As someone who makes a living by crafting seamless user experiences, my goal is to eliminate as much friction as possible. I want my customers to access my products with ease, not just for their satisfaction but also because it's smart business.
But as a consumer, I'm no different. Over the last 30 years, I've gradually succumbed to the allure of services that promise simplicity – often at a hidden cost.
It started with trading my self-built website for Myspace and then Facebook, then moving from my own domain for blogging to Twitter and Instagram, and even outsourcing my email management to Hotmail, Gmail, and Hey. In each case, the motivation was clear: it was just easier.
But this convenience has a price. By embracing these platforms, we relinquish control over our digital lives – often without realizing the implications. The ongoing Twitter kerfuffle is just one example.
Our voices are tuned through their monetization engines. Our experiences are filtered through their engagement goals. Their incentives are not aligned with our lives.
So I've decided to reclaim my little corner of the internet. This means:
- Revitalizing jtrem.com with original content and insights.
- Returning to my personal, hosted email.
- Swapping Twitter for Mastodon.
- Exploring Pxlmo as an Instagram alternative.
- Federating my content using open web standards like RSS & ActivityPub, rather than posting within channels I don't own.
- Using Facebook solely for its marketplace feature.
- Continuing to use group messaging services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Discord for more intimate and curated connections. Someday I hope something Matrix.org takes off...
These are my personal steps toward regaining control over my online presence. It's taken 20 years to come full circle, but I'm willing to reintroduce a bit of friction to achieve that goal.
I've been enamored with technology for the past 30 years, particularly since the internet entered my life in the mid-90s. I've spent most of the last two decades working in tech. But somewhere along the way, the magic faded. Between the toxic online culture, the behemoth corporations dominating the landscape, and the endless debates over government regulation, my passion waned.
This isn't the beginning of a new journey. I'm just rediscovering the path I always wanted to be on.
Now, I see excitement on the horizon, and will try to document my journey back into the heart of tech.