Airrick Dunfield

Developer / Designer / Educator

Journal / Intentionally Online #2

Intentionally Online #2

By Airrick Dunfield

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So, Meta has had a challenging run lately. Cambridge Analytical hurt the company's image. It ran tests on its user's mental health. The company's monthly active users have flatlined, and the daily active users have shrunk (very slightly). On a good day, the Metaverse is a curiosity; on a bad day, it is an abandoned buggy mess.

Meta's shining stars are arguably Messenger, Marketplace, and Instagram. Which I'll admit are good products.

Finally, Facebook has become a place of election manipulation, echo chambers, and pictures of high school classmates I haven't spoken to in years.

I think it's worth considering how much data Meta collects, how they use it, and weigh it against the benefits of using the "free" service.

Meta collects a lot of data, which it uses to sell views and clicks to its real customers: advertisers. This data is taken from users under the guise of "personalization".  From my perspective, Meta has two goals for its users. Have them use their platform as much as possible, get as much data from them, and predict which ads they will interact with.

That's not great for users. Jaron Lanier calls companies like Facebook behaviour modification empires, and I agree with him. Facebook's goals do not lie with the interests or benefit of its users.

So, with my push to be intentional online, the next easiest move for me is to ditch Facebook (and its related services like Messenger & Marketplace).

I deactivated my account about two weeks ago, and I'll admit this was a little more challenging than Spotify.

I sent a final goodbye that included my phone number and a request to use Signal instead to my favourite group chats. I am close with the members that most have sent me a text, and few have joined Signal.

I will miss the convenience of Messenger the most. It was so easy to talk with anyone I knew. Over the past few weeks, I've had to text friends for other friends' numbers and poke my friend's partners to tell them to check Discord, but largely, I have just about as many useful digital conversations as I used to.

Craigslist has been an ugly but functional replacement for Marketplace. So there's been no issues buying used goods.

I'd call this one a success. Mostly.

You'll notice one app is missing from the list: Instagram. This one will be tough for meā€”most of Vancouver's cycling community posts and talks on that app. I haven't found a suitable replacement yet. Also, I love it. One day I will have to change how I use it or delete it too, but today is not that day.

See ya next time.