But this scenario needs to remind us that after all the effort we may put into our profile on any given social network, it is never ours.
It goes like this: sparkly new startup comes up with a great social idea.
You hesitate, wondering if to trust this upstart with your photos/thoughts/answers/ideas/social life/professional life/life of your first born.
Startup says: trust us. Your friends have joined up, trust us!
You do, building a profile, linking to friends, adding your comments, photos, links, thoughts. Sure enough, like a well tended garden, your profile begins to bloom, friends come by to visit and you check in once a day to make sure it’s still well tended.
Now the startup is no longer a startup, it’s a big company, and it succeeded because of all the sharing you and your friends did. By providing the platform, it enabled you to share great content. Everyone is having fun. You enjoy sharing content and the company enjoys the profits it makes advertising next to it. It’s true that they need your content, but they don’t really need each and every member so it can step on a few toes, delete an account that it thinks is misbehaving without holding a trial and hearing both sides.
My point is that we’re used to seeing our profiles as, well, ours. My LinkedIn profile is essential for my job search. My Facebook profile is the best way I have of staying in touch with my friends. My Gmail account is a five year history of all my correspondence, some frivolous but some truly important. Not having access to any of those three would cause me extreme pain.
Yet, even after reading Thomas Hawk’s blog post, even as I’m thinking how angry and frustrated I’d feel if one of my accounts was shut down, I’m still here, emailing, updating, poking, commenting and yes, tweeting.