I wrote a post a few weeks ago during the whole thing with Reddit changing the API rules. I never posted it and it’s not relevant anymore, but it made me think about the digital tools I use.
It’s not as if anyone ever thought that Reddit was a not-for-profit, but the sudden change of rules still caught everyone off guard. In the weeks since things have settled down and if you go on Reddit now, it’s like nothing ever happened. I don’t know if you can say the same about Twitter / X because I haven’t been back since I deleted my account.
The thing is, these places are social media platforms and there is an unspoken agreement that we give them content in exchange for a mechanism which allows other people to view that content. I’m kind of uncomfortable with that agreement for several reasons, but it is what it is. We accept they are going to make money from our content, so the fact that Reddit and X have done so, in a way that has upset a bunch of people, is annoying but understandable.
What about places that aren’t social media platforms?
This is the one that really gets me because there are a lot of places online where we put important things on the assumption that it is going to remain there. Or that we are going to be able to continue accessing it. I used to do it and sometimes I still do. But it makes me uncomfortable because they can change the rules at any moment.
It’s not entirely clear to me what the answer is to any of this. I try to do as much of my writing as I can in plain text and use local storage. I started this blog back up again. I am still looking at ways I can manage the content I create and keep ownership of it. If the changes at Reddit have shown us anything, it is that building a business on someone else’s platform is precarious.