On using a variety of information services

In the last couple of weeks I’ve:

  • Deactivated my Facebook account.
  • Logged out of Twitter on my desktop.
  • Stopped using Google Contacts, Calendar and Photos

I’m not really sure why, but there it is, I have. I think over the last five years in excitement at the good user experience and high user adoption, I forgot why I was negative about such centralised, out of control services in the first place.

There’s something dehumanising about being subject to them. The behaviour patterns they induce feel harmful to me. They disengage me from the world.

We need to think about and improve our information systems to be good for us, empowering, productive. Just using the default commoditised, VC-funded options leaves no room for that. We’re stuck with whatever we’re given. There’s no choice, no competition, no diversity. It’s dangerously too early to have no diversity in information systems.

It used to be that there was constant innovation and public discussion and experimentation about how social groups are formed and how communication happened on the network. The nearest you see now is discussion of varying moderation policies of subreddits, which is at least healthy. More of that please.

So instead…

  • I’m posting on this blog, which uses software (WordPress) I’ve been using for 15 years, on a server run by Bytemark, a northern UK small business.
  • I use Riot for some discussions, such as #redecentralize.
  • My contacts and calendar have gone over to Fastmail which I was using anyway.
  • My photos I keep myself, on the same Bytemark server, synced to my laptop and phone with bits of string and Resilio.

In the main this costs more in cash and time for me to do. Is it worth it? That’s not really the question, it isn’t really a choice.

If you want to keep in touch, perhaps email me or write me a letter or phone me up. Or write a blog post on your own blog, and leave the link in a comment here. Join a channel I’m in in Riot and say hello to me. Invite me to join some new blockchain-based chat system I haven’t heard of yet. Invite me to the pub by SMS. Come round to my house to see me.

Off to not Tweet this. Maybe you could give me a pingback, or leave a comment!

2 thoughts on “On using a variety of information services

  1. Facebook is such a waste of time. How many emails a day can one cope with. I often delete before reading as the posts are so trivial, even for a dunce like me! All this “Like” stuff seems childish. I think I will opt out too.

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