My sister, an avid TikTok user, sent me a video yesterday teaching people about decentralized cloud storage. I prefer self-hosting, but of course e2ee, decentralized file storage is awesome. I'd never seen a serious implementation of it before - I'd never looked - but this video linked to three different ones: SpiderOak, Arweave, and Storj. Considering how cool these platforms are, I figured I'd try to get more resources in that same manor, so I've decided to re-download social media and force the algorithm to work for me. This has been an idea I've had for a while, and I'm finally ready to try it out.
I'm not going to use them for entertainment; I have previously demonstrated myself incapable of regulating my use, and I don't want to risk falling back into those apps. I'm going to deliberately tune my recommendations so that these platforms' advanced recommendation algorithm will deliver me things I want, right in whatever "feed" they generate. In order to make sure I don't go back to unconscious consumption, though, I'm setting a few rules for my use:
- Tune the algorithm exclusively for, uh, cool stuff discovery (and not entertainment); think of this as a news source, since if you use it for comedy you'll get sucked in again. News is addictive enough as it is.
- Spend 15 minutes or less per day on the platform; you can spend time outside of the apps/websites looking at things you find on them, but once the recommnedation algorithm is tuned you need to avoid falling into the infinite scroll. Open new tabs in background, sort through your feed, and then start to check things out. (15 min/day is still 2% or more of my waking hours, depending on how much I sleep.)
- Post nothing/input no data that could link your account to any other online presences or identities
- Remember all important privacy settings.
- Maintain other privacy practices (e.g. tracker blockers, VPN, resetting device identifier, etc.).
- Make a conscious decision to open the apps once other, more important activities are done. (don't open out of habit or boredom.)
- Watch out for QoL decreases and make sure that your use of these platforms is not causing them.
- If, at any point, you find yourself violating any of the above rules, you need to stop and/or restart the process.
Notice that I've phrased all of these rules as "do this" and never "don't do this". It's a trick I learned from a teacher of mine a while back, and I've found it exceptionally effective. Having things to actually do is much easier than having to look out for instances of me doing the thing I'm not supposed to, and I can build habits more easily that way.
Well, wish me luck. I'm going back in. It's been probably six months at least since I've used these platforms, and the cleanse has been nice. We'll see what happens.