When You’re the Product and Not the Customer

You don’t have rights on facebook and twitter. That’s because you’re not their customer. You are their product.

And if you switch from facebook to instagram as many of the kids are doing these days, you’re still on facebook. Facebook owns instagram. They are still capturing and selling the data that you give them for free when you upload, comment on, or “like” content.

It’s pretty weird. But ever weirder is how little we understand or do about it.

But there are things you can do:

  • You can opt out. I’ve tried that a few times over the years. It’s hard. And FOMO wins every time. Facebook knows this, of course. It’s their leverage.
  • You can take some of your conversations elsewhere – join a discussion group via listserv or slack or a discuss group.
  • You can engage more with blogs! Start one and read more. The platform I use for this blog, Wordpress, has a great tagline: “Own Your Content.”

With all of these options, you still don’t have privacy. But you are taking more control of your content and not just handing it over to the man.

Yes, if you make some or all of these changes you will feel the “pain” of a smaller network. But you’ll also feel the rewards of engaging with a group that is speaking and listening with much more care and intention.


Take it Further: