Last Autumn I started to be less on-line, among other things by deactivating my Facebook account and cancelling my Internet subscription at home. I wrote about my reasons in this blog, and thought now, a couple of months later, it would be nice to update on how this is working out.
On the matter of Facebook there was a significant step in what I think is the right direction: I simply hadn't used my account, as in, not logged in, but then I did, a couple of times, to see if someone had sent me messages or tried to contact me. This happened in the first week, but then no longer, which I totally expected. As soon as you stop interacting with Facebook, you disappear from it's view. This is perhaps an important lesson in social networks, but for me this meant that I could either start engaging again, or leave it be altogether. I decided to go for the latter, and marked my account for deletion. It is now already deactivated, that is, you can no longer find me on Facebook or send me messages, but my account and data will irreversibly – unless you work for some governments, I suppose — be deleted from Facebook's servers in a couple of days. That does feel nice.
One thing that makes me feel that this is the right step is that I sometimes, when procrastinating on-line (we come to that in a minute) will still automatically alt-tab to the browser, then enter www.facebook.com subconsciously. Since I wasn't logged in for months, I then wake up to the home page and realize what my muscle memory just did. This can't be healthy. I'm looking forward to getting rid of this. The only thing I occasionally do miss is the share&care community, as well as the trolling in the vegan communities. Regretably share&care is still exclusively on facebook, even though they seem to own a webspace and domain. Not that I'd use the forum extensively, it' just that I'd like to be able to browse and post stuff, without needing a Facebook account. But I manage without just as well. After all, there's still the window sill in the ground floor of the house I live in where goods can be exchanged, and a couple of charities that accept donated goods.
Some time ago I found an open WiFi network available from my flat, and since then I haven't really been all that offline from home. Which was very, very convenient because of Kiki not being too good with public places – becoming bored and then barking with her toy like squeaky noises – so I was able to use the Internet at home. Of course, that is a problem that I could only fix with self restraint, of which I have little. And as soon as I'm online, I start my day with procrastination and then continue to do stuff of little value until I have no time left to do the stuff I actually wanted to do in the first place. My fix is to disable the WLAN reception on my laptop, but that's just two clicks away from bringing me back online. I switched from the standard WLAN tool to wicd, which allows for blacklisting certain networks, and just blacklisted all that are open and available: but that still means that I can just click myself back on-line whenever I want to. I'm curious if I set my barriers high enough to not give in to that. It's insane how weak I am with these things and it sometimes frightens me.
Internet on my phone. I still use my phone for all those actually important internet things like emails, dictionary, Wikipedia, research, weather reports et cetera, but I have run into an unexpected problem there: I pretty much had my data usage under control up to a point earlier this month. My plan allows for one GB of unthrottled data, then it is still usable, but very, very slow. That doesn't sound like much, but it suffices when deactivating images in every app and being careful which apps are allowed to use data in the background. BUT: Telegram just introduced this awesome feature of inline GIFs and GIF search, which I used extensively, not being aware of the amount of data that produces. In a matter of a few days I had spent almost a third of my data allowance. Holy hell. So I switched off the automatic GIF download in the settings and now I should be fine, but holy shit, this is annoying. Of course it's my fault for not thinking this through, but it feels weird that one update suddenly breaks the way you use your phone. A similar thing happened with the awesome MAPS.ME service that I use, which downloads OpenStreetMap data by country which is then available offline, including navigation: but the most recent update deleted the map data and I had to download it again. There was no warning about that, and usually I wouldn't really have cared, but now an unexpected 300 MB download isn't that much fun. It wasn't a problem now because I didn't need the navigation or maps until I was able to re-download the data, but the lesson learned is not to update anything when you're on the road. If I had activated auto-updates while on a tour or walk, I could have been severly fucked over.
So, that is that, for now. Now back to more exciting stuff, like my second cup of coffee! Picture is Kiki being off-line (and off-leash).