Digital New Year’s Resolutions

LAST UPDATED: December 30th, 2019

The year 2020 is here.  Do you have any digital New Year’s resolutions?  2020 sounds so science fiction-like, right? George Orwell’s classic 1984 and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey have been reduced to shelves categorized as classics.  In fact, this year I reach an age milestone that might make me a classic.  UGH. Every December I do a simple evaluation of my current digital footprint and come up with my own digital New Year’s resolutions.

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In my social media circle I know I strain the ears and eyes of my fellow digital travelers reminding them that Facebook is 100% evil and that Google, Microsoft, Adobe and other monopolistic forces are all striving to strip every molecule of data from your personal habits and interests in the goals of maximizing their advertising revenue.

Not long ago, the idea of having a “smart” refrigerator sounded cool.  Now it scares me.  Smart washer and dryer.  No thanks.  Smart oven.  No thanks.  Alexa and Google Home.  No thanks.  Smart TV remote.  No thanks.

These monopolies are making it so that streaming entertainment is the best option.  What that translates to is that once again 100’s of companies can now aggregate your personal data to sell you that cheeseburger you no longer wanted.

Ok, so, as a single individual – what can I do to act responsibly and not become a total victim?

  • Use as few as apps as possible. Do not use any Facebook app or Messenger, just use your web browser.
  • Quit using Google News. Similar to Facebook, I can now tell the news I receive is being curated based on my viewing habits, not just the news.  This scares me.
  • Purge your Facebook friends list.  Sure, some of  you might use your personal page for business….but, maybe evaluate what that really nets out for you?  I went from 1500+ friends to less than 60 and my life is alot simpler.  All those people I thought I should get reconnected with?  Nah.  I also unliked all pages as much as possible and now I am down to less than 10 pages.  Since Facebook thought they could outsmart you and charge business pages extra and maybe allow those to show up in your feed – I saw that and said screw that.  If I really want to know about a business, I can bookmark their website. In fact, because Facebook tries to get me to friend your friends of your friends of your friends and your friends…I now BLOCK all those recommended friends and I proudly have over 2500 blocked people.  That is the only way to protect your privacy regardless of your settings.
  • If your browser of choice is either Firefox or Chrome, modify your settings to clear your browser history everytime you close your browser.  Most of these big time companies like Amazon and Facebook have javascripts in their pages so that they can pull from your cache and see where you have been to maximize their ad revenue.
  • Change your damn passwords!  LIKE NOW!
  • If you haven’t already, create a Gmail account strictly for everything on the web and not personal.  All your Amazon and social media accounts.  Keep your personal email personal.

These are just a few of my digital New Year’s resolutions.  The social media stuff can be difficult because you feel like when you purge your Facebook friends list or business pages someone is going to hate you.  Believe me, NO ONE CARES.

If I took my own advice, walking every morning would improve my health dramatically.  Same with social media and the internet.  I need to make good choices for the long haul.

Good luck with your Digital New Year’s Resolutions and don’t forget to ask yourself – Do I really need some inanimate device to tell me what time it is?  Keep your digital behavior to yourself!

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