Whether it’s text, emojis, or pictures of your breakfast—it’s all content that is ready for the social media mill. Any activity online (especially that which involves forming new text or data) is ultimately content that is being created. So, who owns your content once it’s shared online? Is it you (the content creator) or the platform you’re sharing on? When you create content through a centralized platform, such as Facebook—Facebook becomes the rightful owner of your content. It’s basically what you sign off on when you clicked “I agree.” So, Facebook provides a platform for people to create and share content on but should that mean they get to own it?
Our creations are a part of our digital identity and they are the digital footprint we leave on the world. Our self-assembled content defines who we are (digitally speaking)—and just like we own our own identities in life, we should have the right to our own digital identity as well. So how can we do this? The solution is self-hosting.
Self-hosting allows your content to reside on a physical or a virtual server that is accessible via the Internet. If you are a creator of content, self-hosting means that you (and only you) possess control of your content. The more content you host, the more in control you are. The fact of the matter is that social media is actually moving away from hosting content because it is very expensive to moderate. Currently, Facebook employs 35,000 moderators—this is a costly venture for social media companies who own and host content. So, if there were ever a time to start self-hosting your content—this is it.
More than ever, content creators are turning to self-hosting solutions, often cheap ones like Raspberry Pi computers. Software for self-hosting, is inexpensive and open-source (free), as is storage. Computing power is nowhere near what it used to be, in terms of cost. By self-hosting, you don’t need to rely on third-parties to store your pictures or your emails—therefore you can cut back on non-self-hosting expenses.
There are many self-hosting options and content creators will continue to be offered solid choices as more creators make the switch. @Nextcloud and @ownCloud are two of the biggest self-hosting software services around—they are fantastic platforms to leverage.
The biggest benefit of self-hosting your content is that you, as the content creator, hold the keys to the kingdom of your digital life. If there is a digital version of you existing out in the world—you, and only you should own and take control of it.