There might be a way to reset the narrative on who we are online. Often the personal data that we share online is immediately out of our control as soon we post it. The data stored about us and it’s usage is not always visible to us. However there is something we can do about it. We can create new data about ourselves and release that into the wild. Our likes, comments, views, bios, and casual interactions tell the world one story. If it’s not what we want to say, we need to find a new way to tell the story we want to. When you search for yourself online it can reveal a skewed picture. The result can amplify the things we’d rather forget or miss out the things we actually want to be known for. If you are one of those people who dips in and out of social platforms, this can paint a very patchy picture of you. So how do we rectify this? How can we tell the world who we really are if so much of our actions are tied up in platforms for which we have no control over? We could decide not to play. Or stop interacting and be a passive user. Choose only to view and avoid anything that might be used against us. This is a shame though. We have access to incredible networks bu are we scared to use them in case our own data is used against us?
Tell Your Story – Create New Personal Data
One way to claim ownership back of our data and send out the messages we want to, is to go back to blogging. We are seeing this already with a resurgence of blogging sites and tools. The difference now from back when we first started blogging, is that it’s so much easier now. I can attest to the fact that it’s so much more flexible than it was before. We can easily change the design, add new features, send newsletters, track usage, upload media, the list goes on. Blogging allows you to create a place that’s all about you and have people come to visit you. Like MySpace, inviting people to your place is nothing new. But this time, I can ensure the data about me is on my server, that I manage. I can make sure the content is displayed just the way I decide and not fed through an algorithm that is a mystery. I can re-up data when I want to. I can create a safe place and delete what I want to. If I want share it on a social platform I can, but the people viewing get directed back to me, on my platform. These are some of the reasons I choose to operate online this way.
Until We Find a Solution, Let’s Blog
We try to lobby online platforms to safeguard our data, make it transparent to us and be ethical. But the quickest way to get the right data out about us might be to flood the system with new, more relevant information. Ideally this keeps the data ownership firmly in the domain of the user. In a dream scenario, a new service would appear one day that is a bit like MySpace but is as easy to get started as Facebook. It gives you complete control of your own data and doesn’t advertise to you unless you ask it specifically for recommendations. I would join something online like that if I could. For now, I will use the closest best option available – blogging. If anyone needs me, this is where I am.