Open as in commons, not garden

Once again, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. I have been a proponent of the open web and open source software for the past decade and more. This site was Creative Commons licensed when CC was in its infancy. I have talked several times about the importance of owning your data. I deleted my Facebook account over a year ago, having no more time for this enormous walled garden, and I deleted my LinkedIn account and started to rebuild it last year. The latter was an interesting experience, as I saw how much more controlling and channelling LinkedIn was with new users than when I first joined.

This week Google announced that it will close down Google Reader, an RSS aggregator that I have found useful, after Bloglines went offline and then changed its operating model. Reader is a very important part of my PKM process, especially the “Seek” part. I have just switched to Feedly and will see how it works. At this stage I am more inclined to find paid services than free ones. As they say on the web, if you’re not paying for it, you are the product. For more commentary on Google Reader see Stephen Downes’ posts.

I would not be surprised if Feedburner, another Google service, gets shut down soon as well. Many subscribers here get their email notifications via Feedburner. As I move away from the Google web domination machine, I will be removing Feedburner as an option, though existing subscribers will continue to receive notifications until Google inevitably pulls the plug.

In the meantime, I will try to set an example and remove myself from as many walled gardens as possible. Google Plus is probably next, as is Google Analytics. I still get value from Twitter and LinkedIn and will continue to use them, though I am under no illusions that they are serving my interests.

I will also look for good platforms that are either open source, like wordpress.org, which powers this site, or services that charge a fee and cater to their customers. For instance, I gladly pay for my Flickr service.

We are going through another transition of the web and I have no intention of leaving the whole thing to a few corporate interests. This site will remain ad free and open access, not residing on some commercial third-party hosted platform. It’s a very small thing I can do.

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