I feel as though I have to explain why I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about the internet and companies like Google and Amazon.
We give up our information to them freely and they profit off it.
So we head over to Google and search for “this”. It makes a note of it. It becomes part of your profile. You search something else, “that” and it makes a note of it too. By searching for “this” and “that” their algorithm thinks you’ll also like “this other thing”. This is just two searches. How many searches have you made in your lifetime? It’s kept all those and has a pretty accurate picture of who you are and what kind of person you are. What’s the big deal with that? Surely it’s good. It is in a way but they’re using this information to profit off you. They have advertisers who pay them to make sure their ads get seen by the correct people and Google knows EXACTLY who those people are.
Google’s services are all free because with every service you use with them, they are collecting data from you. I’m not saying they read your emails but it scans the content of your emails and delivers adverts based on that.
This is why I’ve started looking for alternatives for these companies and I feel gross having advertised both this companies in the past and also embedding their “Analytics” crap on my site which just helped them collect data too. I’m very sorry about that.
It’s time for me to put my metaphorical tin foil hat back on so I can go on a crazy rant about how the Google has a file on me. Well it turns out that they kind of do.
I got a notification from Google Maps. Yeah weird. It asked me if the place I’d visited the day before took reservations. Why did it know I was there? Having searched around I found that it had kept copious notes of my movements for a while. What the Hell!
I am new to the anti-internet tracking thing so I apologise for making such a rookie mistake. If you have Android and have Google Maps there is a thing in settings called “Timeline”. You need to delete all the information in there. While you’re at it, disable “GPS Location” setting on your phone too and only turn it on when you need it.
I know that I’m going to sound mental by the end of this post but I want to get this off my chest.
We are freely giving our information to the internet and it makes me very uncomfortable. Every search you make on Google is saved. They keep a history of all your searches on their services and compile them to make a profile of you. They know the ins and outs of you as a person. They then use this information to put adverts in front of your eyes that they think you’ll probably click on. They’re getting paid lots of money for providing this service to big companies.
The same can be said for Amazon. Think about it, how many times have you been on there and it’s recommended you buy something else? It keeps your history and works out (quite accurately) what you’re likely to purchase.
I understand that it’s smart and amazing that these companies are able to do that but it’s scary that we are their products. They make money by having our information that we give them for free.
There are alternatives. They might not be as sophisticated as the bigger companies but it brings comfort that they’re not collecting data. You can also install many plugins that block data collection too.
OK, so I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a month so I’m writing the “I’m sorry I’ve been active I promise to post more regular” post. Well, kind of.
The reason I haven’t posted for so long is because I’ve stopped myself posting. I’ve had passing ideas but then I decided against them for whatever reason. I am still on somewhat of a personal journey and I have thought a lot about the internet and the relationship it has in people’s lives. I have seen people inadvertently offending people and causing a tiny shitstorm. I don’t want to do that and I may have done that had I written the rants I was going to.
I used to truly believe that the internet was a place for freedom of speech and I’ve said a few saucy things over the years (for comedy effect) and I wouldn’t dare say that stuff now because it’s just not worth the hassle. The attitude used to be “it’s OK it’s the internet”. You couldn’t just stumble upon “close to the bone” comedy but now any one can find it, get offended by it and cause problems for the creator which makes things not worth it.
I’ve also not been posting personal related stuff because I have a journal and I prefer to keep that stuff private.
As you may or may not know I used to post a daily blog (of varying quality here) for nearly two years but at the beginning of this year I came to term with the idea of perhaps not doing it every day because I was just publishing any old shit.
More recently I decided that I would post twice a week as that way I could focus more on quality but then the deadline for one of my posts loomed. I found myself trying to write something but it was shit. So I didn’t. I missed my deadline. As the time passed I noticed some things:
The world didn’t end.
Nobody really noticed.
I felt like I achieved something by letting go of the idea that I NEED to post regularly.
Since then I have felt like a burden has been lifted. I enjoy writing for this blog but it’s not super important that I meet deadlines or whatever. Everything will be fine if I miss them. Heck, I don’t actually need a deadline, this is a hobby.
It’s liberating when you let go of things. If we all hang on to everything it’ll stand in the way of us being happy.