Time has managed to slip away from me again this past month—what felt like shooting off writing an entry a weekend into the future has quickly turned into an entire calendar month. I’d started drafting an update shortly after my last one regarding changing my internet/writing habits and spending more time updating here and virtually none inside of status update composers on social media platforms. But then the news broke on the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, which changed the focus of that draft, but at the same time put me off from internet activity as a whole.
It annoys me that I find myself hard-pressed to compose a post worth publishing, but I don’t have any semblance of writer’s block when it comes to social media missives. Having a deeper conceptual grasp of technology at large than most people do, I also know it’s a long-term better practice to blog than to offset all your life’s content to a social media. If they ever go away a la MySpace, all that gets lost too. Even though the big companies now allow you to export data, you’re not getting an offline copy of the website to neatly sift through, and that’s not even accounting for having to gather enough local disk space to hold a copy of the data you download. Blogs are a universal format that are easily transferred/archived/browsed, and from a purist perspective on personal publishing, a long form entry with no engagement is ultimately worth far more than a blurb smattered in likes. In my time mostly-offline this past month, it’s been nice having the extra mental bandwidth not wasted online. I’ve also been spending that time auditing my accounts and devices. I started with steps to minimize the amount of data I give to Facebook, and have slowly working at doing that same kind of maintenance with all of my other internet accounts.
While I would love to just pull the cord, delete my Facebook account altogether and go back to living in the world without like I once used to, it’s just regrettably not practical. There’s a handful of services that use Facebook as their only login method, and turning my back on the company completely would also mean quitting all of the other products under their umbrella. Yet, the bosses at work have cemented themselves in WhatsApp as their primary business messaging tool, and Instagram is (resentfully) a good discovery & platform, the rare times I actually use it. Online presence and digital marketing have become such an indelible part of modern life, and something I can’t quit altogether as my future plans involve freelance website creation & marketing. There’s no point in trying to get rid of everything if I can’t do it to completion.
That leaves me with my only option to be smarter about things, as I should have been doing all along.I fancy myself as someone security-minded since I use a password manager, but in light of this massive security breach, I can admit without any hesitation that I’ve actively exposed myself to; I’ve clicked through my fair share of novelty quizzes and such knowing something like this was a potential risk. Luckily, as of this morning I was able to verify I wasn’t affected by the Cambridge Analytica data harvest, but that doesn’t rule out any potential others. I’ve also deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone, replacing it with a Safari bookmark pinned to the homescreen and pushed to the end of the last app screen.
WordPress gained the ability to assign post types way back in 2011, so there’s no reason to stray away from here even if it’s to hit “publish” on a frivolous status update. I can selectively syndicate to a bunch of services at once—Facebook included—if I want, but moving forward, everything gets concentrated here.