No More Sharecropping!

Own your data. Snowflake distribute. Beholden to no one.

On Owning Your Data

Published by Shane Becker on

Jeffrey Zeldman and Tantek Çelik (amongst other very smart people) had a conversation across several media and sites about owning your data.

Here's the cliff notes / reading order. It's totally worth sifting through it all.

Just a few of the many, many highlights.

Glenda-B! tweeted—

@zeldman @t Totally neurotic but big data is 3.0. So much unstructured data & I give my content to the void, but I can't query against it?

Jeffrey Zeldman

Twitter needs to do a better job of storing its data. It probably needs to open source and share the data across multiple servers not connected to LOCKSS: Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.

Tom Sparks

This issue becomes more and more important as security tightens in the US and as networked social services become more and more important. I am hoping diaspora or a similar solution becomes viable in the near future.

If smaller organizations can run their own social network platforms and if those platforms can be linked between organisations, that would be a WIN. Groups or super individuals could control their own data and share it in the ways they find most useful.

Tom Henrich

I backup my tweets not because I'm concerned that the historians of the future will be denied the benefits of access to them, but so that I can more easily refer back to them if there was something I wanted to look up. You noted Twitter's search has some pretty extreme limitations, and that's not acceptable to me.

Tantek Çelik again on his site—

Simply copying from these shared social services still leaves you vulnerable to their flakiness, poor auto-shortening of links, unscalability, downtime, maintenance, database failures, and acquisitions.

That's why I don't post to other services and copy to my site.

That's not what I'm doing.


I'm not copying from Twitter. I'm syndicating and copying to Twitter. As I said, Twitter is the copy.

There's a big difference. When Twitter goes down, I can keep posting, and my updates still go to the other destinations that take/share updates, e.g. Google Buzz,, Friendfeed, and whatever other service(s) might come along to replace them all. I'm not beholden to Twitter's stability/downtime - the copies there will appear when Twitter returns from such outages.

If your data is vulnerable to some social sharing services' whims or flakiness - you don't own your data - they do (their terms of service even says - they can do as they please with your content, with Flickr as perhaps the only exception).

Tantek's conclusion:

Your site should be the source and hub for everything you post online. This doesn't exist yet, it's a forward looking vision, and I and others are hard at work building it. It's the future of the indie web.