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It's been about 5 or 6 years since I started to question and change my online activities and my tech use, and soon later modded the nosurf subreddit¹ as well as the related forum that existed back then, plus writing blog posts for the website. I deleted a lot of online presences, had blockers on my devices, and had other rules.
Overall, it was very helpful and I'm glad I already did that years ago. I think I am pretty happy with my online and overall tech use nowadays.
My phone is used for the necessities - texting, calling, music, navigation, payment, tickets, researching on the fly etc. and I don't look at it much otherwise.
The tablet is for drawing, reading, occasional YT, journaling and organizing my time and life.
My laptop is mainly used for personal projects (coding/art), university, being actually social by talking to people and partaking in online events like watchtogethers, game evenings and our DnD/Cthulhu sessions, some gaming every now and then, and some specific websites.
That's usually the forum I frequent, HN, Tildes, new blog entires on smol.pub or bearblog, and some Merriam-Webster games (Quordle and Blossom; I do these together with my girlfriend every day usually. Our highscore for Blossom is 368 8)). I check cohost once a month. The others are hosters.
I really like how slow and small(er) it all is, so there's never any fear of missing out, and has natural points to just simply stop and do something else. There's also nothing algorithmic about it, so I don't get sucked in. None of these have content that only pertains to my interests specifically. I get varying amounts of content that I even wanna click on, and it is usually little - I can be done with all of it in under an hour. It's like: 3 links here, 2 threads there, 3 blog posts. Done.
The content is also much more heartfelt and personal, having a nicer tone and good faith interpretations of everything. People feel safer and treat other people better. I feel enriched afterwards, not drained. I feel closer to people and like we aren't so different.
But I noticed the negativity towards time spent online or on tech is still there for me, as if I still used it negatively, to my own detriment. It must be a mix of parental "You're still on that damn computer!!" in my teenage years, to the books I've read and the community I briefly found in that subreddit, plus the general tone in regards to the internet shifting to the negative the last few years, but especially this year.
I remember when I started limiting my use and deleting accounts, and people thought it was weird, not useful, and I sounded like an alien to people when I said why I did it. The general attitude was: What happens online isn't even real, internet addiction is also not real, and it's a conspiracy to believe that it can interfere with our focus, attention spans, sleep, or our dopamine reception. You're a luddite. I remember people making fun of nosurf all the time.
But by now, the information about it all is ubiquitous - tons of tweets, news articles, blogs, and books talking about negative effects, digital minimalism, digital detoxes, calling for the end of social media. Implementations like Screen Time, Downtime; apps like one sec and others. People left and right taking breaks, deleting or deactivating accounts, or talking how annoying and awful the internet feels to them right now.
So it seems unavoidable to me to realize I've sat on the laptop for hours and feel bad and guilty about it. I think I still pick up on the general attitude about it, and I am still influenced by what I learned years ago in my own journey, what was true for my use back then, and what I had to model as a mod for the subreddit.
But when I look at how I use my tech, nothing of it is bad and I regret nothing. It doesn't cause my mood to drop, and I felt like I could stop using it any time. I use it to talk to friends, study, work on my projects and read insightful things from strangers on their blogs. No doomscrolling, no fighting, no outrage news. I still got things done in the household, had a little walk, did some yoga among other things. I had interesting new topics to think about.
This is ideal.
I definitely need to let go of the online guilt that is still remaining and undo the damage that thinking all tech use is bad did to me. The way my time is spent is not automatically better once it doesn't involve a screen. I feel good about the way I use my tech, so there doesn't need to be any guilt.
¹ thoughts about that
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽