My Social Media Timeline & Perspective
This page is primarily for my friends and family, from Alaska to Florida and points in between, who may wonder why I haven't been active on most social media, other than Flickr, since 2019. My explanation follows.
My Social Media Timeline (2008 to 2023)
In 2008, I joined Facebook. For the next 11 years, I enjoyed interacting with family and friends.
In 2009, I joined Flickr. For the next 10 years, I used the platform primarily to back up my photos online.
In 2013, I joined Instagram @WalksInPortland and posted my walks photos there.
In 2014, I joined Twitter @WalksInPortland and posted photos during my walks.
In 2019, I changed my Twitter and Instagram handles to @PNWPhotoWalks to recognize the cities other than Portland where I was walking.
In 2019, when I saw that Facebook and Instagram were using methods to leverage negative emotions such as anger, fear, jealousy, and shame, I decided to no longer remain active on either platform.
In 2020, after I retired, I rebooted my LinkedIn account as read-only.
In 2021, I decided to also reboot my Twitter account as read-only. I use Twitter lists to "follow" certain individuals and organizations.
In addition to a few of the social media platforms above, I have other read-only shell accounts that I use to monitor local events and activities. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to become active on Meta's new Threads platform, or another Twitter clone. This leads me to the next section.
My Perspective on Social Media Today
I try to stay informed about public interest subjects, but I don't rely on social media. I like well-written long-form journalism. I maintain a curated list of sources and strive for balance among all of my sources with political viewpoints.
I don't like to subscribe to any internet source where I know I'll be tracked. See my reasons below.
I disregard national and regional publications that I think exhibit strong media bias. I disregard journalists who do the same.
I try to avoid social media bubbles.When needed, I tap into scholarly resources (academic libraries) and not-so-scholarly resources (Wikipedia) to learn about a subject and add reference information to my photos on Flickr.
I think Google's privacy practices are intrusive, so I now use DuckDuckGo for web searches.
I don't understand why people continue to use social media platforms that monetize their personal data at the expense of their privacy. However, I understand why people want to be “liked” and have many followers. It's human nature.
When the dopamine hits become the primary reason for being extremely online, however, it can become an addiction. There is now a large body of behavioral health research on this subject.
I also don't understand how people with thousands of followers, regardless of the social media platform, can genuinely keep up with their engagement.
I'm concerned about the adverse effects of platforms such as Instagram and TikTok on our youth. I recommend watching the docudrama film The Social Dilemma (2020) or the documentary film TikTok, Boom (2022) to understand why.
My professional work experience and education also led to my decision to unplug from most social media. During my career in IT, information management, data management, and metadata management were my specialized domains. In my University of Oregon MS graduate program, information design and information architecture were core focus areas.
In my work and my graduate studies, I saw the coupling of big data, artificial intelligence, mobile computing, and the Internet of Things leading to surveillance capitalism. The films I referenced above provide more information.
To my knowledge, none of my former employers ever exploited the data or metadata of individuals (patients, customers, consumers, or citizens) in this manner.
I encourage people to critically read the Terms of Service Agreements (TOS) for their service providers (social media platforms, search engines, web browsers, etc.). I still need to write a TOS agreement for this website, as I mention on my Future Plans page.
While the USA has industry-specific and state-level data privacy and security laws, such as FISMA, HIPAA, SOX, and CCPA, I think we should also enact federal legislation similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I tip my hat to the whistleblowers and legislators in the USA who are finally addressing this important matter.
In Oregon, I'm encouraged when I read HB 4017. If adopted in 2023, this legislation will require data brokers to register with the State of Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services. I think it's a positive incremental step in addressing data privacy.
Last updated: 7/15/2023