Recently a great Australia Politician died, Gough Whitlam. In three years he brought about policies that changed the face of Australia – free university education, protection of the environment, aboriginal land rights, universal health cover, and in what John Pilger believes was his downfall, an attempt at national autonomy.
It was fascinating to watch both sides of parliament praise Gough’s policies and it made me think, if Gough really did threaten to close down the American spy base, Pine Gap, which is based in Central Australia, what would have he thought of the likes of Julian Assange and Eric Snowden? Would he have called Assange a Traitor as Prime Minister Gilliard did? I’d like to think that as a lawyer, he would have enacted some law to help protect whistleblowers!
Ever since watching the Adam Curtis documentary, ‘All watched over by machines of loving grace’, I’ve had an uneasy feeling about social media and the direction the internet is heading. It had such an affect on me I actually made a short video featuring script lifted directly from the film.
The film actually made me question my own reasons for making videos and has probably even changed my style. Having been one of the early adopters of youtube, I wanted to test my own ability to front the camera and vlog. Now I’m just as happy to avoid doing host driven content, letting others tell their story alone.
But I still continued using social media, I kind of felt I had to! That to continue being popular on youtube I had to play this stupid game of fishing for likes! Even though I knew that it was really all bullshit. I watched other travel vloggers and bloggers mysteriously gain 1,000’s of subscribers or views etc overnight. Buying fake views or subscribers was not something I wanted to be involved in.
I remember using the internet for the first time in the late 1990’s. I must say it seduced me, to have all that information available at the click of a mouse.
I lived through and was involved in the early days of the whole youtube vlogging culture. I used sites like couchsurfing to help me meet locals as I traveled.
But of late I think the internet has taken some sinister turns. I don’t agree with government surveillance of all citizens under the guise of stopping terrorism. I don’t like the way multinationals like google and apple have become poster boys for how to avoid paying tax. I don’t like how whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden have been hunted like animals for speaking the truth.
And so, in my own small way, I am making an attempt to reduce my use of any of the Prism Nine – Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple. This means I will actively seek ways to avoid using their services where possible. I will close my gmail account and use two newly created business and private email addresses through my website. I will stop using my personal facebook page. I will still use youtube as a means to test audience reaction to my videos and as a marketing tool. I will still use apple products to edit my videos. I will still post to social media from my overlander.tv site, but via an automated system. I want to disengage from the whole social media circus!
Not only is this a protest against government surveillance of it’s citizens, but also an attempt to live more in the ‘now’. To enjoy the current moment, with whomever I happen to be with, and to respect that current moment, by not sharing it with anyone online.
I’m not going full cave man on this quest! The internet is a handy tool for sourcing information, but I am taking control of what information I share on the internet and how I find that information.
With the time I gain from avoiding social media sites, I hope to do all the things social media claims to do – meet up with friends, (face to face) get involved in my local community, and God forbid, leave the house without my mobile phone!