I’m still tossing around the question of whether it’s worth it to free yourself from dependence on the cloud. I wonder if freedom from dependence is a free as it seems. When I consider this idea of freedom as lack of dependence, I imagine the archetypal survivalists, the pioneers. They grew their own food, mended their own clothes, did their own teaching, and apart from infrequent visits to town, weren’t dependent on anyone for very much. But….
The price they paid was that they had to be able to do almost anything, from fighting off bears to tending to livestock, to repairing tools. Not only did this take a great deal of time, but learning to do all these things was no small feat, either. The trade off of civilization is becoming dependent on others so that you can spend your time doing something that you’re good at and like to do (hopefully).
So what does this have to do with Google Apps? Many (not all, but many) of those I see encouraging independence from the cloud are educational technologists – the kind of people for whom setting up laconica or wordpress is often something they’re good at and like to do (that’s how they ended up educational technologists). People who are not educational technologists face more acutely the trade off of independence vs. spending your time doing what you want to do rather than all the things you need to do in order to be independent.
In the pre-industrial world, independence was replaced by interdependence. The scop needed the farmer to grow food, who needed the carpenter to fix his barn, who needed (or at least wanted) the scop to entertain him with tales in the evening. The problem is that Google doesn’t need us, just attention. How might we use technology to scale down so that we are once again interdependent?