40 Acres - Owning Your Online Presence

July 26, 2020 |
Image taken by MJ in Venture County

If you listen to or read anything created by Dave Ramsey, you’re probably familiar with his belief that real estate is an important avenue for building wealth. The Netflix mini-documentary series “Explained” has an episode titled “The Racial Wealth Gap.” In it, the narrator says, “If you live in a stable country and you can invest long term, values generally go up.” Buying a house now will build wealth over time. Now I hope this isn’t a wild analogy, but I would advise that you build up your online real estate by owning your own domain. And if you work towards making your personal domain profitable, the value will go up over time. Have you ever had a myspace page? What is the current state of that? Or maybe you were heavy on Facebook, but after moms, dads, and grandparents started flooding the site, you decided to find something else. Currently that something else is Instagram. And while Facebook has a tight grip in the world of social media, something new will eventually come along. The sites/services where you put most of your attention could shut down or kick you off their platform, which has been happening a lot more frequently. Why not own something where you can’t get kicked off? Owning your own domain gives you a consistent place where people can find you, see what you’re up to, check your resume—whatever you want because the world is yours. I recently had a chat with one of my good friends who is a big proponent of people owning their own domain. According to him, “Communication is essential. Most communicate now over some form of internet-based medium. Friends local and global, new acquaintances keep in contact via the internet. When pandemic or natural disaster occur[s], we feel lost without the ability to know if our loved ones and friends are ok. We all must have a stake in the internet because [of] our ability to connect like never before. The ability to feel close when so far away.” Some rely solely on social media. While not a bad move, it is my belief that too much trust in any company will lead to disappointment. Social media companies aren’t going anywhere. I hope that they one day switch their focus from profits to connecting society and building relationships. They are making a profit through selling their user base information to advertisers, essentially turning their users into their product. “Companies collect data on user behaviors: when, where, and how users interact with their platform. All of this data is stored and leveraged by companies to better target advertising to their users. Sometimes, companies share users’ data with third-party entities, often without users’ knowledge or consent,” according to an article from Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement. And that isn’t even the end of it. By having your own patch of figurative land, you are able to share the truth. Have you ever heard of “deep fakes”? With the use of machine learning, a doctored video is created that can be easily mistaken as legitimate. Videos of former President Barack Obama have been made where it looks as if he has said the most outrageous things and the scary part is how believable it all is. The possibility of videos where you are saying things that you never said will be all too easy in the not too distant future. Having your own site enables you to have a source of truth. You control your own image. Start by creating your own site. Either learn how to build one yourself, hire someone to build it for you, or use a service like WIX or Squarespace. Monetize your site and make money for yourself. Having a say in what advertising you want to use. Have more of a say in who has your data. It’s clear to see that more of our connections are happening online, claim your patch of the internet now. Key Social Media Privacy Issues for 2020 - https://sopa.tulane.edu/…