Every little bit helps

Quitting Facebook. Renouncing Uber. Avoiding Amazon. There have never been more or greater reasons for turning your back entirely on much of Big Tech.

The last few years have brought an endless stream of scandals and unflattering revelations. There aren’t many starry-eyed optimists left who still believe that Silicon Valley is just here to build a better world. We’ve almost all come to accept the fact that Big Tech is here less to help the world and more to devour it.

If you’ve reached a similar conclusion, the natural dichotomy is one of apathy vs revolt. And let’s face it, apathy is the far more common out. What am I, in my lonely being, able to do in the face of such power and abuse? Best not to think about it too much, and – will you look at that! – these companies are experts at helping you not think about the structure and stranglehold of their businesses.

Revolt: deleting your accounts, swearing off the services, advocating for alternatives, is draining and even isolating work. No wonder most people can’t fit in such a fight in their daily routines of anxiety. Quitting cold turkey ain’t no feast.

But these aren’t the only options! You don’t have to either resign yourself to your utter insignificance or don a cape while shouting in the wind. There’s power in the margins. Tremendous power.

We don’t all need to quit Facebook outright, foreswear Uber entirely, and never shop at Amazon again to have an impact. All of these companies are already walking a precarious tightrope of towering expectations. They don’t need to miss a quarter by more than a few percent before it’s a calamity that’ll get everyone’s attention.

So here’s what you can do: A little bit. It helps. Really.

If you are addicted to cigarettes, you don’t have to stop smoking from one day to the next to do your lungs a favor. Going from two packs of unfiltered to one pack of filtered is real progress! Your lungs will no doubt thank you for the step forward, even if they might not-so-secretly wish you’d quit altogether some day.

And it’s easier to eventually quit fully if you’re down to just a few than if you’re smoking forty a day. Every day it’ll get a little easier, but you gotta do it. That’s the hard part. But it gets easier. (And you’re not a terrible human or a failure if you occasionally regress a little).

So it goes with patronizing Big Tech. If you’re giving Facebook an hour a day at the moment, you can either start by only giving it an hour every other day, or cut it to thirty minutes. That’s still hard, habits are stubborn, but it’s not as hard as going cold turkey from one day to the next. And your brain, along with the rest of society, will thank you for the progress.

You can even mix and match. I’ve given up cold turkey on Uber, Facebook, and Instagram, but with Amazon simply cut down my purchases to a minimum rather than zero (canceling Prime helped with that impulse!). I just enjoyed a three-week break from Twitter, but will return there shortly. It’s not all or nothing. Something counts. Something works.

8 thoughts on “Every little bit helps

  1. This is a interesting post…This world is going berserk over the technology! The human team is taking a backseat – people have become mere pawns in this digital age world. And these companies you mentioned are creating their own blackbox ecosystems and want to cage as many people as possible – like they tame animals in a zoo! Mostly I have not logged on FB in the past 4-5 years, very rarely if ever – that too for maintaining our non-profit chapter FB page for volunteers. Uber – have gone cold turkey! again for several years now. I travel many times for my work and ALWAYS use Lyft. Amazon is the one which I haven’t been able to fully disavow!! But case-by-case basis of what I am shopping for, I try to use alternatives. I guess I am doing my little bit 🙂

  2. Precisely. I made my own move towards “fuck facebook” a year ago. First step? Deleted the app from my phone. It took almost another whole year to completely ditch it and delete my account.

    Why did it take so long? I had to find alternatives. Group chats, events and shared calendars with my peers. Something acceptable (no spying, no tracking, no ads, no data misuse) and easy to grasp (they had to understand and adapt and I refused to be their on-call-support). I failed at some of these points but we’re fine anyway. We discovered a vital element of our phones: they can also make calls. Mindblowing. So we make a call when we need to schedule something together.

    The only real problem was with my rugby team – they simply use facebook and whatsapp with no intention for leaving it. Therefore I’m kept in the dark and occasionally show on the pitch when there’s nobody to play with 😃

    1. Most of the corporate world is full of unethical practices… GAFAs under the disguise of being technological evangelists have created a very bogus world of their own…and now Uber – which started to solve a real world problem and has attained growth and power like GAFAs is mired with illegal activities beyond imagination. Hope you have read about all the unethical activities brazenly conducted by their managers…there is lot! So, all these so called companies fulfilling ‘American dream’ are nothing but corrupt corporations of the current world and they think WHATEVER they are doing is best for the world!!! Anyways, I choose the lesser EVIL and alternative wherever I can. Others should do their bit.

  3. Nice article.

    I found it easy to quit scrolling through Facebook & cutting notifications was easy – but what to do with the remote friend or relative who posts frequently, and who’s never going to try anything new without everyone else doing the same?

    The whole Facebook setup (except reconnecting technophobes with long lost friends & relatives) is an insult to all, even to those who don’t know any better. But, I don’t want to be a jerk.

    Just waiting for the heavy hitting (but at least, somewhat ethical) Facebook replacement with to get here, whoever they may be.

  4. This was helpful! Kind of confirms where I am at now. I waver between apathy and revolt. I’ve done a mix too. On the fence about deleting Facebook ( again).

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