I never made formal resolutions for any new year. That said, it’s a good practice to better yourself so I think I’ll continue what I started doing last year with my digital presence.
I’m struggling to find a balance between personal privacy and being public. I don’t know where to draw the line right now. For that reason, I’ve practically given up publishing my content or data online. It’s gloomy to feel like the internet wants to do nothing more than take advantage of me. That’s where most of my thoughts go every time I want to post something like this.
So, as a continuation of a personal resolution to take back control of my digital life instead of mindlessly feeding my data into all the apps, I will do two things this year.
I began a personal quest to protect myself from services like Facebook by encapsulating how I use it everywhere. In a significant way, I’ve removed my voice from most apps and sites by participating as little as possible. I’ve removed any data I can from search engines that I don’t think belongs there. I continue doing these things like not installing Google Chrome on any computer and uninstall it from all my personal computers. Chrome is replaced with Brave Browser but I primarily use Firefox for everything now. I will continue to wind down using large companies products as I’m able to and support freely available open source software.
This all comes at a cost. I don’t have a way to privately share my life outside of some targeted private messages, calls or seeing people in person. It’s extreme and uneasy to disconnect from large parts of society. However, the more I learn about what’s going on, the more I think this active approach to privacy is needed.
I don’t know how I’ll find a good balance, but I must consider that the majority of people I care about live outside of my personal physical and digital bubble. I want to be more present with life outside of occasional private messages. Anything that goes here on this website will be public enough that data aggregators can have it. I can’t control that part but I can control what I put out there.
This is a public pledge that I treat as a fun adventure to learn and help society however possible. I will live as a naive optimist that privacy isn’t completely dead, doesn’t have to be, and there’s always a good way to be online. The internet has provided so much to me, but it’s now a place that takes even more from me. I choose not to give it so much. I will continue this journey by embracing ideals of using small technology.
This is me reminding myself that we’re living in the best of times in human history. Even if my privacy fears are real, I need reminders that ultimately I’ll be fine. Too often, nothing is as bad as it seems in a moment. I can’t change reality but I can change how I react.