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Your Audience Owns Your Content

If you hadn’t heard, I’m a contributing blogger for Social Solutions Collective. And the Collective has a weekly Twitter chat, #collectivechat, on Mondays.

This week we talked about owned vs. leased digital real estate. One of the questions was “Who ‘owns’ the content you post online?”

I’ll admit, my answer, by and large, was the same as most everyone else: You do. But I had a nagging devil’s advocate in the back of my mind. So I answered:

And that’s what I’m going to do.

Why you own your content

You create your content, so that gives you a right to receive credit when it is shared. You went through that hard work to make content that would be good, useful and used.

You are the one putting all the hard work and effort into getting an idea, a little wisp of a thing floating around in your head, onto paper or photo or video or whatever.

That’s your work, from start to finish, and that’s why it’s your content.

Why your audience owns your content

But let’s get things straight: Just because you create content doesn’t mean you own the content. You can slave over that blog post, spend hours getting the right lighting or nitpick over video edits, but it doesn’t mean you own the content.

Sure, it might be your copyright, your hard work, but it’s not yours.

It belongs to your audience. To your community.

After all, that’s who you created the content for. So it’s their’s to read, to view, to consume, to share. It’s their’s to modify, to tweak, to use.

And if your community doesn’t use, consume, share or discuss your content, does it really matter who owns it?

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