I Own It

Trying to figure out what caused my meltdown earlier. It was a combination of things. The combo got me thinking, which in turn made me more than a little angry.

You all know that I appreciate criticism, good or bad. I welcome any and all feedback, always have, and always will. I know most of you enjoy the stuff I do, even if you don’t say anything. Then there are the few out there living in their mother’s basement with her 12 cats that don’t know any better. The ones that never learned how to be nice.

I also take great pride, and ownership, of everything I do. If I make a mistake, I admit it. If I do something that isn’t particularly good, I admit it.

Then what’s the problem?

Let’s say I put something on a page on the internet, like a video at youtube or a post at Motoringfile. Those have my name on it. If you are asked who’s stuff you are watching or reading, the answer would be Don Burnside’s.

Then let’s say you decide to leave a comment on my video or my post. It’s your comment, with whatever name you have choosen to use this particular day. Good or bad, there it is.

Attached to something that I created.

Suddenly, the thing that I have spent a fair amount of time creating has been lowered (or raised) to the level of the new content tacked on. Those comments, good or bad, have become part of **my content**.

The problem is not that I can’t handle the comments, the problem is that every negative comment, I feel, degrades the quality of my content.

While I could delete the comments that I think are the most damaging, I also, really, can’t. As much as I think it’s not fair for you to come along and say something that I have done sucks or that I was wrong (ahem, anonymously, ahem), it’s just as unfair for me to censor what you say.

Quite a pickle to say the least.

I have removed all of my videos from YouTube. I have closed my Vimeo account. Hidden my flickr photos as much as I can without removing that account and will be shutting down my friendfeed account this week. There are other things that I will be doing, or have done, that are equally drastic.

All of this while I regroup and figure out the best way for me to display the stuff I make in a way that is easy for you to get it, while at the same time keeping full control over how it is displayed. Criticize all you want, but it’s time for you to find a new place to do it.

This might seem silly to many of you. Over the top? I’m too sensitive? Maybe. But when was the last time you saw a comment form at the movie theatre? Or at the end of a song on your iPod? Or on a painting in a museum?

It’s time for me to regain control over the stuff I own. This might seem anti-internet, and maybe to an extent it is. But how many times do I have to paint over the graffiti on the walls before doing something about it?

This won’t be a process that I will be sharing with you or look for your input on. It is something I feel I have to do and when it’s done it will be done and that’s when I’ll be back.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at donburnside.com, host at whiteroofradio.com and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.