Cutting down on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube

The Issue

For a while Facebook was the network to keep in contact with university friends after we all graduated and then it was the network to keep in contact with colleagues. Eventually it became the network where people shared news without engaging with others. It has become a network where you scroll through dozens of irrelevant posts in the hope of finding something personal, and failing.

Instagram used to be the network where we could share images with friends and see what they were sharing. After Facebook bought Instagram it grew out of favour with people sharing between friends. Now when I use facebook I need to scroll by an advert from the second post onwards. They have flooded Instagram with so many adverts that it has become unusable.

When youtube was young we were able to look through 30-60 videos and find some that were of interest. We would need to wait for videos to buffer and then watch the desired content. Today we no longer need to wait for videos to buffer, we need to wait for adverts to pre-roll the obligatory five seconds before clicking to content we want to watch.

The Solution

It’s 2019 and I have reduced the amount of time I spend on Facebook favouring news websites, Twitter and other web portals. When Yahoo and other companies were still young we called them web portals. Facebook has shifted from being a social network to being a web portal. It has undermined person to person communication. It has undermined its unique selling point. If I want to browse through news or information websites I can use newsreader apps, web portals or visit worpdress.com

In its hayday Instagram was unique because it downscaled and uploaded images in the time it took for us to prepare the text that went with an image and we could share it despite little bandwidth. Today it has become yet another multimedia sharing option with the drawback of having to flick through adverts. They have degraded the experience so much that I have uninstalled the app from at least one of my phones. I decided that I would pay, at least for now, to preserve the thirty six thousand images on Flickr. I also paid because I want to move away from the Facebook monopoly. On Flickr I am the client, rather than advertisers.

On multiple occasions I have binge-watched content by youtube creators, sometimes for hours at a time. The issue that I have with youtube now is that they have made it challenging to find new and interesting content. This is because they have reduced the amount and diversity of videos that we can see on the home screen. It is also due to the amount of pre-roll that we have to sit through before the video starts. I often give up before the pre-roll videos have ended. The reason I gave up on YouTube content watching is the request for us to pay 20 CHF per month in Switzerland to watch content without adverts. That is more expensive than Netflix, Curiosity Stream and the same price as I would pay for a telecom provider’s various content packages. I wouldn’t mind if this content was paid for and produced by youtube and if youtube creators such as myself could monetise content, but we have been demonetised.

That’s why I stopped using Youtube. For Video On demand, I have Netflix for general interest content. I have CuriosityStream for documentaries and I have Swisscom TV for random content that is “broadcast” when I am watching television.

Conclusion

By blogging I am developing my creativity and writing skills. By sharing images on Flickr and other services I am contributing to communities where people are sharing images because they love photography rather than to become web celebrities. Finally I want to cut down on YouTube because browsing is no longer straight-forward.

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