The digital era came on hard and fast. I got my first real taste of it in primary school, in the early 90s. My cohort and I were assigned pen-pals (from other participating schools) and were tasked with writing them a letter on the computer. Normally we would print this letter and mail it, but this time we were going to send it electronically. That's right... electronical mail. Like a monkey sent to space, I corresponded by e-mail before its rise to dominance. And it was magical.
Fast forward a bit. I was responsible for onboarding a lot of friends and family to Gmail, back when it was still invite-only. This was also around the time that Myspace was in its death rattle and the new, cool, and clean version was launched. It was called Facebook.
All was well. It was fantastically convenient to be able to jump on a computer, at home, and write my friends – until someone needed to use the phone (IYKYK). That's about as functional and layered as any of us ever needed it to be. But, as we all know, that's not how it would remain for long.
Point is, I grew up through the tech boom. I've taken it for granted. Recently, however, life smacked me around (a story for another time) forcing me to take a long, hard look at things affecting my health; including my digital hygiene.
I've realized, when it comes down to it, I could give a fuck about participating in this algorithm-driven, dopamine-maximizing, engagement-at-all-cost, advertiser-catering, user-as-product, mind-numbing, echo chamber bullshit. I don't like it. I don't like the way it makes me feel. I don't like the behaviour it elicits.
I have an exponentially declining threshold for the mode by which the corporatized Internet operates. I feel that disengaging from the bulk of it is necessary to stave off any further damage it may cause, or vulnerabilities it may create. And, in doing so, distance myself from companies that clearly do not have our well-being in mind.
When it comes to earning a living, however, the Internet is a tool that simply can't be entirely discarded. I make stuff and share it, online, with those that wish to know about it. But it would seem that in a lot of instances, the cost has come to outweigh the convenience.
To curtail this, moving forward, I will favour and adopt (whenever possible) platforms and tools that are decentralized, privacy-focused, censorship-resistant, permissionless, and accessible to all – what is being touted as "freedom tech". To me, it's an echo of the Internet I was introduced to.