When I left Facebook for the year, I had something I was hoping I’d get finished first. I wanted to log in to my Facebook account, download all my photos and re-host them all, on my own website. I never did get that done and it’s silly, but it irks me. I feel like my photos, my personal history and memories with my friends and girlfriend are being held ransom. “Come back, silly boy, and you can have them,” Facebook rasps.
Even before I’d decided to leave Facebook, I started feeling uncomfortable with the amount of my digital “self” that was hosted on external social networks — networks of which the ambition of the network owners has long outpaced the actual user’s purpose for engaging in the network.
When venture capital, advertising and growth run the day, the interests of a company providing any product are immediately divided from that product’s users to the interests of those other masters. That’s no easy problem to fix, and I’m not saying we should forego capitalism, because if you push the tin-foil theories in this train of thought that’s where this is headed. I get that. I’m just saying… I want my stuff back.
My family has a box of every report card — damn near every assignment — and every award I ever received from Kindergarten on till college. They have boxes upon boxes of photos. Those little baseball card photos they make for you in Little League. Terrible Kodak throw-away camera photos I’d taken. Old letters. I have a smaller collection of the same. I thought for years how much I’d wanted to take all that and make it digital. Just store it somewhere, online — for the family. But… sorry Facebook. Sorry Instragram. I don’t trust you with it.
What’s mine is mine. I don’t like the idea of doing all the work to host my own history myself, but, frankly, I like less the idea of me giving my life to you, Sir Facebook, as meat for the machine.
I’ll (slowly, no doubt) be adding more-and-more segments of my life and life’s content to my own website to take back what’s mine. When I come up with a better, simpler way for you to do the same, I’ll make sure to tell the story here — and on my site, because let’s be honest, is Medium any different?