Breaking out of walled gardens

labyrinth

I have been progressively getting more and more dissatisfied with the grip Big Tech firms have over our collective lives, and have been gradually pruning my use of proprietary technologies over the past months.

It’s quite surprising how much mental energy you save by not engaging with controversial content that algorithmic news feeds at Facebook and Twitter foist on you to keep your eyes glued to the screen (and, with luck, your replies keep other people’s eyes glued too) so they1 can sell you ads!

Not writing posts and comments and tweets all the time - though I do toot on Mastodon - makes me realize that I do miss long-form writing, and that my muscle memory for doing so is a bit rusty after years of neglect. I certainly used to blog more often2!

I’ve been planning to blog again for a while, but seeing #100DaysToOffload popping up here and there on my Mastodon feed certainly adds a structure to the exercise - being a part of a community, and having a deadline in mind. Let’s see if I can make it to the end with others' encouragement!

Some of the forthcoming posts will discuss specific tools and services I am abandoning, and what I am replacing them with; some others might discuss the wider issue with proprietary software and services not based on open protocols. There could be discussions about the other “Big"s in the economic and political systems too - e.g. the banking system, or the two-party system - though of course I do not claim expertise on all these, so treat these as experiential rather than prescriptive.

I’ll be back in a few days with the next instalment.

This post is day 1 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit https://100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Cretan labyrinth by AnonMoos, released into the public domain


  1. OK, by “they” I should say “we”, since I do work for Facebook. Needless to say, this is my personal opinion and does not express the views or opinions of my employer. ↩︎

  2. Though most of my posts were lost after several blog moves because I cannot really be bothered to convert them to Markdown. They’re not that important, folks. You’re not missing much! ↩︎

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Michel Alexandre Salim
Production Engineer

Michel Alexandre Salim is a Production Engineer at Facebook. He likes automating things.

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