In a far away time and space I signed up on my first network at Fast Company. Since then I must have repeated that same action several times over with various degree of engagement and frustration on several other places. To say nothing of my personal contacts data on my PDA, which counts in the several hundreds and increases every day. To redo or not to redo, that is always the questions.
With each move to another platform I have become increasingly lazier about entering the information. And when I tried to delete my Ryze profile, for example, I could not figure out how and if the Ryze system would let me do that. In fact, many companies consider the data you've entered on their site theirs once it's behind their firewall. Yet, it is still your data, isn't it?
Putting aside obvious considerations of record keeping for audit purposes, which make issues of security and data protection ever important, why would a company not entrust your data with you?
Beyond the obvious inconvenience of having to redo your work many times over, there is the sticky philosophical point that comes with data ownership. Many companies have not yet joined the conversation on Web 2.0 tools and are still having a hard time understanding how to apply them to conversation. That's because they see the world from the inside out and the conversation is about a space in between. The company likes to be in control. What would happen if you let your customers be in charge?