There’s a lot of debate around people’s data on the internet: who holds it, who owns it, who controls it, how you should be able to access it, how other “parties” should access it, and so on and so forth.
As I was uploading photos on Flickr for the first time the other day (yes, I’m the equivalent of a Neanderthal in the IT geek world, as I didn’t own a digital camera till the year 2008) it occurred to me that there’s more to it than that. Apart from the concerns mentioned above, I feel like I’m missing something. I own those pictures I took, but I don’t have a physical object that represents them (the external hard drive doesn’t count).
This extends far beyond pictures. Take mp3 vs. LP/CD/Tape. Or e-books vs. err, regular books. There’s something satisfying about having a physical object. Something you can look at, hold, feel, be proud of and have it shining down at you from your shelf. Something that gives you the feeling of ownership. And although a lot of things are moving into the digital world and future generations will have less and less to do with physical objects and deal even more in digital entities, I don’t think that feeling of owning a real object will go away. I think it’s something engrained into our genes over thousands of years, and people will keep seeking to satisfy it, one way or another.