by tom moodyComments Off on Tales from the other side
You could choose not to use Facebook and smartphones (1) because you are "tech-phobic" or simply "clueless" or "out of it," or (2) as a volitional, political act.
If it's (1) you might get sympathy from users who try to "bring you up to speed." If it's (2) be prepared for ridicule and peer pressure to conform.
Here are a few tales from the "other side" -- the land of Alternative (2):
1. You are in a bar in the East Village and you pull out your flip phone. The woman waiting tables sees it and says "cool -- I wish I could do that." A few months later, you pull out the same phone to check the time and a family member scoffs and says "Scotty, beam me up."
2. You are talking with a fellow blogger who says "I've moved most of my writing over to Facebook -- I have to be on there for professional reasons."
3. Another blogger, the always-excellent Moon of Alabama, considers whether to get a smartphone and says "Nah," opting for a $26 regular cell with numeric keypad (curious what kind of "plan" he has, though).
4. You are traveling to Houston. To get from one place to another in the city, everyone you talk to says "take an Uber." You've heard enough bad things about that exploitative and unsuccessful company that you want no part of it. You find a taxi service on Yelp (on your laptop) that requires no app, just a phone call. The driver says their business model (in Houston and Atlanta) consists of appealing to passengers who don't want to use Uber.
5. A Linuxmusicians user considers a supposedly Snowden-endorsed app that turns a "second phone" into a motion-sensing burglar alarm to protect your "first phone" or laptop from "unexpected guests and unwanted intruders." Say what? Followers of Yasha Levine's "surveillance valley" research know to be wary of apps that "secure" phones when it's the phone itself that's the issue. User asbak makes the case: "Apps and magic fixes cannot solve such problems. Only human behaviour and choices can." But what is the "problem" here? Apparently that a "hostile" can approach you while you are texting away and not paying attention and you need a virtual watchdog to start barking and warn you to stop typing. Having a "second phone" would seem to be doubling the surveillance opportunies but whatever.
6. You've avoided Windows 10 and its monitoring and surveillance regime and moved most of your PC activities to Linux. You still have Skype on W7 for phone calls. Microsoft announces a "no dirty talk on Skype" policy. You can't keep up with the evil.
7. You try to conform to the herd by changing your blog to a "responsive" (mobile-friendly) format. Belatedly you realize that the developer of your theme is such a suckup to the Man he has you loading fonts directly from Google every time someone accesses your blog. And you fell for it. You add "getting a better theme" to your to-do list.