How much are your memories worth?

I’m not much of a blogger but I cherish my memories and experiences, and, like many people enjoy sharing and preserving mementos of things I’ve done and places I’ve been. The internet has seemed a possible repository for scans of these tid-bits of life so I was naturally drawn to wikis, cms engines and weblogs. I’ve tried out most popular social sharing sites, but it wasn’t until I reluctantly signed up for Facebook, that I felt I was using a site that could aggregate my memories and experiences to the audience who actually cared while hiding them from Google’s roving bots if I chose to. There was an immediacy and ease to it that made me want to jump on board where earlier social tools had failed. Since reluctantly signing up in April 2009,  I have visited it almost everyday and have posted many images while my site, and some of the other sites I manage, lay un-touched, unvisited and unloved. No matter how many times I changed the skin, I’d never get around to wanting to keep up with the content.

Facebook was getting all my content, images and effort. I’d forget I even had a website. Family members of 3 generations can be found there. I reconnected with childhood friends and colleagues spread all over the US. It held my attention longer than its predecessors. Lately, however, I’ve been posting less and visiting for less time. I still read my wall, and comment on my friends posts, but I haven’t wanted to post any notes or new images or bother to see whose top 5 was getting shared. Some of it has been a result of the changes to the interface and frustration with the dubious 3d party applications that, for a while, seemed to be flooding the site. Perhaps it’s also because when I reached around 200 “friends” I began to sense a shift from a private audience to one a bit more public and my own self consciousness took over. Much like my own unattended site, I began to feel less comfortable sharing.

The latest changes to the Facebook’s API and sharing settings is a reminder that my content is their currency. While targeted advertising is one thing (and often an amusing side-bar to the site), the recent strong-arm pressure to share more or lose your own content (changes to the user’s Interests and Activities blocks), the deceptive new use of “Like,” and the opening of content to 3rd parties via the API that had been restricted to logged-in members of Facebook was a re-writing of the agreement most people felt they had with the site when they signed in and started uploading their memories.

I am not naive enough to believe that there is truly much privacy on the Internet, especially at a social media website, but I am concerned for many who do not understand the ramifications of broadcasting their daily lives and thoughts in a public arena. And, while I appreciate the ease with with I can link a website or file I find to Facebook or Twitter, I don’t need that site to have my information as well.

I am writing this first post in WordPress, a lovely engine that I have used off and one for many years. While I have been struggling with CMS software to build interactive modern sites for people, WordPress has grown into a powerful blogging platform, social site and cms shell. So, my eyes are back on my first love, my own little domain. I’ll share my work and memories here, and link to my social sites. I’ll still keep using Facebook but the honeymoon is over.