How to Cut Loose and Gain Some Control of Your Data

How did I get here

To be fair, it was fairly tempting to simply say that I was going to change the way I was going to use the internet and not do much. For two days now, I have not tweeted and at sometimes, the most natural reaction that I have is tweeting Gaurav Kapur that his video with Sachin Tendulkar on Breakfast with Champions is not available outside India. I wondered if I should simply email him and then came to the conclusion that keeping quiet would be the best thig for now.

And then, of course, I had to do something. So I went back to something that I had done something a year ago. I had bought a course on Udemy by Brad Hussey. I was super psyched about it and it is only now that I have started doing something about it. I am about to finish the advanced HTML part of the course and that may explain to you why I am choosing to use this Github Page as my practice-board for writing my HTML code to write this stuff down.

The truth possibly has deeper roots. I remember being a child being taught how to read the dictionary. It changed my life. Not only was I good enough to read but there was something meta about being able to read how to expand my vocabulary. I have spent many an evening sitting with an open dictionary at my knee reading new words. I feel — not only because I am lurking around on my laptop actually just reading websites and their scripts — like there is this level of reading up the website before you experience the website happen to you.

As I begin my CSS journey today, this is a good point to update my dis_connect journey as of now.

You are what you eat

This is possibly the most important part of the process. Know what data is connected to which login. Being lazy is easy, which is why it is so very convenient to go to Spotify and just login with your Facebook. It is so damn convenient to use Facebook when you are logging into your Instagram or other apps that give you that option. But here’s the catch: the more you connect, the more dependent you are on using that login for everything else as well. And this is where they get you. When was the last time you went online to a new site to actually get the news instead of clicking on something you found on Facebook or Twitter? With Google’s new News app, this takes another turn and wants to be, as someone on Android Authority points out, the be-all-end-all aggregator of news. This is strange for the same reason I think almost all supermarkets are becoming the epitome of the “sameness” of our world. LIDL in Germany is not different from LIDL in Poland. All news is not the same and one cannot treat it as the same. If I need to read about India, I prefer going to The Caravan and reading about it. Handing over the reigns of your consumption of news to Facebook and Google who are behaving more like media publishers than ever before is not only going to determine what you know about something but how you know something.

Do yourself a favor; support ethical news resources the way you would support someone who brings value to your life. There is no free lunch. My recommendations here:

Newslaundry and Indian Cultural Forum has been doing amazing work in India for some time now. Support independent journalism. Check out The Browser if you are into longform reads and want a very healthy-dose of longform from all over. I also subscribe to the London Review of Books because I am a nerd who likes tactile things.

From: The Browser

 

The Roadmap

When I started two weeks ago, I was still heavily dependent on my Facebook feed and my Twitter feed to get to know about everything else. Slowly but surely, this dependence is cutting down. Things I have changed and replaced as of now:

My Spotify and Instagram are no longer connected to my Facebook. Along with dozens of other apps. Here is how you can do it.

I deleted my tweets, as mentioned before.

I replaced Evernote with Laverna.

I use Pocketcast instead of Spotify. I would also highly recommend Podcast Addict‘s ad-free version. It is simple, really: If you don’t want ads, then pay the developers their due.

I am dabbling with 5apps right now and wondering I should move my stuff there from Dropbox. That one may take a bit of time.

Learn Markdown, it’s really easy.

There is more coming down this road. I am looking forward to it. Have a tip? Write a comment or send me an email, I am fairly easy to reach.

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