Today we begin a fresh new fiscal year after celebrating our ninth anniversary of incorporation on July 27th, 2021. Our ninth year was largely constrained by COVID-nineteen. Beyond that, the term “nein”, a homonym of nine, which in German means “no”, summarises well three notable events of this past year.
In October, we said “nein” to Facebook. To quote Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher (yes, there is a theme here):
“Treat people as an end, and never as a means to an end.”
In a previous blog post, Data is Human, we cite that quote, and argue that “if companies continue to treat user data as a means to an end, the consequence may well be their users finding a means, however extreme, to end the relationship.” Indeed, we ended the relationship, writing in our parting post:
Farewell Facebook. As of October 2020, reelyActive will no longer be active on this platform because our values do not align with Facebook’s behaviour, most notably Facebook’s view of users as a means to an end.
Not long thereafter, we said “nein” to Instagram. This decision was based on principle due to Instagram’s association with Facebook, and made easier by the fact that Mrs. Barnowl, our stuffy mascot star of our Instagram account, had few opportunities to travel and share with her followers due to the pandemic. Our parting bio reads:
We bid farewell to Instagram in 2020 as the values of our respective organisations have diverged. Thanks nonetheless for owl the fun times!
Finally, and most begrudgingly, we said “nein” to YouTube following their June 1st change to their Terms of Service. In short, YouTube now reserves the right to run ads on all videos, treating all its users, both viewers and creators alike, as a means to an end.
For a business like ours, YouTube
is was purely about discoverability, not monetisation. We expected to find an option to pay YouTube to keep our videos ad-free, but alas, this was not part of their plan. So we’ve migrated to Cloudflare Stream as our video hosting platform which is working out great so far, aside from the obvious setback to discoverability.
There you have it: nine was very much a year of “nein”.
In hindsight, are we surprised? Nein. We have indeed been anticipating the social dilemma.
Do we nonetheless remain optimistic that we’ll have novel, purposeful alternatives to which to say yes in the future? Yeah! (Ja?)