Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's My Crap, I'll Burn It If I Want To

Anthropomorphized burning trash canphoto © 2009 miguel | more info (via: Wylio)
No offense to Leslie Gore.


The title just came to me as I was reading Louis Gray's missive on Steve Rubel's latest effort to eliminate his tracks online.


I love reading Louis because he is well thought out and while I see his point on Rubel's "shiny object" syndrome- I gotta disagree.


For completely different reasons though.


Rubel explains his reason:
"I believe that Plus One, if adopted, is a game changer. These endorsements, plus Facebook likes and other social signals, will help tell Google what to pay attention to and what to let fade away. I want to make it easy for Google. The only way to do so was to scorch the earth. Anything more will confuse it. I want one site to earn the +1s, not three."


Now that is bunk. Newer stuff is what is going to be plus-oned to death and Facebook liked, not the old stuff.
The best reason I see? It's his. Time Warner, Google, Facebook - no one owns it.


I get what Louis suggests- there is a historical record there. There ARE items that probably ought to be preserved. But who is ANYONE other than Steve Rubel to decide why it should or should not be publicly available for eternity?


I've made similar jumps from platform when I changed, but kept MY posts backed up (for me). Granted, no one really cares what I am saying now. Will they enough in the future, will I care enough in the future to keep it around? Who knows, but I do know that the public should not get to dictate that. Same reason I am posting my commentary HERE and not just commenting on Louis's blog. He could easily do something with it, right?


Sure, cloud storage costs are plummeting. But just because you can save something, doesn't mean you should.


This raises an interesting question- is ANYTHING you post online suddenly public domain that can or should be saved for future reference? Louis suggests that the "long tail" is leading to the point where even the mundane and minutiae will be of interest. I just can't see that. And even if it is, why should Google, Facebook, or the Library of Congress get to save it?


I daresay, Zuckerberg is starting to get his way if we start feeling that EVERYTHING must be saved, catalogued, and available for EVERYONE to access in the future. Or, that we can't control that access, even it it means burning it to the ground.


Does that scare you at all?