I have been officially blogging for over seven years! In reality I have been blogging for much longer, however, most of the older content was stuck on a third party blogging site that provided no mechanism for retrieving *my* data. Once that site shut down I lost over 18 months of creative work. While I imagine the loss of that content does not make much of a dent to the records of humanity, I still think about the hours invested in its curation and the frames of reference that will never exist again.

The abiding lesson for me is to always ensure that you control all your content. We collectively spend a lot of time on social networks but I am constantly asking myself While blogging, tweeting, pinning and posting "How much of this content do I really own?".

I have composed the following list of questions to help you evaluate your level of authentic ownership:

What if your blogging\pinning\tweeting service went away? (it happens)

  • I own my domain name and I have full access to my hosting space via ftp.

What if your blogging\pinning\tweeting service had a catastrophic failure or simply lost your data?

  • I take backups of my blog on at least a quarterly basis, that includes images, I could start again elsewhere.

Are you able to download all your content at a moments notice?

  • My blogging platform is dasBlog which does not use a proprietary database, it uses simple text files.

If you can download your content what format is it in? would you know how to move it elsewhere?

  • Blog posts are all in text files on the server which I can easily transform into anything I see fit.

Do you have access to the meta data for your Likes, Favorites or Pins?

  • I know I do not!

Who really owns all that information? and why are we so carefully tending a garden that we do not own? I am a firm advocate of controlling and creating your own content in the spaces you wholly regulate. We think of social networks as community gardens when in truth we are prohibited from freely consuming the fruits of our labor.

Food for thought!