Yesterday's flashback post inadvertently led me to think about an aspect of social networking that has been overlooked. I mentioned that I still have everything I have ever posted on any of my sites or anybody else's site (I did a few pieces for Kloud's old site). I have had sites with several paid hosts, Blogger.com and Wordpress.com and have collected everything I wrote before I left each service. This is very important to me. This is also why I do not post original material on any social networking sites.
I have a few things posted on MySpace, but I either don't care about them or they're reposts from previous blogs. Why is this important? Go to your MySpace or Facebook account and find the export or backup button. I'll wait. What? You can't find it? Of course not, it doesn't exist. This concern came to the forefront not too long ago when Facebook bought it's competitor, FriendFeed. Those with accounts approached critical mass when they wondered what would become of their stuff should Facebook dispatch them in short order. None of these sites have a way for users to save their data, but the companies have it backed up on their systems.
The ultimate question is who owns this data? If MySpace decides that they don't like me for one reason or another and kicks me off, I lose access to my stuff. It remains on their servers, however, and they can do with it what they want. What if Facebook pulled the plug on Friendfeed? All of that data would be in the hands of Facebook for their own purposes and the original posters would have no recourse unless they wrote it in a text editor, copied and pasted it into the site and saved the original (that's a hint, people).
The stuff I write is important to me and I am not about to give it up to anybody. I have no problem sharing it with anybody who wants to read it. This same idea also applies to pictures and anything else that makes it on my site. The same applies if anybody else posts on my blog, the post does not belong to me, but to the author. So that's why I don't post on social networking sites.