Do you rely on an online platform to hold your content, your ideas, your opinions? Are you counting on it always being there?
It's easy to rely on a resource that seems plentiful, easy, and even free. Easy, but not safe. Platforms come and go. Platforms change without asking us, sometimes taking the convenience, facility, or economy away. That's aggravating and you know what? It's sure to happen.
I've been sharing ideas on training for a long time, and I've seen big changes or disappearance from some of my favorite platforms. I thought they'd be there. I counted on their archives. I didn't have to budget for their expense. But the changed, and I've at times had to scramble to rearrange my records. Some ideas and articles I've been able to adjust and change to other storage areas, but some have literally disappeared with no record of having ever existed, no matter how much work they were or how proud I was of them. For example, I contributed tons of entries on a Yahoo discussion forum that one night was simply deleted. Hundreds of influential trainers, consultants, and HR Professionals lost not only their favorite forum, they lost big chunks of their intellectual property.
Recently there was a big stink about how Flickr began to profit from the photo images people have trusted to that platform. Do you think you own something -- or does the platform police own it?
No doubt you've been part of the frequent discussions about how FaceBook uses your content. You might not like their decisions, but you have little or no influence over what they do.
Back your stuff up. Whenever you can, learn enough coding to keep it close. I like the approach that Stephen Downes takes at Stephen's Web in coding and developing his own platforms wherever he can. There's still the risk that your hosting service can cough up a hair ball, but at least you have more control and can archive your own stuff.
When should you start backing up your stuff? How about right now?
-- Doug Smith
Front Range Leadership
Music: Douglas Brent Smith
High Performance Leadership Blog
Don't expect any platform you're not in charge of to last forever.