Ownership and control: how much do we really have?

The ideals behind the #indieweb and, to an extent, Micro.blog are about ownership and control: you own your content, not the network, not the platform, not a silo.

But let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

I wrote back in 2010 that the real social currency is relationships. Not likes, not retweets, not the number of followers but the actual relationships we have with them.

It is the relationships between people, relationships between us and our interests, relationships between data points and their intersections.

Big data.

The value of a social platform lies within its graphs, social and interest, the connections between its users, what they like and how that relates to others. Trends, patterns, spikes, correlations - everything that makes the data useful.

Who owns what?

What do we mean by ownership? Do we associate it with having control over our data or just mean having a copy of everything we post should the services we use disappear?

If it's the former we are deluding ourselves.

Even though we may hold the original version of our posts or photos, and even hold the keys to our base online identity, how much control do we actually have?

As soon as we pass our data to platforms or silos, as soon as we express our interests and connect with others we are handing control of so much more than our posts to those platforms.

Ownership extends far beyond the items themselves to the relationships and data points surrounding them as there is no way for us to own that.

Should we also be asking how much of this we need to own?

Do we need to hold every post, or reply? Is there really value in retaining everything? Or, is it merely our vanity?

Control

We claim to be taking back control from the silos but, if we cross-post in the name of distribution, they still have the power to mine our data (of which we freely hand them a copy) and use it for their own ends.

Unless we keep all our data within a silo of our own we will never have full ownership and total control but that flies in the face of the interactivity the indieweb movement tries to promote.