Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” I did this experiment to find out if that is possible, and I found out that it’s not…
These companies are unavoidable because they control internet infrastructure, online commerce, and information flows. Many of them specialize in tracking you around the web, whether you use their products or not. These companies started out selling books, offering search results, or showcasing college hotties, but they have expanded enormously and now touch almost every online interaction. These companies look a lot like modern monopolies.
I went through the digital equivalent of a juice cleanse. I hope I’m better than most dieters at staying healthy afterward, but I don’t want to be a digital vegan. I want to embrace a lifestyle of “slow Internet,” to be more discriminating about the technology I let into my life and think about the motives of the companies behind it. The tech giants are reshaping the world in good and bad ways; we can take the good and reject the bad.
Some excerpts from an interesting piece of experimental journalism by Kashmir Hill. She spent 6 weeks eliminating each of the big five tech-giants (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple) from her life and then on the last week eliminated all of them and reported on the experience.
It seems to me that experiments like this and the questions she is asking seem more pressing to Millennials and Gen-Z’ers than they do to Gen-X’ers and Boomers. I can only speculate why this is (assuming I’m even right), but I think that Gen-X’ers and Boomers are fundamentally more optimistic about technology. Could it be that older generations survived their formative years, education, and early career without new media/tech giants so they feel dispensable, while the digital natives feel trapped in a brave new world that they have to learn to navigate or die?