Own your own content

Reading this morning on Hacker News was this article on how the old Internet has died because we trusted all our content to Facebook and Google. While hyperbole abounds in the headline and there are plenty of internet things out there that aren’t owned by Google nor Facebook (including this AWS free blog) it is true much of the information and content is in the hands of a giant Ad serving service and a social echo chamber. (well that is probably too harsh)

I heard this advice many years ago that you should own your own content. While there isn’t much value in my trivial or obscure blog that nobody reads, it matters to me and is the reason I’ve ran it on my own software, my own servers, for 10+ years. This blog, for example, runs on open source WordPress, a Linux server hosted by a friend, and managed by me as I login and make changes.

But of course, that is silly! Why not publish on Medium like everyone else? Or publish on someone else’s service? Isn’t that the point of the internet? Maybe. But in another sense, to me, the point is freedom. Freedom to express, do what I want, say what I will with no restrictions. The ability to own what I say and freedom from others monetizing me directly. There’s no walled garden and anyone can access the content I write in my own little funzone.

While that may seem like ridiculousness, to me it’s part of my hobby, and something I enjoy. In the next decade, whether this blog remains up or is shut down, is not dependent upon the fates of Google, Facebook, Amazon, nor Apple. It’s dependent upon me, whether I want it up or not. If I change my views, I can delete it. It won’t just sit on the Internet because someone else’s terms of service agreement changed. I am in control, I am in charge. That to me is important and the reason I run this blog, don’t use other people’s services, and why I advocate for owning your own content.