Interconnectivity. Social media. Social networking. It’s all the rage these days. I was, like most people, enamored with all the possibilities that these mediums presented. Until about six months ago I used many of these services in an endeavor to stay connected to virtually everyone I had a nominal relationship with.
Then I realized that I was putting a lot of effort in trying to maintain relationships or connections that honestly I didn’t even really care that much about. That’s when my relationship with social media changed. I decided that it was time to start stripping all these extraneous forms of communication and connectivity down to the absolute most basic and necessary. Facebook, Myspace, foursquare, twitter, and all the rest went by the wayside. Once I had deleted those accounts I started to look for other ways to simplify communications and reduce and protect my online profile.
First I started to beefed up my passwords and I created a new system for maintaining my online passwords. Hopefully this will ensure that my accounts are even harder to break into than they were before. I also looked for ways to protect my online browsing. Unfortunately, it’s just a matter of life these days that corporations like Facebook and Google will be data mining me. I know this but I want to reduce the amount of information that they can extract from me. That means using simple browser extensions to help block advertisers and data miners (extensions like ghostery for example). It also means using using extensions like force https to make sure that as often as possible my browser is secure. Furthermore, I want to ensure that my network is protected so that means making my wifi network private and using a VPN when necessary just for an added layer of security. All this to make sure that my online profile and footprint stays as small and private as possible.
Deleting all my social networking profiles also helps to keep my private life private. It may mean that I miss out on events here and there because I didn’t get the Facebook invite. That’s ok though as I would much rather not have all the extraneous contact with people who in the long run I don’t really want to stay in touch with.
One last way I have been simplifying is through my email. Every time you buy something or sign up or download anything online you have to enter an email address. So in an attempt to clean up my inbox I have begun a concerted effort to unsubscribe from all the lists I am on. Sometimes I spend way to much time deleting emails that I’m not going to read, but I end up getting multiple emails a day from these places (I’m looking at you iTunes). I hate spending time doing this so the easiest way is just to delete myself from their lists. It’s not like those emails every tell me anything important anyways. Although creating a dummy email address just for entering into these websites is not out of the question.
So where does this leave me?
It leaves me with email, this blog, and my phone. Everyone I know and want to keep in touch with is either on my phone or gchat. If I can’t contact you that way then I probably don’t need to contact you to begin with. My life already feels less cluttered and as I continue this process of simplification I expect it to get even better. My online footprint is becoming smaller and I feel my privacy is being better protected. As time goes on I will continue to simplify and refine my online actions in the hopes of keeping a barrier between my private and my online life.
So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the interconnectivity these days, maybe it’s time to simplify your life and unplug from the plethora of social networking sites that are out there that are constantly vying for your attention. You might miss it initially but in the long run you will enjoy the feeling of not being constantly connected.
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