Because freedom matters

After one of myaxiom reluctant visits to Facebook yesterday, I posted this there:

If I were actually the person Facebook advertised to, I would be an impotent, elderly, diabetic, hairy (or hairless) philandering cancer patient, heart attack risk, snoring victim, wannabe business person, gambling and cruise boat addict, and possible IBM Cloud customer in need of business and credit cards I already have.

Sixty-eight likes and dozens of comments followed. Most were from people I know, most of whom were well-known bloggers a decade ago, when blogging was still hot shit. Some were funny (“You’re not?”). Some offered advice (“You should like more interesting stuff”). Some explained how to get along with it (“I’ve always figured the purpose of Internet ads was to remind me what I just bought from Amazon”). One stung: “So much for The Intention Economy.”

So I replied with this:

Great to see ya’ll here. Glad you took the bait. Now for something less fun.

I was told last week by an advertising dude about a company that has increased its revenues by 49% using surveillance-based personalized advertising.The ratio of respondents was 1 in a 1000. The number of times that 1 was exposed to the same personalized ad before clicking on it was 70.

He had read, appreciated and agreed with The Intention Economy, and he told me I would hate to hear that advertising success story. He was correct. I did.

I also hate that nearly all the readers all of us ever had on our own blogs are now here. Howdy.

Relatively speaking, writing on my own blog, which averages zero comments from dozens of readers (there used to be many thousands), seems a waste. Wanna write short? Do it in Facebook or Twitter. Wanna write long? Do it in Medium. Wanna write on your own DIY publication? Knock yourself out.

And, because the bloggers among us have already done that, we’re here.

So let’s face it: the leverage of DIY is going down. Want readers, listeners or viewers? Hey, it’s a free market. Choose your captor.

I’ve been working all my adult life toward making people independent, and proving that personal independence is good for business as well as for hacking and other sources of pleasure and productivity. But I wonder whether or not most people, including all of us here, would rather operate in captivity. Hey, it’s where everybody else is. Why not?

Here’s why. It’s the good ship Axiom: . Think about it.

Earth is the Net. It’s still ours: See you back home.

That’s where we are now.



This entry was posted in Blogging, Business, Cluetrain, marketing, Personal, Personal clouds, problems, Technology, VRM. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Because freedom matters

  1. Geoff says:

    and yet blogs such as have very vibrant comment threads…

  2. Doc Searls says:

    True. It helps that Fred is not only good, but has money lots of people want.

  3. Esme says:

    Exactly. If you were worth hundreds of millions of dollars or were managing a large VC fund, you’d have many more commenters.

    Most people don’t care about independence. They want convenience. Facebook is convenient.

    I unfollowed all but 2 people on Facebook. Feels good.

    I have a travel site called Mapplr, where I post reviews of hotels and restaurants, as well as travel guides. I prefer to do this over posting on Tripadvisor. But most people will never see my reviews because Google shows Tripadvisor reviews and reviews from mainstream media sites.

  4. AKMA says:

    I hear you, Doc. I had a lot of server problems, then got busy, then felt blog-blocked for a while, and eventually haven’t blogged in a few months. But part of the reason I kept at it back in the old school days came from the rich interaction from fellow bloggers.

    Might it make sense to form a sort of bloggers’ union, who pledge to keep their content on blogs and to FB or tweet mostly just pointers to one’s own (or others’) blogs? If I knew you and David and Jeneane and Steve Himmer and Shelley and (bless us all) Chris and Liz and Halley and Frank and Phil Cubeta (who is actually among the most persistent bloggers among us, apart from Dave W) were putting our links where our nostalgic mouths were (that sounds awful), it might help motivate us to wean ourselves from the silos.

    • Doc Searls says:

      I like the idea of a bloggers union. And I’m chuckling at the mousketeer roll call. Indeed. 🙂

      I also think what we’re in now is a phase. Of course, so is everything. A single long life is a phase. The industrial age is a phase and it may be peaking right now.

      The other day I heard myself saying “It’s not turtles all the way down. It’s scaffolding. Everything is provisional.” Not sure I disagree with that yet.

      Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the other silos all work, just like castles and city states worked in their time.

      Guess I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done: everything I can, everywhere I can.

      Thanks for replying, everybody.

  5. Mousekateer Roll Call.

    I’m digging AKMA’s idea.
    As the initial “look shiny” joy of adding high school acquaintances inevitably turned into the “go the fuck away” reality of blocking app spam, clickbait, ad spam and political stupidity, my FB stream is down to a dozen things a day of pretty much family members and friends who never blogged to begin with.

    The couple dozen FB pages that I’ve liked (local restaurants, authors and musicians) have disappeared even though I don’t want them to, but I figured out how to suck them into the RSS feed that I stubbornly continue to use.

    My personal blog is mostly dead, because I’m too busy working and spending time with my high school son and his various extra-curriculars.

    BUT there’s a big value in to me in rebuilding and maintaining that network of contacts and colleagues that blogging created.

  6. PJ says:

    I think solutions like might help ; post to your blog once then crosspost to the silo(s)-of-the-moment. Keep control of your own content.

  7. Matt Friedrichs says:

    reading on this blog and many others but mostly in an rss reader and mostly without comment.

  8. Chris says:

    facebook has ads???

  9. Pingback: Doc Searls Weblog · On taking personalized ads personally

  10. Pingback: Doc Searls Weblog · Captivity rules

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  12. Please continue to write on your blog. I still use RSS reader.

  13. Euan says:

    I used to link to my blog from Facebook, Twitter etc until someone pointed out that I was expecting them to move from where they were to where I wanted them to be and why didn’t I just re-post the content from my blog.

    I still read loads of blogs using RSS and I’ll never stop posting to my blog because it’s my space but I’m really enjoying the conversations in Facebook and even Linkedin appears to have a pulse after all these years!

    Like I said on my blog the other day I get wearied with all the buzz and bluster around social media but still love the connections – however and wherever they happen.

  14. guilty as charged, my blog has been abandoned for many months, in between a shitty year on the personal level and a server move that just keeps staying in limbo. I’ve been blogging again these last months on the new server and really intend to keep going. But Facebook is where almost all my interaction is.

    Bloggers Union, I love the idea, and we gave something with that vibe a shot some time back: (check the sidebar and about link).

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