Facebook-Free in Twenty Eightee-n

My growing sense of dread about the corporate social media networks that dominate the modern web has prompted twin 2018 resolutions: 1.) Do not contribute content directly to social media networks owned by corporations. 2.) Break the daily habit of consuming information directly from Facebook and Twitter.

I feel like I need to do some extra work to find new ways to connect with people. I think Jason Kottke is on the right track with his new newsletter, Noticing. (And I can't believe I'm saying this as someone who has always had a strong preference for web over email.) I do enjoy seeing personal updates from friends on Facebook, but there's a lot of garbage you have to take in with it. A little rancid meat can really ruin a milkshake. So what if we all had personal email newsletters and we could just enjoy each other's updates with no garbage mixed in?

Keeping up with thoughts and ideas from folks in my industry is trickier. Twitter works well for that. It's just that in addition to jokes and news you also need to take in heaping piles of garbage while feeling complicit in advancing the Earth toward its final days. I shouldn't have to feel terrible to connect with friends and peers. I'm staying away from Twitter to see if I can find other ways to connect. Ways like visiting websites directly and subscribing to newsletters. I think Twitter the company is making terrible decisions and I don't want to feel like I'm contributing to their network growing in any way. My only option is to stop feeding it attention and jokes.

Breaking my daily Twitter and Facebook habit has been easier than I expected. I uninstalled the apps from my phone some time ago but I was still visiting and posting in a web browser. Simply logging out of these services is enough of a speedbump to remind me that I don't want to be there. The habit tries, but little speedbumps are enough to stop it. I've also made Kindle my go-to app for wasting time with my phone. If I need a break or need to kill some time I'll read a book instead.

As far as sharing thoughts, links, and photos I'll still be posting here but not at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Flickr. I'll probably start a mailing list with family news for friends. I'm hoping all of this will help me find ways to stay connected with people I care about without a publicly traded intermediary. That was the promise of the Web in the first place and it's not working out. With some exploration and work maybe we can route around the web behemoths.

Want to connect with me outside of Facebook or Twitter? I still use email. (Though I'm still bad at it.)

Here are a few links I've been thinking about: