The Shift in Data Ownership and How to Bring it Back Home
The history of data is long, fascinating, and completely out of the scope of this article. Today we’d like to focus on data ownership.
Data is Queen
It’s no secret that data and analytics have become the new resource for creating economic and social value in the 21t century. Thus, data helps communities prosper, grow, and march forward. In fact, having data is crucial for your community’s success.
Who owns the data now?
As you most likely already noticed if you have either a smartphone, a computer, or just other human beings around you, hi-tech giants such as social networks or powerful search engines own, manage, and sell tremendous amounts of data. Our data.
For this reason, if the center of the activity of your community is on an imaginary social network called Flockbook for example, Flockbook is the one owning your members’ details, your community insights and analytics, and in some cases even your communication channel with your members. And if for some reason Flockbook decides to “Unfriend” you, good luck restoring this project you’ve built with your own hands. It’s almost impossible rebuilding your community without owning the data- your data. Do you think it won’t happen to you? Check out what happened when a real social network named Facebook “accidentally” cut off essential information services and news content in Australia last February.
What brought us here?
The fall of the website – The dawn of social networks
The shift from personal/business websites to social networks had begun in the first decade of this millennium and never stopped with roughly 2.85 billion active users on Facebook alone as of the first quarter of 2021. This shift has not only stripped websites of their power as hosts and sellers but also of their customers’ data, pushing it straight to the hands of these tech giants who had the tools to accumulate it and generate revenues.
How did this happen?
In a nutshell, there are two main factors that made this shift possible. On the consumer side, it was the fact that users were getting used to living in multi-platforms offering them a variety of services and a whole social and digital reality. Users literally “moved” to social networks. This fact also increased the sense of burden when needing to provide personal data multiple times for different purposes.
On the companies’ side, it was mainly the need to stay close to the customers but also the lack of tools to accumulate and analyze data. To get their data then, businesses and communities had to pay these social networks and that’s exactly what they did, paid for their own customers’ data. While they were trying to get closer to their people, communities inadvertently put mediators between them and their members, giving third parties the power to limit their own ability to engage, communicate and have a direct impact.
The Obvious Conclusion:
In order to build an independent, vibrant, and resilient community, you need to have control over your data and content. That’s a fact. Being dependent on external resources for basics such as community preferences is not only irresponsible and inefficient, it also does not make sense. At the end of the day, this is your data, data that belongs to your community. When this data stays inside the community, the whole community wins.
Bring your community back home
If you expect this last paragraph to be some smooth call-to-action on what we can offer you’re absolutely wrong. This is going to be blunt.
with offers an adaptable platform in which everyone has the ability to participate, purchase, interact and easily initiate community offerings. A platform that is a real home for all acting forces inside the community, where members have the power to create and managers have insights about community preferences, trends, and leaders, enabling them to make data-based decisions and produce valuable reports with a click.
Bring your community back home, win back ownership of your data, be better at doing good.
As Theodore Parker once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”