I was on the edge of publishing my Failed Normal content to Medium until I read a few posts talking about the CEO essentially running Medium as a vanity project. The day after news broke that SoundCloud required a $150 Million lifeline to keep going. This is after I was notified by YouTube that videos such as “New York Skyline” were “Not suitable for all advertisers”. I had also seen a Vid.me user stripped of verification status simply because he communicated with me on Twitter. (Not to mention their insane new 50GB storage limit). And of course although not a fan of her work the whole Lauren Southern vs. Patreon thing is hard to stomach.
The whole argument about using private platforms for communication has been raging for years now. Not so long ago the questions were more around privacy and how the feed algorithm should work. Those were real questions that still have not been rectified, but these new changes to the platform landscape strip away all feeling on security from these platforms. At any time, essentially any reason, all of your work can be stripped away. This isn’t a First Amendment issue because these are private companies, but it is a common sense one. Do you want to spend years building up a following on a platform only to have it stripped away at any time? As a YouTube content creator these new changes were some of the final straws that broke my will. After 8 years toiling away to build something, there is still the constant worry, the constant possibility that at a moments notice it can all be gone.
Think about AirBnB terminating user accounts because of how users act OFF PLATFORM…
It was one thing when spoiled brats were telling folks how to play with the toys they had built. It becomes another when those same sheltered children start trying to mold the actions of others simply because our current economic system has allowed them to own monopolies with little to check their power.
For myself I’m putting the platforms behind me. Using open source software at the worst case scenario I could run a server out of my house. I don’t have to worry about 20 year olds preaching about whatever they imagine social justice to be. I don’t have to worry about vanity projects, and investing myself in platforms that may not have the budget to run out the rest of the month. I don’t have to worry about algorithms run amok created by companies so large that even a creator that has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars is still too small to worry about. I can just create my content. I can focus on my product and my readers building something that is mine to control though success of failure.
I fear the platforms are overplaying their hands. Not so long ago infrastructure cost a lot of money, but that has changed. There are a dozen ways to provide video content now. Vimeo, Video Press, RSS, even options such as Drive and DropBox allow for cheap distribution. This is before we get to really looking at solutions such as LBRY and even BitTorrent.
Not long ago the idea with connecting with the world seemed a utopian idea. That was before the trolls, SJW’s, indentitarians, and every other wannabe evangelist crawled out of the woodwork. You find that fences make good neighbors, and curtains make good friends. I have found that I have zero interest in either a persons sex life nor their views on Benghazi….
And it seems like just a short bit ago the concern of how companies controlled users ON their platform was the biggest of worries. Was a filtered feed something that still provided enough value to login? Now the platforms are LITERALLY trying to control users day to day lives.
THIS is not something I’m interested in. I want to pay for a service, and for the interaction to end with the service provided. I want to be able to end communication with people I find obnoxious. I don’t have to have a reason to dislike someone, and not want to talk to them. I want to build something I have a reasonable amount of control over without the concern that some new TOS change will kill my account. I want…. freedom…? Wasn’t that what the Internet was supposed to be about..?
For me this will be in the form of WordPress for now. I’m not saying I have full faith in Automattic not doing something asininely stupid, but at least my standalone site will stay running even if they somehow prevent future updates. It’s funny… as a 41 year old I remember when people were buying fax machines, when email was the new thing, when Friendster seemed like the future, and Facebook was only open to college kids. At this point I’m finding that some of the innovation has been great. Blogs, and instant messaging have revolutionized communication, but Facebook, YouTube and other platforms feel more like dead ends. They seem like massively expensive proofs of concept. Now that they’ve shown that the technology works it feels it’s time to start focusing on the next iterations to move past their massive failings. I think the very concept of “one platform for everyone” is flawed to the core, and we’re going to start seeing the results of the crumbling foundations.