You don’t want unaccountable monopolies mining every intimate detail of your personal relationships and deepest confidences? You don’t want them sharing it even though they promised not to?
Then don’t use social networks.
OK, in fact, not using them is harder than you’d like, because
if you log in to one of these damn things even once you are tracked in perpetuity by the browser cookies which hang around you like the stink of dogshit on your shoe, so you may as well work out how to wash that off.
we are social primates doing bullshit jobs with smartphones in our pockets and we crave social distraction from the searing grind of late capitalism.
How do you say? I’m quitting Facebook, except for all the parts I currently use:
after I post this status, I will be quitting Facebook, except for groups, events, messaging, sharing my take on controversial op-eds, promoting my podcast(s), and seething with jealousy about my friends’ positive life updates.
Pretend to be on social media but don’t actually bother
80% of my strategy is this. See faking being on social media.
But that means I can get off social media?
Maybe. Scott Locklin summarises the fakebook extraction: Download your data. Delete your account.
Oh wait, your friends keep on using Facebook messenger to organise their lives? FFS, friends.
Practice social surveillance hygiene to reduce harm
Don’t use the facebook/whatever app. Alex Yumashev’s (uncited) tip for mobile devices:
use Facebook in mobile Safari, with an adblocker, and delete the iOS native app — helps a lot AND saves you from tons of ads and 3rd party cookie tracking. Not to mention wonders for the battery.
Wonder if that’s correct?
Access your social network using a quarantined single site browser. (I’m a fan of this)
Firefox has a new smoother alternative: Multi user container makes separate mini-browsers for each social app so they each live in their own little universe. There is a facebook-only one, plus a bunch of other extensions to reduce the addictiveness/advertising. See more under browser hacks.
Logins. Don’t login with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wechat etc. There might be better alternatives in the future (e.g. persona?). But don’t hold your breath. For now, don’t use centrally-tracked logins if you won’t want the vendor knowing about your connection to these sites. Make a new password for everything.
Disable tracking in your browser using one of the extensions for that.
Reconfigure Facebook settings to be less leaky: How to gain control over Facebook
Roll your own social network
90s style! V. Cypherpunk!
Under construction. These aren’t all analysed. TBD.
If you just want something more efficient for your purposes but don’t care about the NSA reading it (realistically, my priority) there are loads of apps designed to do this, like Slack and Trello. and Groups and asana, each of which manage different aspects of projects that you couls also do through email. There are also hip open-ish self hosted chat thing for this purpose Gitter (gitter source), mattermost, or zulip which in principle you can run yourself. (the former requires you to have a trusted macOS server lying about.)
- Federated social media projects like Mastodon and Peertube, are an interesting half-way point. You and a community barnraise a server together for your local social network, and it talks to other ones for you.
- Probably the entry-level here is Gitter (gitter source) which in principle you can run yourself if you have a trusted macOS server lying about. It‘s sort of like it’s more famous cousing Slack, apparently? Now you are responsible for your own security. Is that better?
- Slack is a communication platform somewhat more compatible with workplace organising than other chat programs. Can be forced to support mathematics. But its UI is unsatisfactory and its hosted by a questionable third party and slooow. (There is a competing UI for it called ripcord which is faster.)
- discord is like a “fun” themed Slack, which means a slightly lower barrier to entry but less professional cred AFAICT.
- Wolkenkit boards is a collaborative note taker.
- Riot is the flagship chat system for Matrix. Looks a little like Slack.
- Zulip is an open source slack-alike with first-class mathematics support.
Or, dunno if it really fits here, but look at this attempt to provide the some of the features of the social network in terms of telling you not to forget birthdays, Monica the open-source personal CRM.
Solution: one-up everyone and use decentralised networks.
Archive your social network
Minimise the dependence by having your own backup of your social wossname.
There are GDPR extraction tools built-in, e.g. For Facebook. Timeliner and Perkeep are two different approaches to this.