In the wake of Twitter banning Trump a wildfire of discussion was lit. Were they wrong? What if you are shut down tomorrow from having a voice? Trump pretty much has been banished to oblivion now. He had the loudest voice on Twitter and now he doesn’t because of one decision of a closed network.
Not withstanding Twitter’s bravado on doing something as cataclysmic as this there’s an important debate that David Sacks has championed but a lot of others have joined on. The move towards decentralization has begun and a rally cry is well underway and the important question is being asked here,
Who owns your identity online?
The easiest way to own your identity is to have your own website and blog. The website so it’s your destination on the web and the blog is a place to share your thoughts. I had a lot written on my previous website and blog but one crash took that all out. The second most important tip is to back up your data.
It is very interesting and distracting to have so many mediums your content can be on:- Substack, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Clubhouse etc. But I think you should think of them as distribution platforms for your content which should reside on your own domain.
If you need more convincing,
Marshall Kirkpatrick on never moving to Google Plus. He focuses on the mechanics and control your own domain offers you.
I have 3 times as many connections on Circles as I have RSS and email subscribers here (in 2 weeks, vs 5 or 6 years!) but I’m not tempted in the slightest to give up what I have here. Perhaps it’s just about trade-offs and I’m not willing to give up the control I have over the way my personal site communicates with visitors.
I don’t want to lose control over my own Information Architecture, no matter how under-developed it is, to Google’s vision of “posts in one tab and about page in another.” I want to put those things where I want, in the order I want and make them look however I want.
The OG of blogging, Fred Wilson, has many takes which I found interesting. Fred has a lot of takes on owning your identity
There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.
We are in the “Internet Two” phase as Steven Johnson called in it his piece that I blogged about yesterday. Internet One was an open network, open protocols, open systems. Internet Two is closed platforms that increasingly dominate the market and own and control our content and us. We need to get to Internet Three where we take back control of ourselves. It is high time for that to happen.
Chris Dixon and Charlie O’Donnell both advocate the value of the “blog as resume” and recommend starting one to everyone who asked for their career advice. I’ll join that chorus as well. We have hired all of our junior investment professionals largely on the basis of their blogs, not their resumes or linkedin profiles. You can learn so much more about a person by reading their blog.
And the last is by Marco, co-founder of Tumblr, on owning your identity
If you care about your online presence, you must own it. I do, and that’s why my email address has always been at my own domain, not the domain of any employer or webmail service.
You might think your @gmail.com address will be fine indefinitely, but if I used a webmail address from the best webmail provider at the time I broke away from my university address and formed my own identity, it would have ended in @hotmail.com. And that wasn’t very long ago.
I’ve always built my personal blog’s content and reputation at its own domain, completely under my control, despite being hosted on many different platforms and serving different roles over the years. It has never been a subdomain of any particular publishing platform or host.
You can start today. Choose whatever platform you’d like but own your website and content and distribute it in all these platforms that exist.