Social media and me
So, social media has been quite useful for humanity, however, it has also become a big problem among people of all ages and demographics. Personally, I have been affected by it differently as I grow up and develop my thoughts and lifestyle.
The first contact I had with social media, was MSN Live Messenger, I used to talk to people I knew, play online games and of course, ping them constantly until I had an answer from them!
But I was just a little kid, and I only talked to family or friends from school. I was still inside this little bubble where I had no real idea of how big the internet could be. I also had a Club Penguin, but despite being in a multiplayer environment, the social aspect of it flew over my head at the time.
It was not until middle school, that I got an android device, I got Whatsapp, and got engaged into looking for apps and customization. At one point, I created a Facebook account. I was not allowed to have one, and I felt incredibly guilty the moment I did it, so I actually did not use it for years.
However, after I got permission to use it, I ended up pretty addicted to it, I joined different groups and follow random pages that were popular or that I heard from classmates at school. Some of them were fine, others were a little bit to edgy, and I was constantly distracted by memes and mostly useless posts. As I grew up, I started to delete old groups and follow more meaningful topics for me. And of course, due to all of this, I was feeding Facebook with personal data and ad revenue.
At some point I realized how problematic this was for my life. I managed to stay with good grades and keep up with real life shenanigans. But I still felt attracted to my phone and to Facebook.
I would like to say I stopped using Facebook because I started to use my phone and social media less. But no, looking back, the reason I did, was because I started to learn English, and I joined Reddit. I had heard of it for a long time, and it was actually pretty amazing. I started to see how most of the memes I saw in Facebook where born there, I got interested by the sense of anonymity and separation. How nobody cares about you, but the content being shared in the subreddits.
I joined a few communities related to my interests, Doctor Who, Origami, but I also joined a bunch of places full of toxicity and gossip. Yeah it was nice to see how news and memes came out here first, seeing how Youtubers got ideas for their videos and stuff like that. But at the same time, I started to be surrounded by politics, debates, conspiracies and a lot of weird things that I was not really interested in seeing, and yet, there I was. I am probably going to clean up my subreddit list one of these days, or just start from scratch with a new account. It is kinda amazing how powerful reddit’s Karma can be, I have a decent amount, and only because of that I have doubts about getting rid of my account, even though it has no real value.
At some point I also had a Twitter account, but I successfully deleted it. I have to say I only had it to participate in Giveaways of app codes and such, and I actually won a couple times, but well.
Anyways, after I grew aware of how most of social media disrespects my privacy, I ended up looking for alternatives, and I found Mastodon, which a social media app similar to Twitter, which can be self-hosted, so all of your data stays with you. Or you can join instances hosted by people you are willing to trust. The point is, there is no single centralized server where everything you do is tracked. At first, I decided to join a bunch of instances, since I did not know how federation actually worked back then. I have found some nice people, and I have been inspired to do things to improve my life, like making this website! Thanks to it, I have a way to share my thoughts without having unwanted eyes all over my data. Of course, anyone could scrap this and make some profile to identify me, but well, I am saying this willingly, without having to abide to any terms of service. Even if Netlify or GitHub, where this is site is hosted, have anything against me, I can at least keep all of my information locally and host it somewhere else.
Detox Day Log
Anyways, the original reasoning I made this post was to share what I was going to do during this day. Besides writing this blog, I have spent quite some time contributing some icons to the Arcticons Icon pack, while listening to podcasts on YouTube and AntennaPod.
Being honest, I opened Mastodon for about 4 minutes until I remembered which day it was, and I also opened Reddit for 8 minutes because I forgot again. But other than that, I have avoided social media, enabled Do not disturb, deleted some apps. I even decided to leave Nova Launcher, which has been my choice for years, and tried out Olauncher once again! I hid all of my those distracting app icons and ended up with a pretty sick looking setup, if I do say so myself.
After some though, I’ve also requested my data from Reddit. There is no way to export my data from the usual settings menu, but it can requested via this link. I’ve decided to finally delete my account. Having a history and social media points is not that important, and some peace of mind should be quite good.
After listening to the latest episode of Darknet Diaries, which is about the problems someone got because of having a good Instagram username. The fact that an account can be that valuable is mind-blowing! Thankfully none of the usernames I’ve used are worthy enough for someone to harass me because of them.
So, I started writing all of this yesterday, during Detox Day, and this final words are done a day after. I hope this movement takes off, in my case, I did not found a lot of movement in my country and language, although that might be because Facebook and other common social media I don’t use are more common here. Anyways, I found myself having a decent time, but I have to admit I spend quite a lot of it on YouTube, but it was not that bad, since I mostly use it as background sound and, as previously stated, to listen to a few podcasts and long videos that are only available there.
I deleted my Reddit account, funnily enough, the exported data only occupies a couple megabytes, since it does not include the images and videos, just csv files and hyperlinks. I think I will keep most of the posts and comments there since they don’t contain any compromising information. This is mostly about getting rid of social media and less about gaining privacy, although it is a nice plus. I’ve also exported my Instagram data, and I might delete it sometime soon.
The journey has been difficult, but I am happy with my progress. This has been day 51 of #100DaysToOffload