A light on the end of the tunnel

I’ve long believed that the crossover from the Industrial Age to the Information Age will be marked by an awakening to the need by customers to control their own selves, rather than to remain subordinated to the controlling interests of companies. Same thing with citizens and governments.

, for me at least, was about that.

So now user freedom is at issue again, this time in the context of “social networking”, which in the current popular sense happens almost entirely inside company walled gardens. Some companies are larger than others, and some gardens have openings in their hedges for “federation” of user data, at the latter’s grace. But your data is still theirs, pretty much. That’s how it plays in the media, and probably in the minds of most of the companies involved as well.

So I just wrote about where I think this is going, in Who controls your data, over at . See what ya think.

5 comments

  1. Jon Garfunkel’s avatar

    FYI, Deborah Tannen mined the lore of warlike metaphors in contemporary language a decade ago in The Argument Culture.

    I don’t think of social network apps “controlling my data.” Facebook commands my attention because it has *other people’s data.* Or rather, other people’s ephemera. (We need to start making distinctions here.)

    Also, if you insist on exclusively controlling your data, you need to rent it out each time. Do you want your social network apps to forget all of your data between sessions, and ask you again for it when you log back in? (You say “the end of that day I want all walled gardeners to use my data at my grace.” Literally you mean, at the *start* of the day since you’ll have to rent it out each time.)

    I’ll grant that there is certainly a problem today with 3rd-party apps which ask for data, but aren’t clear at all on what they’re asking for (see How to fix third party facebook application settings).

  2. david cushman’s avatar

    Doc, we are our data. Ownership of that by others is, as you suggest, part of the mindset of an industrialised world.
    When our data can connect us to others who share our purpose without mediation, then the vision will become reality – then communities of purpose will become the business units of the future.

  3. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Now more than ever, our data is fluid, like the news. My email address can change on a whim, this means that if a company offends me in some way, I’ll just refuse to give them the new one. The data locked up in their CRM just became stale, which is the curse of death… (actually… it IS death)

    If a company wants to keep up with me, they have to play nice, and support a relationship, otherwise they end up as fishwrap, or at the bottom of the bird cage.
    –Mike–

  4. Crosbie Fitch’s avatar

    Our personal data is ‘theirs’ if we give it to them: http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk/index.php?id=117

  5. IT Value Stack’s avatar

    From the Industrial Age to the Information Age…

    Doc Searles at Harvard Law writes:I’ve long believed that the crossover from the Industrial Age to the Information Age will be marked by an awakening to the need by customers to control their own selves, rather than to remain subordinated…

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