By "local first", I mean my data must be stored locally on my devices or my servers as opposed to stored in centralized cloud owned by large companies.
I store my photos on my file server and then when I share photos I select some photos and create a gallery on my web server and send the address by email to the persons who should be able to see the photos.
I keep the original photos to keep the highest quality.
My web server and file server are in my home, nothing is stored in the cloud.
For messaging, I use email and all the messages are stored in the client. It is fast to search and always available.
I have a machine where I backup all my data, so when there is a data loss it is not a problem and I restore from backup.
When personal data is saved online in cloud, the drawback are:
- the company storing can data mine the data
- the data is sometimes recompressed and degraded, so don't use the cloud to backup your photos, videos or music.
- the cloud or the internet can be offline, it happens a few times a year
- terms and conditions change often: the service is free and after a while the users are forced to pay, for example: dropbox
- the user interface changes overtime and becomes unusable, for example: gmail
- it is difficult to organize and search the data
- the data can become unavailable or you don't have the program to access your data
- your account can be locked or you lost the password and recovery doesn't work, then your data is lost
- the company storing can go bankrupt
Storing data locally takes a bit of time like everything, I'm slighly changing my setup or replacing failing hardware every few month.