Why I will no longer post on Google+

I won’t be posting on Google+ anymore.

There are a few reasons why. The first is that I feel about Google+ the same way – if not more – than I felt about Twitter and Facebook: a company should not be the sole vault and arbiter of my data. I have a little money. I have computer skills. I setup a home server long ago and started running federated social network programs on it, so that I own the data and can share it with whom I want. That’s the way sharing is supposed to work. I’m going to transition from the StatusNet social protocol to the Pump social protocol over the next year, but for now the best way to find me in a safe and comfortable environment is to join one of the federated StatusNet instances and follow me at steve@chirp.cooleysekula.net. Heck, if you want an invite to my own instance of StatusNet so you can make your account, let me know. No promises about stability, of course. 😉

The second reason is related to the first. I want to own my data, and share it with whom I want. For that, if I want to push something to G+, it needs to have a write API. For the two years of its existence, despite no technological barriers to doing this, they have never released a write API. G+ is officially a WORSE walled garden than Facebook or Twitter.

There is a “creep factor” reason as well. I normally dismiss other people when they talk about the “Google Creep Factor,” but today I finally had my own moment.

The revelation of the existence of the PRISM domestic spying program makes me even more sensitive to where my data calls “home.” I am proud to have a private server that is not subject to the more lax search and seizure laws that companies seem to be governed by; in principle, at least, the government must obtain a real warrant to get access to my server, because it’s in my private home, and I am more protected by the Constitutional freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. A friend of mine recently said that G+ told him “his profile was incomplete” and that to complete it he needed to verify a detail that G+ had determined by investigating his friends and habits on G+. He posted the screen capture of the G+ request. It said, basically, “7 of your friends work at RedHat. Do you work at RedHat, too?” Hide-and-go-fuck-yourself, G+.

I’m sorry, but when a social network stops letting you control your data and choose how and with whom you share, and starts actively investigating you and interrogating you for details, it ceases to be a friend to you and becomes a friend to the police or the FBI. It’s just creepy.

These are the reasons you’ll no longer find me posting things on G+.

By steve

I am a husband, son, and a Professor of Physics at Southern Methodist University. Physics may be my favorite thing to do, but I like to do a little bit of everything: writing, running, biking, hiking, drumming, gardening, carpentry, computer programming, painting, drawing, eating and sleeping. I earned a Ph.D. in Physics in 2004 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I teach courses in physics and the scientific method at SMU, and I love to spend time with my family. All things written in here are my own, unless otherwise attributed; don't you go blaming my employer or my family for me.

2 comments

  1. Maybe this is of help for you:

    I want to try to start every federational social service like Diaspora, Pumpio, Statusnet, Owncloud, Mediagoblin, etc.

    I tried first with Pumpio and I could install and run it in almost 30 minutes. This note and this one I said how I did it and has all the shell commands I use for installing and starting the server.

    I missed the security issues(SSL and things like that), but worked great. Remember that Pumpio is in alpha state.

    Cheers!

  2. ¡Ahh! Jaja 😀

    I recognize you! 😀 you’re already in Pumpio! 😛 And I have you in my “Following” list! 😛

    World is small! 😀 jaja

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