I think you are absolutely right Ian. (Please read article by Ian here.)
with our digital world, and now much more reliant on 'free' services from likes of google cloud/ apple emails etc. we run a big risk indeed! What if one day they decided it is not 'profitable' anymore and decide to turn it all off.. (or the new owner decided that).. well, google (unlike myspace is rather profitable) still decide to turn off services whenever they feel like (although hard decision no doubt!) like googleWave, google reader just last weeks.
Most joe-blogg like me are ignorant as to what we can do with the gigs of data we created during our digital lives, let alone the specific behaviour info and other data collected without us knowing (I would argue that also needs archiving for my own use!?).
Legacy wise, it is also a very important area to look at, for argument sake, if you and other readers are our future Shakespeare-to-be, if you are reliant on digital creative writing only and when an internet only firm that you mainly use decided to pull the plug, not only would you lose everything (if you didn't know how to backup from cloud) but your children will also suffer! Why?? When they inherit your estates, unlike Shakespeare's time, all the notes/love letters and drafts are not saved for the prosperity.. it is a dangerous trend and sadly technology world is very much like lemmings, even Microsoft is now going 'cloud'.. who would, who can really keep our own data safe!??
even if the cloud /social network services are well run and archived digitally, what happens when virus or the server centre(s) get fired or flooded or electricity spikes!?
our present outsourced model to the company that does no bad stuff like google (like myspace before) is rather dangerous, but what are the alternatives?
I in fact predicted the demise of facebook in 5years (ok by 2018!), if/when that happens, what of all the pictures/data/connections/likes of your 'previous facebook' lives?? does it mean you wasted all your time and energy?? very likely I'm afraid and yes, it will happen!
@GarethWong: Erm, no! & my predictions...(death of @Facebook in 5yrs) At 30 years old, the internet is inescapable - Telegraph http://bit.ly/13gsYyA