A couple of months ago, I chose to leave the virtual worlds of Facebook and Twitter, when some annoying advertisements started to appear in my news feed. This wasn't the only reason for my decision, but rather one of the many. I didn't want to be part of a culture where others determine your value based on how many contacts you have. I still think that the point of a network is to have meaningful conversations, not to be judged prematurely. Any conversation that we have there is an extension of those that are already happening in real life. The more we speak virtually, the less we can communicate live, which can be harmful. What we say online remains for a long time and anyone can judge us because of it. I have heard that some people started to refuse working with others whose accounts they haven't seen yet. I don't think that this is healthy, but this shows that recent technology has given more power to the people willing to exert it. Interestingly, even when written words tend to stay, many people will probably not remember what we have discussed some time ago. Digital words seem to be more fleeting when they aren't backed with a personal conversation in a memorable way.
When we choose to delete our accounts, our data will be lost if the service we were part of hasn't offered a way to export it. The longer we stay on a social network, the more data we generate, and if needed, the harder it becomes to delete it. Some services will even ask us to defne a “good reason” why they should delete our account, which is a sign that they already treat our data as theirs, subjected to their terms and conditions. An easy-to-use application is also easy-to-use during data removal; it won't require many individual interactions for each post we want to remove and it won't test our patience animating popups asking for “OK” along the way. But how is our data actually deleted? Is it just hidden from view or is it removed from all hard drives it has been mirrored to? What would be the probability for the last?
The more data we have, the more important the export functionality becomes. Everyone needs to own their data and be able to do whatever they want with it. Many applications already offer this functionality which is nice. It takes, cumulatively seen, a lot of time and effort to generate it. In an unfortunate event causing data loss for some reason, it would be nice to know that everything can be restored to the original state. Transfering the data to a place where people feel more comfortable with it can further motivate them to create more of it. Twitter also promotes a more open space by allowing everyone to export their data. Although I have chosen to remove my account, I felt bad for deleting what should have been available to the community, with or without my participation. It didn't immediately occur to me that this data can be presented here. So I tried to restore my tweets by slightly modifying the original data and writing a short script to parse it. You may still find these bits valuable and for me they serve as a history of thoughts. Although blog posts will continue to have higher priority, I may still write some bits occasionally if I believe in their message of importance.
Note that a side effect of using link shorteners is that if the content can no longer be crawled, they can become invalid. I didn't knew that, which is why many of the older links in the tweets may no longer be valid. This is another reason to be descriptive about the content behind the link by providing the keywords with which future searches will possibly be made.
I hope that you will find something interesting there.