they pass that same information on.
- To an extent, all the systems you connect up to are trying to make you use them more and more, and sometimes quite blatantly trying to manipulate your opinions or feelings.
- 140 characters has been described as being more efficient, and resulting in people using words more effectively. Fuck that shit. It means more people T8lking 2 u lyk a D1v.
So that’s my argument. And it is an argument, I don’t expect everyone to agree with it, it’s merely an opinion, but one expressed in more words than you generally see in a Facebook post, and in far more than a Twitter post allows for. One day I may publish the other, more ranty post, but only if I feel safer in everyone thinking I’ve gone over to the dark side of conspiracy theory.
So Decentralisation is a possible answer. Using other systems instead of the big logos. Try systems with no central control (Diaspora), or ones which are completely under your own control (WordPress, ArkOS) and use simple tools like RSS readers to pull together data streams which you are interested in.
And try and question what your opinions, likes and dislikes, are worth to the right people in the long term, and whether you want them to be in control of what, and how, you think.