data liberation

A long time ago I used an email service called MailBlocks. The service whitelisted email, to filter out spam (this was before Gmail did an awesome job of spam filtering). MailBlocks was run by a startup. The company was acquired by AOL, and AOL shut down the service, basically overnight. I was upset. I didn't lose any of my data, but I lost what was then a really valuable service.

Since then, I've lost the use of a bunch of other services. Bloglines, MySpace, Friendster (I was heavily invested in that one...), and gobs more. In some cases I lost my data, because the services didn't have an easy way to export the content I had created (all those MySpace photos?).

Twenty years ago (1993), I sent my first email message. The platform I sent that email on no longer exists, and the email itself is long gone. 20 years from now, do you think Yahoo Mail will still exist? Facebook? The New MySpace? Twitter? The history of the internet indicates it's unlikely.

We're all creating a lot of content, keeping track of a lot of data, and storing that data in services that we don't directly control. I assume they will all be depreciated at some point. My only concern is, "can I take my data with me and move it to whatever the new best-in-class service is?"

[this blog post reflects my personal views only, not necessarily those of any other company or organization]

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