Reminder: Our Public Streams Take Place on Private Property

The Great Deceiver, Social Media, has us assuming that what we write and share are “out there” transpire within the public sphere. Do they?

^ Is Facebook public property? How much of Facebook do you own? Control?

^ Is Twitter public property? Remember: Twitter, Inc. owns Twitter. Private can’t be public.

^ Are any of the numerous proprietary blogging software yours?

Yes, if you choose to make tweets and posts “public”, they are searchable.

But unless the public owns these private media, the discussions aren’t Public in the truest sense, are they?

So what? What’s the big deal?

As an on-going day-to-day practical matter, it may not matter much.

But, ultimately, you don’t own your tweets nor status updates nor check-ins. Nor does the public.

This is a strange world we’re entering, isn’t it?

If you own not a single thing on the Web, you are utterly dependent on private companies and organizations for your voice.

In the long-run you can’t Occupy others’ property.

What the Occupy protests have shown us quite viscerally – regardless of your opinion on their content – is that we are moving into an Aeon where the public space is treated as private property. Result: jackboots, pepper spray and pretexts for suspension of habeas corpus.

If what we end up assumming what Jurgen Habermas called the Public Sphere, is actually a glass dome over private media, what happens when the owners choose to dim and darken the dome? Do you see where this is going?

It’s tiring to say, but it bears repeating: your own domain is the only thing you can own (and control) on the Web.

Your peers and competitors are forgetting this.

Now that you’ve been told you that you can have an edge, what are you going to do?

Or are you going to keep on slaving among the field of tweets?



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