Part 1 is about my experience is disconnecting from big tech social media.
So I experienced many positives especially initially in disconnecting from big tech social media. I felt less addicted to checking, happier because I saw fewer manufactured “fake” self-images, and also felt free of being judged by the social media image that I crafted of myself.
However over time, I realised that I messed up because I lost many valuable personal connections. There’s nothing more important in life than personal connections! An online connection today is like the phone call of old times. While online is no equivalent substitute to meeting in person, it can help people arrange meeting in person, or at least keep people connected over distance.
It was frightening to see my number of friends and acquaintances dwindle. Not only did I not keep up with old contacts on social media, whenever I met a new person I’d tell them I don’t use social media and lost the chance to stay in touch.
In the beginning it was no problem, but over time I lost more and more potential connections and that meant becoming more isolated, with just the people physically around me in my everyday life. I realised that just being around people isn’t enough, because social media adds another dimension to maintaining relationships with important and interesting people who don’t often meet in person.
Also no, ethical social media and small communities such as Mastodon and forums are just not an alternative to Instagram.
Part 2 is about my experience in trying to break away from other big tech services and software.
So I first started using free and open software for my work as web developer 13 years ago and couldn’t be happier. These are amazing tech platforms and are free with no corporation trying to figure out a way to squeeze you. For example I am really happy with the free and open source Brackets code editor.
However for some other software such as Photoshop, I just couldn’t find any alternative that was as good.
I also spent some time trying to free myself from Gmail, which as you should know is spyware that reads your emails and allows the US government organisations to read your email. However I found that Gmail was just too good compared to the alternatives. If I were starting over I probably wouldn’t choose Gmail, however I also realised that the alternatives are just not comparable.