August 16, 2014

Social Media and a Smaller Internet Footprint

As I have done most of my life, going against the grain, I have found I've done some things as recently as yesterday to continue that path. In a minor way and on the internet, that is.


A few months ago, I had started a Google+ account as many here know. It allowed me to have those readers with Google+ accounts to "follow" the blog. I had added the widget to my blog layout for that option to be easier. Google+ has a really nice layout, easy to set up and use but I still didn't like having my personal information exposed ... again.

I knew you could set up privacy settings to prevent what people around the world could see. It turned out to be just like Facebook though. Google+ would make changes and not let you know. Then you would either find out through other internet media you needed to go back in and change your settings again. Or after the fact the Google+ community would let you know the process was needed.

About the time I was trying to decide whether to delete my new Google+ account I had something happen that totally ticked me off. I personally had not set up any settings to where Google+ would have control over any photograph taken by my iPhone. I don't even use "location" on my iPhone photographs. One night taking photos of Heidi's allergy skin issues, I receive an email asking me if "I wanted to share that photograph on Google+" ????

How did they know I took that photograph??

Needless to say, with 24 hours after that email ... I deleted my Google+ account.


Facebook over the years with their changes or what they call improvements, have always did things with individual accounts and then tell you later, if they do at all. After loading 100's of photographs or in many cases where people had loaded 1,000s of photographs in their "personal accounts" ... Facebook said they could use YOUR photographs for THEIR advertising ... if they wanted to.

I thought at the time that was pretty amazing. So I deleted the photographs from my Facebook account that I did not want them to use. Probably didn't mean anything, but I did that on principal. It still irked me they were telling me over the years what they were doing. Still it is THEIR site, so they can do what they want. I understood that.

Since the inception of Facebook I had deactivated my Facebook account a couple of times but would always come back. A couple of reasons led me back. Friends would email me and tell me they enjoyed my photographs, very rare posts and it was a way to keep in touch. Another reason, I was able to collect, and read certain groups I enjoyed keeping in touch with and Facebook made that easier. Those groups were sports teams, juice diets, RVing, animal rescue, etc.

As many do I never posted when I was leaving my house, or going on trips. Why announce to the world that you were gone for so many days and my empty locked house is at your disposal??? I also never tied my Facebook with my blog. Most of the blog readers and Facebook followers were two different interests. In fact a couple of years ago I deleted every friend I had listed and only kept the groups or hobbies that I followed on my Facebook account. Then little by little friends were added.

Recently though I was thinking more and more about deleting Facebook also. As far as going back and deleting the photographs one by one before deactivating the account, I didn't do that. Although that is a must to delete your account correctly. I thought screw it, they can have those photographs on my account if they want them that bad.

Yesterday while visiting a local friend, we started discussing all of the social media that was available, what it was doing to society as a whole among other thoughts on current events. I told her I had decided that I was once again deactivating my Facebook account for a couple of reasons. I didn't like Facebook and what they were doing and plan to do. I know why they are doing it and it will amount to more $Billions$ in their bottom line. I also was doing it because I personally didn't need them anymore. She told me that she deactivated her account almost a year ago and didn't miss it.


A year or so ago I decided to give Twitter a try, not to 'tweet' all the time and let the world know where I was or what I was going to be doing. I wanted to use Twitter to do what I was doing on Facebook ... add my groups of interest, my hobbies, my favorite sports teams, my favorite dogs ... and read their information from Twitter. I also found from the sports writers or sports groups I follow that I could click their link in their tweet and was able to read a newspaper article without having to pay for a newspaper online subscription.

For me, that's a good thing.

So over the course of a year or so I have been able to slowly add a lot of the same groups, RV travelers, hobbies and my sports info to Twitter.

It has been a good replacement for Facebook and Google+

The Internet Footprint

I understand and know there is nothing I nor you can do to eliminate our personal 'footprints' we have on the internet. I mean almost all of us blog. That means there is the same production of locations, photographs, current activities are all on our blogs. Readers can tag or approve your blog posts and send them out to the internet world via the small icons that you furnish them. Readers can download your photographs and do anything they want with them and it doesn't matter if you have your own personal watermark on them and that you even have the copyright statement on your site. They will be downloaded without your permission anyway.

Still with my blog and deleting Google+ and Facebook, my 'footprint' on the internet has been reduced in some way ... that is good enough for me.

We are past the point of having our personal information kept private. We as a society will never regain that privacy. In fact our privacy was probably lost many years before the explosion of social media but social media and the internet now make so much easier for your information to get out into the public.

Getting rid of some social media accounts also does something you don't realize ... less time on the internet ... unless you find something else online to fill that gap. So far I have not and so far I see less time on the internet.

Data Packages and Limits

Over time, with cell phones to smart phones, there has been a migration by companies to sell different programs which usually mean the more you pay the more data you are allowed. Since I never watch movies, rare if at all YouTube videos nor play games on my iPhone ... my data used has been pretty low. For years I never paid attention to it. I never ran over my limits.

Recently a couple of things happened that now leads me to track my data used, not only on my iPhone but also now on my home computer. Let me explain.

I had a cell phone with AT&T when they first came out in the 90's. I used AT&T because at that time they were the ONLY service in my rural area. They were the ONLY service that worked on the locations I would work and where we traveled. So I had built up years of service with them, getting unlimited data. When AT&T started having different plans you could choose from for different monthly fees I was able to keep my old plan and be "grandfathered" in ... keeping unlimited data. That seemed like a great deal.

Every couple of years when my contract had expired I always tried to move it to a newer and cheaper plan. I was rarely making phone calls nor receiving them. Everyone was either emailing and recently texting. Both of those were unlimited usage. Yet I was paying around $87 per month and not really doing much with my account so I always wanted to change to the cheaper plan.

Of course AT&T would rather receive $87 per month from me instead of $55 per month, so they would tell me that if I moved to a lower plan I would lose my 'grandfathered' account and would no longer have unlimited data. On the surface it didn't look like a good deal to pay for any data since I was getting for the price of my monthly service and unlimited.

I never checked my data usage so I would renew for two more years and keep paying $80+/mo not really thinking about it ... that is until last winter. Last winter I wanted that $45/mo plan I kept seeing on commercials on the football and basketball games I was watching. It had unlimited texting, calls but only 1Gb of data. How could people live with that. But I decided finally after twenty some years to check out my data usage.

I went back through the past 18 months of AT&T bills and added my data usage per month. I averaged no more than 300Mb's of data and WAY below the 1Gb that was being offered and would save me around $360 over the year. I called them back and 'downgraded' to the new plan. I hate wasting money like that.

When I changed from DSL to Satellite internet service by need, that new service came with a 15Gb limit on my home computer, and my iPad and iPhone that would be using the wireless account.

If you have even read this far and I doubt many have ... you know that I make spreadsheets for everything. Well in this case I did for my home computer data usage along with a graph. This would keep me within my 15Gb limit for the month. With Exede, unlike other companies, they do not charge you for going over the limit, they just slow your internet speed down after you go over your limit. I do have the choice to buy more Gbs if I want to keep my speed and have more Gb but so far I have not had to do that.

What it did do was find out for the first time where all the data leaks were. Exede will show me what I have used as I move through the month but only in total Gb. So I opened my Activity Monitor on my iMac utilities which shows me constantly what programs are using in data received and sent.

I bring this last part of the discussion up only because sine I started writing this blog post I saw something very interesting going on the Activity Monitor. Besides the list of individual programs that I have sorted by the highest user, there is a graph of red and blue for data received and sent. While I am sitting writing this, along with three other Google Chrome tabs open, it shows Google Chrome as the highest user with a total of 33.4Mb used since I turned my computer on this morning. Second WAS my Apple email program.

I say that because usually there is very little data being used in email unless I sent an email with attachments and I would see a bump on the graph of data sent.

While I was writing this post I glanced over at the graph on my 2nd monitor and noticed that something was maxing out the blue on the graph of data received. The problem was when I looked to see what was using that ... my email had moved to the top of the list using 335Mg or 10 times as more as my browser!!

I shut off my email program immediately.

For some strange reason Apple mail on my iMac had not downloaded all of the email from this morning. These were emails I knew had had received because they were on my iPhone. I'll check into this more after I finish here.

So anyway, just a lot of rambling. This might help some of you that have a hard time staying within your data usage limits. I didn't mean to ramble like this so I guess it will be a good record for my 'journal' if nothing else.

Not a lot going on to write about. I can feel a little humidity today. I have not decided between the two trailers I've looked at over the past few weeks. The hounds have been in their normal daily activity of sleeping.

It's been a slow Saturday.

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