Life Lately | March 2018
+In My Head
Social media, internet privacy, and tech companies jacking with our brains.
I’ve loved the internet since we got out first home computer sometime around 1996. Ah, good ol’ AOL chat rooms! And then later, Geocities websites, Blogger, blogs, forums, and on. I’ve met a lot of great people over the internet, some I’ve met in real life and others, just turning into good internet friends. I remember when at one point in time that last statement would make the people in your real life give you a concerned look but now it isn’t uncommon at all to meet up with people you’ve met on the internet.
That said, I have been thinking a lot about just what these companies we all (or most of us) have used at one time or another, particularly Facebook and Google(…and yes I’m aware that we’re tracked on everything we do online because #advertising). Of course there are other sites in there, but the first one is of course the big one at the moment and has been for awhile. There’s no shortage of articles going back several years of various tech people trying to sound the alarm on Facebook; I just read one from 2012 talking about so many of the issues that were brought up in the news recently. It does give me a particular delight to have been slightly ahead of the game with deactivating my account in spring of 2015 and I kick myself for taking until this last December to permanently delete it. Of course there’s the very real possibility that that data isn’t deleted at all and Facebook can’t prove it isn’t tucked away on some server, another problem addressed in various articles over the last couple of weeks.
Now, my data, which I downloaded before I hit ‘delete’ didn’t really cause me that much concern—but what bothers me most is the manipulation of the data for emotional responses and algorithm reasons, and the overall ick factor of what happened with CA (I don’t want to actually say their name because they are so creepy…gah, I guess I really need to read Dark Money by Jane Mayer soon), with the tricking people into taking quizzes and using the user’s data and their friend’s data. But from what I understand, those who have the app on their phone, there’s *much* more data that Facebook is collecting from you. I saw one article about some data FB had from phone calls and text messages. I am so thankful I never had that app on my phone. Now, I am on different Facebook owned platform and am currently in an ethical conundrum—do I keep using the platform or do I try to limit it somehow? So far I’ve decided to not install the app, or many apps, on the next phone I upgrade to, which I will be doing in a few weeks. I’ll leave it on the older phone and the Kindle and limit it to that.
A lot of the security issues became front and center with a more general population right after the election with various people writing about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and the use of other secure online services, in addition to the talk of a certain subset switching back to dumb phones. And even before all of this there was a set of people who just didn’t post photos of their children’s faces online to protect their privacy, to allow them to set their own guide for what they wanted their digital footprint to be when they were of age. I admit, on the last one I was a little skeptical about that but now I think it is probably a pretty good guideline. The cat is out of the bag in regards to having photos of Forest online and to be honest, I don’t mind sharing photos here on the blog. But I have pulled back in sharing some stories about him just for the simple fact that he probably doesn’t want that to be in his search history one day!
I truly don’t regret quitting Facebook. Yes, I do miss seeing some updates from a few people but to be honest we once lived a life where no one knew the daily goings on of everyone and their neighbor’s dog. I reach out to people I haven’t heard from in awhile via text or email and if I really love you, I call you. I expect most everyone else is capable of this same thing and there is this wonderful thing called the internet where you can search for people if you don’t have their contact information. Most people are searchable in one way or another—I found an old forum friend when I came across her YouTube channel!
I miss the small internet, where there were forums and small groups, blogs that were written with a frequency that made you excited when someone posted an update. I’d like to get back to that again, or some re-creation of that. I hope it isn’t wishful thinking.
I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this so here’s a few links to read because other people are better with this than I am: On Leaving Facebook by Sean Bronner from 2012(!!), On Social Media and Its Discontents by Cal Newport (outspoken anti-social media tech guy…you can peruse his blog for other insightful commentary), Why I’m Quitting Social Media by Tammy Strobel, Why I Deleted Facebook by Derek Sivers.
This is Us: Still loving this show! They ended the season earlier than I would have liked, though.
The Big Bang Theory: Wondering how they are going to approach the death of Stephen Hawking!
Homeland: Ok, ignore everything I wrote about this last time—so much has changed and they have really thrown me for a loop with where President Keane really stands. Bringing in so many great relevant aspects to current events into the show. And Carrie, well, girl needs some help.
Call the Midwife: The new season just started up and somehow I managed to watch the second episode before the first one! I love this show and I think I need to revisit the first couple of seasons.
+Outside My Window
Today we had some rain which we did need! I thought we were fairly dry but the front yard low spot filled up pretty quickly this afternoon. It’s also been warming up to the mid-80s a few times in the last couple of weeks—time for sunscreen and hats, and lunchtime showers during the week!
I got an idea back in February, pondered on it for a few weeks and then decided to just go for it….so, I haven’t spread this far and wide yet because I’m a: still needing to record the first two episodes for May and b: needing to pin down some guests for the summer, but here it is: Orange Blaze: A Florida Trail Podcast!
Not much time for anything else these days but I need to get my watercolors back out.
+In The Garden
The monarchs are back! We noticed them on Bolivar peninsula when we were there two weekends ago and when we arrived home that evening I found one on our milkweed! Woohoo! I collected 14 eggs and all of them hatched but one. Then I lost three caterpillars somehow—I never know what happens to them—and now I have 10 chompers in the tent outside! So excited to start this season out as they migrate north.
I’ve been weeding, mulching, and getting plants going for the spring and early summer. It won’t be long and we will need to think about summer plantings. The blackberries are already blooming—soon fruit! I still have a ton of blackberry jam from last year so if I see you in person, ask for some! Strawberries are starting to roll in but we are battling a really rough snail invasion this year—they ate through one of my large borage plants and I had to break some stalks off! So, between getting to the berries before the snails do they are eating other things as well. I lost some greens seedlings earlier in the year to them. I really need our rosy wolf snails to return because they are carnivorous and eat other snails and slugs! Natural pest control!
I just finished The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables. I really loved the book but felt I didn’t get the total experience from reading it on a Kindle so I will be buying it when it gets published. So many beautiful photos and a great addition to my LMM library. I’m currently listening to The Nature Fix which is good but I’m not so sure I should have listened to it as the narrator is a little hyper. Maybe that’s the author coming across but I’m having a hard time with it.
I likely won’t get around to a book report for March so I’ll merge it with April’s.
Evenings outside! New rollerblades! I had been leaving mine on the porch where they started rusting, but the wheels were wearing badly and the brake was almost non-existent again. So the new ‘blades are smooth and easy! Doing some bodyweight exercises and feeling good about those. Quick Pasta and Chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen. I really loved it, used elbow noodles and would add in more than I did for this recipe. I even added more than it called for. I skipped the pepper and added other flavorings. I think this is an easily adaptable recipe. Throw some sausage in there if you are really wanting some meat but the chickpeas provide a good texture in place of meat.
What’s up with you?
I really appreciate your commitment to keeping in touch with people and blogging regularly. I’m so glad we became *internet* friends!
I’m also over here thinking about social media and my next steps. I’ve always been one to burn down the barn as I’m leaving, deleting everything and walking away from social media, but for a few reasons, I’m not sure I want to do that this time (maybe I’ve gotten burned one too many times?). I’m not sure what my next steps are, but I appreciate hearing what others are doing to keep their data safe. It feels like the wild West of big brother data and it’s not a comforting feeling.
Patrice La Vigne
Internet friend here!! I agree with you that I feel blogging and connecting with others via blogs feels more genuine and throwback to the “smaller Internet world.” I don’t ever think about the damage I am doing to myself by being online, though I know I should be.
I just want to point out, you were an early computer gal! I didn’t TOUCH my first computer until freshman year of college (2000). Cra-cra.
I think you’ve convinced me about Homeland. That may have to be next for us.