Being the Content Owner


I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. (So that’s a bizarre start let’s see how I tie that into a talk about content creation.) I don’t do them, I think that they are mostly a waste of time. In my entire life I have met very few people who stick by them, so they seem to be a whim, a whimsy, a pipe dream, unrealistic.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like resolutions. Leigh makes them each year, but they are goals that she thinks through, and gods bless her she tries her damnedest to stick by them. She tries so hard that she will often complete them in a different year, keeping at that same resolution until it is done.

I am not like that. I will fail if I do a resolution that way, my attraction and enthusiasm will quickly wane. I have to think a bit more about any resolution I do. Often it takes me into mid-January to do so.

Which is why it was part way through January 2013 before I realised I wanted to be the content owner and not just the content producer and that would be the challenge I faced in that year.

A Bit More Context

In 2012 I was using Instagram quite a lot and really liking it. I enjoyed taking snaps and sharing them with my slowly growing audience and engaging with the others I found on there.

When Facebook purchased them I cared little as to me the services were already integrated and it meant little. Then there was a small perturbation, a changing of the rules which meant that the ownership of images gained a new meaning. Facebook didn’t take away ownership, however they did alter the potential display and usage. This made me close my account as I felt it was a freedom I didn’t want to lose.

However it got me thinking. I shared lots on Facebook, flickr, Twitter etc., and all of this was in the realm of less-owned. All the material was in a grey area that was becoming murkier as the services themselves evolved.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t blaming these services or having a knee-jerk response, though at first there was enough of that particularly angsty state, I was genuinely concerned at my position.

I wasn’t the content owner anymore, just the content producer.

Being the Owner

I like producing content and I have no issue with sharing that content as much as i can. I guess I am a cheerful self-promoter and attention slut. But, sharing original content, and owning original content have now become a mixed field with shifting boundaries and I wanted to make it very clear what material I owned, what i just produced (releasing some control) and that which I shared (which I know I would have the least control over).

So I became a content owner.

I started in January last year a ritual of only producing material to my blogs (of which I have several) and then sharing those links to the social media networks. Any material shared directly to the sites would be items i had little to no care in regards to the ownership. I wanted to produce less original media, or long text, that was published in an original context to these sites.

It is the reason I first decided to PAY for Flickr, so that I more closely control my output.

This was most relevant to pictures of the kids and family. I didn’t want to be in a position where they could be used as a part of a ‘fair usage’ terms of service agreement that I had no control over.

My blogs, except for the Tumblr account, are all self-hosted so the ownership is very clear, the material is now under my ownership and remains there. The allowance for the sites to use them is only b the nature of them being linked and appearing as a context-relational thumbnail. I have moved from producer to owner.

Creative Commons

This, by the way, does not contradict my belief in open sharing of content. I still love the idea of Creative Commons and Open Media. I admire those people who produce great content to share with others and have relied on them for much material that i have used in the past.

I still produce content for these sites as well.

This was about choice. This was about taking back the control and the ownership instead of unwittingly handing it to others. If I appear to sound like I am either criticising those sites, or people who are happy to share their material on those sites it is unintended. i think it is a choice that you make, a decision. I just make my resolutions slowly and I try to stick to them.


The final bit of fun for you all, here is a series of graphs I produced to show the amount of material I pushed to various blogs last year. Please bear in mind that many of these are picture posts hid amongst the longer written articles. if I get bored I will do a word count and let you know how many words were produced, but that’s a job for a very boring afternoon.

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