Biting the bullet

It’s a great place to be! I’ve been here some time now, and I, for one, have sure have enjoyed it so far! All the stuff I saw, all the places I’ve been, and all of the people I’ve met… I cherish all of the memories shared with them. But it has to stop now. At least the way I’ve been enjoying it lately. It’s not the same anymore. This place is getting darker by the minute. And I no longer want to be part of all these things that are ruining it.Facebook delete account For now, I’ve deleted my Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Twitter account and  I want to make 2014 the epic year that I set myself free from all Google’s products as well.

The ‘but why?’ part

You might ask, why? Why go through all of the pain. Disconnect yourself from the outside world like that. How about the friends and family out there that want to poke you, invite you to parties and share their games with you.   What about all these awesome pictures people want to share with you. Yes I’ll miss some of that… , but it’s all getting too expensive for me. These services cost us no money, I know. The actual price is our privacy, huge chunks of our valuable time and much more. I’ll elaborate on that after the short intermezzo.

Intermezzo

In case you’re not yet aware, at this point this article has evolved. It just went from an informative article where I announced that I’m no longer on the listed services, to a rant about all the things that made me quit them. If you’re not into rants then you should stop reading and probably just finish what you wanted  to do when you fired up your browser. This was probably not the thing you were looking for. On the other hand, if you have some time left and/or like rants, you’ve come to the right place! Turn of your phone, close the blinds, dim the lights, and enjoy the ride. If you are neither of the above: Hi mom! You’ll just have to read through it. It’s one of those obligations you have as a parent, knowing what your offspring is doing/thinking.

Cost

Time. I’m not sure how it could all come this far, but I became aware of how much time I spend on these networks. It’s there, at all possible moments and all possible locations troughout my days. I wake up, grab my phone, shut the alarm, check up on Twitter.
While sitting at my desk, the twitter app is always open, and has it’s dedicated place on my “communication” window, next to the mail app, internal chat-tool, etc…
It became some kind of flow… Whenever I unlock my phone, I fire up Twitter followed by Facebook, just to get a quick update on the latest posts. This even when I’m in he middle of something like while consuming a meal, or when I’m in a conversation, etc…
The urge to be up-to-date on all these things has grown into some kind of obsession nowadays and when observing people around me I notice that I’m not the only one with this problem.
Yes, we can get a lot of information out of it and we often do. But is it worth the time. Isn’t

.PrivacyWe’re sometimes putting information out there that we may and probably will sooner or later, regret.
Sure, you’re able to set privacy settings like “only show to friends”, or “hide from crawlers”, and all things alike.
But the ownership from the data became the social network (and its shareholders). It’s all being stored and packed as a product, ready to be processed and monetised. And make no mistake, ethics have no place in a multi-billion industry.
Take for example the omnipotent company Google. They’re active in so many different fields, you would be surprised. Even now they offer their Google wallet card, in a move towards the banking business.
Imagine them partnering up with your health insurance tomorrow.
Think about all the stuff you’ve entrusted to their little search-bar.
You’ve told it things, personal stuff, stuff you wouldn’t even tell your parents or spouse.

It’s not only the industry itself seeking to harvest and process your personal information or whereabouts.
As the many leaked documents on the wikileaks page reveal, we now can be sure that a lot of government funded agencies and their partners are also after our asses. The ‘nothing to hide’ argument has been opposed multiple times, with decent explanation to it.
You can’t have a democracy in a world where your every doing is being screened. You can’t have a peaceful state of mind when knowing that you’re constantly monitored. There would be no such thing as positive evolution when there is no possible way left to break the law.
Imagine the second world war, with a nazi-power that had access to the technical gadgets that are now being used by the surveillance state we live in. Not a single jew would have survived.

They’re tracking everything you do. Every connection you make, every page you visit, every single interest you show, every disease you look up and every porn title you watch. They store all encrypted data they capture, to be decrypted somewhere in the future when they’ll have the processing-power for it.

Then there is a third party involved that’s often forgotten in the other rants outs there. Thieves.
Breaching site’s and stealing database content from companies is a full time job for quite some people. They’re selling the data to the highest bidder and no, you have no control over that either.

When creating an account on those platforms such as Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others, you have to stop thinking of the stuff you put on it as yours, because it isn’t. It’s theirs from that point on and they do with it whatever they want. The privacy laws protecting it are being nibbled on. It’s being destroyed bit by bit, by the many politicians out there working in favour of the many lobby-groups.

Another reason for me to stop being part of this all, is the feeling I get of it all being some kind of circle-jerk-fest.
When I started twitter, I decided to follow all kinds of people to not limit my views to this one segment of opinions and articles shared by like-minded people.
I’ve started out following all kinds of politicians, from the extreme left- to the extreme-right side of the spectrum.
I started following twitter accounts of programs I didn’t even use, just to know what new stuff they’d implement.
But that’s a rather frustrating thing to do. It creates an overload of information, and stuff that’s really interesting is being lost in the noise or it gets less attention because a part of that goes to all the other crap. I find the stuff I scroll trough in my rss feed to be often more informative and more well-argued than the 140-character-long news items.

Future

As for now, I’m actively seeking the social networks or other tracking accounts and deleting them one by one.
The hardest of them, being Google, will be the last one I remove as I have too much of my daily life depending on it atm.
I use an Android phone, so am well sucked into the Google world.
Even this very blog is infested with Google. There are the google plus buttons, the Google Analytics injecting cookies, the posting to G+ etc.
I hope to make 2014 the year I’m no longer depending on such services. This to understand that I’ll never be 100% free of such stuff, as for example the workplace requires me to use certain products.
But i’m going to try to make the private stuff out there “in the cloud” as minimal as possible.

People wanting to share with me can still do so through email, or in person.
Me wanting to share with the world, is still possible through this blog.
Nothing changed 🙂

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