Beware Of “The Deal” (On Walled Gardens)

Ahh yes, the walled gardens of Facebook, Google, Twitter and others.

Don’t they offer some cool free services?

  • Like the ability to connect with friends from the past, family and other people.
  • Don’t forget the free email accounts, chat services, video hosting, apps etc…
  • And of course, the ability to become a developer yourself in some certain ways.

The “deal,” as I like to call it, seems pretty good on the surface.

Right?

Almost everyone who participates in web culture uses at least one of these walled gardens in their daily lives.

Hell, I use Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and WordPress myself.

But today, after reading this article on Computerworld, I’m going to devote a bit of writing to the “other” part of the deal we get in exchange for the use of these free services.

Because it’s not all “good”.

Facebook invades privacy (and quite honestly, is trying to “become” the web), Google stores data and has a weird world view, Twitter supports “big media” at the wrong times, etc…

Yet, we still use these services.

I think we have to seriously, all at once, re-evaluate exactly what substantial and measurable value these companies are offering in exchange for your data, privacy, and for control of the web we hold dear.

Because if we don’t … “the deal” they offer us isn’t going to be that good any longer.

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