Author Topic: Becoming Extremely Offline  (Read 588 times)

Becoming Extremely Offline
« on: November 09, 2019, 08:20:38 AM »
I've been considering removing myself from social media entirely over the past year or so, and finally deactivated all my personal accounts today (hoarder "what-if" mentality prevented me from outright deleting them straightaway). I was never a huge social media type, I've probably made fewer than ten brief Facebook posts this year, but I was still absent-mindedly scrolling through it all several times a day. Addictive as it is, I realized that probably wasn't especially healthy for me, usually an overwhelmingly "negative" experience - I'd find myself rolling my eyes or gossiping/sniggering with my wife about what I'd see on Facebook feeds, Instagram stories etc. far more often than feeling fulfilled or otherwise pleased by it. Seeing people's behaviour on social media often makes me like them less, despite how well we may get on in person. Minor transgressions, usually, but they add up over the years of daily posting. I've never had more than a hundred or so Facebook friends, all of whom I know well personally, and still it's a bit much.

I've also gotten a bit more into online privacy the last couple of months - bizarrely, it was reading some of Chris Morris's recent interviews about his own habits that made me look into it. So I'm also contemplating removing myself from Google and all that, but I worry the damage is already done in many ways, since I've never been particularly careful about protecting my privacy in the past, and I have accounts all over the place, connected to all sorts of things. All in the name of convenience. It feels a bit hopeless, really. When I searched my name on Google, I was shocked at the amount of accurate and detailed information that came up from random sites. I don't really see a way of undoing this, but I'd be interested to learn more - at least about steps I can take moving forward.

So I suppose the topic is: have any of you taken similar steps to reduce your online presence? How's it gone? Did you start glowing at any point? I'm assuming that, by virtue of still posting here, none of you have gone completely analogue, but I'm fascinated by the idea of "digital minimalism" or whatever you'd call it.

(please move to Technology if that would be more appropriate)

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 08:38:54 AM »
I’m Buelliganed too

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 08:46:36 AM »
Get in cave

icehaven

  • Please don't hi five people in Tamworth
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 08:48:54 AM »
I have several Google accounts, none of which use my real name or any other personal details. That's not to say I'm naive enough to think that means I'm not Googleable (my Facebook account is in my real name), or that Google and god knows who else don't track me or have plenty of data on me etc., but it just seems natural to me to not use real details for any online account which doesn't actually need them.

But then I'm not particularly concerned about online privacy really though (aside from obviously not wanting to be scammed or have my identity stolen or anything). If I was, but still wanted the convenience you mentioned of using various online services/social media etc. I'd just never use my real details at all. Dunno how you'd get around it with things like payments linked to your bank account (apart from the obvious step of not using PayPal) or having things delivered to your home address though, although technically those should be secure and unGoogleable (although again, not that naive etc.)

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 09:03:42 AM »
Right. My real name, e-mail address and actual address are all linked somewhere due to making payments or other such transactions which require you to prove your identity. I often take the Bill Burr approach of being almost obnoxiously reticent to give out my details in real-life transactions ("if you say you're not going to contact me, why do you need my contact information?"), but I suppose it's all for nothing in the end. I mean, I get my driver's license scanned without consent almost every time I buy booze.

So it's ended up like this: if someone knows my real name, they can simply Google me and find my actual physical address instantly. That's terrifying. I'm youngish, but old enough to remember when even using your real name anywhere on the internet was considered as dangerous as giving a stranger your bank details. I wish I'd had the good sense to never progress from my MonkeyChicken26 alias, but it's shocking how much even fairly careful people like myself have sleepwalked into this without even considering how creepy it could get. One company I worked for ignored resumés from people who weren't easily searchable on social media, or whose e-mail address didn't resemble their real name. And this was for techy positions!

Anyway. I've gotten off the social media at least, so that's one baby step.

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 09:19:48 AM »
Before I got off it entirely, though, here's a little story for you:

My wife and I had a bit of a disagreement recently because I wasn't posting photos of our new daughter on social media. Now, I didn't really post anything on social media, but every so often I'd throw up a photo of my cat doing something inane on my Instagram story. Maybe three times in total, since the kid. So it became a "You'll post photos of the cat, but not your own daughter!" My wife posts photos/videos of our daughter daily, and she thinks this is an important thing to do - not only for the benefit of friends and family now, but also for our daughter once she's grown up. So that forced me to analyse my reticence to do so a bit.

I ultimately decided on this: I hate having photos or videos of me being shared publicly, especially if I didn't know said photo/footage was being taken. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where people didn't have a fully-functional camera in their pocket ready to go at any given point, but there's still a wealth of humiliating photos and camcorder footage of me being an absolute twat as a kid, which my parents are more than happy to break out for anyone who comes round. "Ah, he's trying to impress you, is he? Well, look at him dancing to Michael Jackson in these stupid leather trousers!" It's almost like someone's filmed you whilst blackout drunk, as you have no real connection to what you were back then, nor were you even really aware of how long those images would last, or how they might be to make you cringe over and over again twenty years later.

So with regards to my own daughter, I sort of want that to be her choice. To have potentially thousands of people seeing photos of her gurning in the bath when she didn't even know what a photograph was. Or maybe she'll grow up to be a bit like me, and resent hahving her image and name permanently thrown around all over the internet without really having a choice of her own. I admit, there's also a smaller part of me that finds other people's insistence on shoving their kids in your face every day utterly irritating, regardless of any ethical quandaries.

I'm not about to tell my wife what she can or can't do with regards to that stuff, but I should be able to remove myself from it without feeling as if I'm somehow failing the future human we've created. So now I don't have social media at all, which hopefully removes me from the debate entirely.

Twit 2

  • Shouty Hate Amplifier
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 09:31:20 AM »
Got to say I fully agree with you on not putting your child on social media. I find it tacky and narcissistic at best, deeply “problematic” at worst. I’d divorce my wife if she started spunking pics of our daughter over Facefuck, but luckily she agrees and also finds it shallow. On the occasion she looks at her Facebook she is often aghast at how transparent people’s motives of “LOOK AT ME..LOOK AT MY OFFSPRING...LOOK AT HOW I’M DOING LIFE CORRECTLY...PLEASE AGREE THAT I AM” are.

I deleted Facebook over 10 years ago so never bothered joining Twatter and Instasnaps etc. Don’t miss it, don’t ever feel the need for it, has not affected my life at all. Not having to keep up with all that shit is blissful. No one gives a fuck about your life, and that’s as it should be, it’s a liberating, joyous thing.

icehaven

  • Please don't hi five people in Tamworth
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 09:33:21 AM »

My wife and I had a bit of a disagreement recently because I wasn't posting photos of our new daughter on social media. Now, I didn't really post anything on social media, but every so often I'd throw up a photo of my cat doing something inane on my Instagram story. Maybe three times in total, since the kid. So it became a "You'll post photos of the cat, but not your own daughter!" My wife posts photos/videos of our daughter daily, and she thinks this is an important thing to do - not only for the benefit of friends and family now, but also for our daughter once she's grown up. So that forced me to analyse my reticence to do so a bit.

I ultimately decided on this: I hate having photos or videos of me being shared publicly, especially if I didn't know said photo/footage was being taken. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where people didn't have a fully-functional camera in their pocket ready to go at any given point, but there's still a wealth of humiliating photos and camcorder footage of me being an absolute twat as a kid, which my parents are more than happy to break out for anyone who comes round. "Ah, he's trying to impress you, is he? Well, look at him dancing to Michael Jackson in these stupid leather trousers!" It's almost like someone's filmed you whilst blackout drunk, as you have no real connection to what you were back then, nor were you even really aware of how long those images would last, or how they might be to make you cringe over and over again twenty years later.

So with regards to my own daughter, I sort of want that to be her choice. To have potentially thousands of people seeing photos of her gurning in the bath when she didn't even know what a photograph was. Or maybe she'll grow up to be a bit like me, and resent hahving her image and name permanently thrown around all over the internet without really having a choice of her own. I admit, there's also a smaller part of me that finds other people's insistence on shoving their kids in your face every day utterly irritating, regardless of any ethical quandaries.


Well quite. With all due respect to your wife, your cat will never possibly wish to have control over it's online presence or be looking for a job in twenty years etc.
On the flip side though, much of your daughter's generation (and several before and all of them after) will be in the same situation so it'll be considered the norm, if not more unusual for you to not to have had an online presence from birth. Not that that's necessarily a good thing, just that it'll be very normal, and without wishing to sound too pessimistic by the time she's jobseeking there'll be far more pernicious ways for potential employers to check up on candidates than googling their social media.

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 09:37:49 AM »
Well quite. With all due respect to your wife, your cat will never possibly wish to have control over it's online presence or be looking for a job in twenty years etc.
On the flip side though, much of your daughter's generation (and several before and all of them after) will be in the same situation so it'll be considered the norm, if not more unusual for you to not to have had an online presence from birth. Not that that's necessarily a good thing, just that it'll be very normal.

Yeah, I completely understand that, and that was largely her argument too. But still - what if she's not one of those? Or what if something happens within the next couple of decades that would make having such shite out there a huge disadvantage in some way - god knows there have been enough scandals about online privacy with some of these companies already. Ultimately, it's more of a basic consent thing with me - I've never posted photos of anyone publicly unless they've at least implicitly agreed to it. Feel like I should extend the same courtesy to my daughter who doesn't even quite know what her feet are yet.

Either way, with us, she's getting half-and-half: my wife's posting "social" photos and videos every day, I barely even exist there. Screwed either way, I suppose.

EDIT: Responding to Twit 2 - my wife's heart's definitely in the right place. She had a genuinely, genuinely horrible upbringing, and as a result wants to do everything "right" (as contemporary society dictates) with her own children - sometimes to a fault, perhaps, but it's not something I blame her for.

icehaven

  • Please don't hi five people in Tamworth
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 09:47:06 AM »
Yeah, I completely understand that, and that was largely her argument too. But still - what if she's not one of those? Or what if something happens within the next couple of decades that would make having such shite out there a huge disadvantage in some way - god knows there have been enough scandals about online privacy with some of these companies already. Ultimately, it's more of a basic consent thing with me - I've never posted photos of anyone publicly unless they've at least implicitly agreed to it. Feel like I should extend the same courtesy to my daughter who doesn't even quite know what her feet are yet.

No I'd agree with you, it should be her choice and the very fact it can't be undone and we don't know where it's taking us yet should be reason enough to err on the side of caution, but I'm still not surprised how quickly so many people have become blasé about it too, particularly given how good social media is at convincing us to join in and like we're missing out if we don't.

The whole point of photos seems to have changed, it's as if there's almost no point taking them if you aren't going to share them online now (and they're so numerous and disposable their worth is hugely depleted anyway.) It's so weird seeing these ads for photobooks where you can have a selection of your photos actually printed out and put into a physical album to look back on and show to people who come to your house, when that's just what everyone used to do with their photos themselves.
I can actually understand why people take selfies at tourist places and beauty spots etc., because if you just want to see a picture of the place itself you may as well just do an image search and find a better one than you could ever take yourself, what difference does it make who took it?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 10:02:23 AM by icehaven »

PlanktonSideburns

  • be outta here in a jiffy
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2019, 10:01:31 AM »
Before I got off it entirely, though, here's a little story for you:

My wife and I had a bit of a disagreement recently because I wasn't posting photos of our new daughter on social media. Now, I didn't really post anything on social media, but every so often I'd throw up a photo of my cat doing something inane on my Instagram story. Maybe three times in total, since the kid. So it became a "You'll post photos of the cat, but not your own daughter!" My wife posts photos/videos of our daughter daily, and she thinks this is an important thing to do - not only for the benefit of friends and family now, but also for our daughter once she's grown up. So that forced me to analyse my reticence to do so a bit.

I ultimately decided on this: I hate having photos or videos of me being shared publicly, especially if I didn't know said photo/footage was being taken. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where people didn't have a fully-functional camera in their pocket ready to go at any given point, but there's still a wealth of humiliating photos and camcorder footage of me being an absolute twat as a kid, which my parents are more than happy to break out for anyone who comes round. "Ah, he's trying to impress you, is he? Well, look at him dancing to Michael Jackson in these stupid leather trousers!" It's almost like someone's filmed you whilst blackout drunk, as you have no real connection to what you were back then, nor were you even really aware of how long those images would last, or how they might be to make you cringe over and over again twenty years later.

So with regards to my own daughter, I sort of want that to be her choice. To have potentially thousands of people seeing photos of her gurning in the bath when she didn't even know what a photograph was. Or maybe she'll grow up to be a bit like me, and resent hahving her image and name permanently thrown around all over the internet without really having a choice of her own. I admit, there's also a smaller part of me that finds other people's insistence on shoving their kids in your face every day utterly irritating, regardless of any ethical quandaries.

I'm not about to tell my wife what she can or can't do with regards to that stuff, but I should be able to remove myself from it without feeling as if I'm somehow failing the future human we've created. So now I don't have social media at all, which hopefully removes me from the debate entirely.

i understand where youre coming from here - im from a family with no interest in social media, or sociality in general really. being in the same room with them wont necessarily guarantee an interaction, specially if theres something on telly. completely disinterested in photos of things, and social media interaction

my wife's family do all this sort of stuff on a family wattsap group: - look, here is my child in a park - look heres my new house - look heres my new bike and so on. - seems like a more healthy way of doing it than something like facebook, and a hell of a lot less time consuming; - i am occasionally teased for not participating in wife's families wattsap group, - so then that week ill just put a few funny/encouraging things on the wattsap group, - or go for a walk somewhere, take a picture of that, - heres me walking through a forest - job done! performative family behaviour complete

i understand it from my wife's family's point of view, - theres loads of them, they all used to live in the same big house, now they all live all over the place and have kids, so its a good way to keep in touch

im sure youve probably thought about it, but would a good comprimise be to make a family/friends wattsap group, set up some sort of wildlife camera in your childs bedroom that automatically sends pictures of the child to it, - bang - theres you looking like a good modern dad, no weirdly public pictures of your kids, no dreary upsideown waterfall of misery via facebook?

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2019, 10:07:27 AM »
That's a decent point: my own family all live nearby, so they get to see her often enough and don't need daily photographic updates. My wife's family all live on the other side of the country, so it's absolutely understandable that she'd want to share it with them. Problem is, she does that through a public Instagram account. And, I won't lie, I imagine she at least somewhat enjoys the unanimous praise coming from a bunch of people she doesn't even know. I hope I'm wrong about all this, and that those countless publicly-available posts will be beneficial somehow. Or not detrimental, at least.

Dr Rock

  • The BEST of luck!
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2019, 10:08:44 AM »
People shouldn't put photos of their kids on facebook. You don't know for sure who you're sharing them with, that nice uncle could be a secret paedo, downloading them all for a massive wank. Plus the kids haven't given consent.

Also I rarely look at FB anymore. Just use this place.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2019, 10:09:38 AM »
I’m closing this account too, if only i could find the button

PlanktonSideburns

  • be outta here in a jiffy
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2019, 10:10:36 AM »
That's a decent point: my own family all live nearby, so they get to see her often enough and don't need daily photographic updates. My wife's family all live on the other side of the country, so it's absolutely understandable that she'd want to share it with them. Problem is, she does that through a public Instagram account. And, I won't lie, I imagine she at least somewhat enjoys the unanimous praise coming from a bunch of people she doesn't even know. I hope I'm wrong about all this, and that those countless publicly-available posts will be beneficial somehow. Or not detrimental, at least.

i guess they will wear off when the baby stops being cute, and just starts being a noisy little brat child, like they all eventually become

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2019, 10:14:37 AM »
Also I rarely look at FB anymore. Just use this place.

Unless I ever decide to go fully analogue or join an ashram or something, I have no intention of leaving here, really. I've been here nearly a decade, and it's by far the overall best forum I've found. Also the only one I've ever really been a member of, an' all. I never even joined Facebook groups. I know barely any of you personally, but I've still "known" some of you longer than anyone in my current social life - if that makes any sense at all. Some things you just can't get away with rambling about elsewhere, but there's usually a place for it here.

Better Midlands

  • I'm not internationally known
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 10:32:20 AM »
I lost my Facebook account (set up in a false name) a few years ago when I was asked to provide my passport details for verification, never went back on there. The problem is even if you don't provide any information yourself to Facebook/Google etc can piece information together using the details other people have stored on their phones in their contact details which are shared with these companies. For example one person had your phone number stored under a nick name but they also have your email, someone else has your email and address on their phone or in their gmail, someone else has your phone number and your real name on theirs etc - it's pretty unavoidable at this stage.

my wife's family do all this sort of stuff on a family wattsap group

Facebook own WhatsApp :(

icehaven

  • Please don't hi five people in Tamworth
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2019, 10:47:58 AM »
I used the same false name a few times when setting up various online accounts a good few years ago, and to this day I still get emails addressing me by it and cold calls asking to speak to them quite regularly. Almost makes me wish I'd always used it and never been the 'real' me online at all but I think it'd have inconvenienced me more than anything.

PlanktonSideburns

  • be outta here in a jiffy
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2019, 10:48:57 AM »

Facebook own WhatsApp :(
yea i dont really expect any data based business to do the right thing with people's personal data,  with wattsap its more the fact that youre sharing it with a closed group of your own devising

Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2019, 10:52:34 AM »
I think one of the first things that properly alarmed me with regards to all this shite was people I'd made one-off phonecalls to for work turning up on my "Suggested Friends" list on Facebook. I have never read an entire "T&C" or "Privacy Statement" in my life, so ultimately it is my fault but ... 'mon now. It's designed to be that way, and far more insidious than I'd initially assumed, I think.

As for spam calls - it might be a US thing, but I get at least two a day. My iPhone usually auto-identifies them as "Scam Likely", but every now and then there'll be one from Egypt or Libya, and it's just some American scam trying to sell me health insurance, or tell me that my Social Security Number's been compromised, so "please tell us all your details" etc. And as careless as I may have been with my name/e-mail, I've always been particularly careful about giving out my phone number. Even most of my day-to-day social group don't have it. And yet, I just looked at my recent calls and 6/10 are scam callers.

Fucksake. I'm going to go down and change my number tomorrow I think. All of this whole topic is ultimately coming from feeling as if I'm not even really a human being anymore, rather something of a "content/data provider". I'm a little sick of it all, honestly, especially since I'm not even reaping the benefits of being some kind of "social influencer" or whatever-the-fuck.

Better Midlands

  • I'm not internationally known
Re: Becoming Extremely Offline
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2019, 10:53:44 AM »
yea i dont really expect any data based business to do the right thing with people's personal data,  with wattsap its more the fact that youre sharing it with a closed group of your own devising

It's definitely a less invasive way to go.

"WhatsApp claims it does not store any messages—including your photos—on its servers. It only does so until your message is sent to the receiving phone. If the recipient of the message doesn’t receive the message after 30 days, the message will get deleted."