While that is of course very significant, I’m more interested in the idea of deplatforming ourselves, which is sometimes referred to as social media ‘detox’.
I have a history of this. I was an early adopter of various forms of social media, but then just as quickly abandoned them as I became aware that they were taking over my life and exploiting my usage data.
I remember my Twitter consumption being at its peak when Julia Gillard successfully challenged Kevin Rudd for the Labor Party leadership in 2010.
Shortly afterwards, I realised that I was checking my Twitter feed whenever I had a spare moment. I marvelled at how well informed I’d become.
But I was also aware that my total wellbeing had taken a hit. I had to either moderate or effectively abandon my use of Twitter. I chose the latter, though I agree that moderation is always the best way to curb addictive behaviour.
About two years ago, I decided to work on improving my skills as a photographer by posting a photo a day on Instagram. I kept it up for a year but stopped because I didn’t like it that Instagram was part of the ecosystem of Facebook, which I’d strenuously avoided because I genuinely believed it was more evil than good.
In November 2019 I decided to remove Google from my life as far as possible. You can’t do that completely if you own an Android phone as I do. But you can try.
I googled ‘no more Google’ and found a website listing alternatives to Google. Now my googling days are over and I use the DuckDuckGo search engine and many other services that do not send my usage data to Google or Facebook.
I’ve been a constant user of Fitbit health and fitness monitoring devices for nearly six years. So I was dismayed when Google purchased Fitbit a year or so ago. I could see Google monitoring my weight and trying to sell weight loss products to me whenever it sees I’ve gained a kilo or two.
An email from the Fitbit CEO last week promised that wouldn’t happen. But the Australian regulatory body the ACCC looks like it will only be able to achieve a moratorium on such predatory practice for a limited period of time. It is about to rule after receiving submissions from members of the public including myself.
If I count podcasts, I’m still as addicted to social media as anybody I know. This morning I decided to switch off my podcast feed while I was at the gym and give my full and satisfied attention to my body’s reaction to the weights I was lifting.