I started my first blog 10 years ago, during my first few semesters at university as a computer science student. It was a German-language Dragon Ball fanblog, hosted via Blogger. Back then, I didn’t care about Blogger’s ownership and wasn’t really aware that Google was collecting data about every single one of my blog visitors as part of its business model. I was so naive, I even embedded Google Analytics, Facebook’s like-button and Twitter’s tweet-button into every single blog post – therefore providing Google, Facebook and Twitter with data about my readers for free, without gaining anything for myself, because there wasn’t a single ad on my blog anyways. In hindsight, the ones who benefit the most from creating Facebook and Google+ pages and separate Twitter and Instagram accounts to share blog posts on these “social media” platforms are Facebook (“Meta”), Google and Twitter themselves. But I became wiser over the years: For this blog, I made sure not to include any trackers. And this time, the blog you are reading right now is hosted on my own WordPress server, located in Germany (part of the European Union), and I’m located in Austria (also part of the European Union). Therefore, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies and should guarantee a certain minimum level of privacy for my readers, and for myself as well.
Away from Surveillance Capitalism
After Cambridge Analytica, various data breaches, and the platform proving yet again its inability to remove racist neo-Nazi posts (ok, that’s not entirely true. They actually were removed – 5 years after I reported them), I finally deleted my personal Facebook account four years ago. I moved my Dragon Ball blog from Blogger to GithubPages (then to GitlabPages, after Github got acquired by Microsoft) and deleted my Twitter accounts in 2019 because Trump – after all the hate and lies he spread there – was still allowed to keep posting on Twitter. Being Facebook (“Meta”) products, WhatsApp and Instagram are no-goes these days for me as well – I use Signal to text with my friends, and honestly don’t feel the need for anything like an “Instagram replacement”. Personalized ads on surveillance capitalism (or adtech) businesses are obviously never reviewed by any human editorial staff – what else could explain the high number of paid advertisements which are actually scams and fake news? I use Mastodon for more than 5 years now and its main advantage is having a feed which A is not sorted or filtered by some closed-source algorithm and B does not include any ads. This makes it feel so much better than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, TikTok or any other adtech business.
So, what will this Blog be about?
I don’t know yet, but it might be about spare-time software projects. I have to admit, WordPress’ user interface sure does give me Blogger flashbacks right now, so working with WordPress might be a topic too. Or the experiences I made with running my own Mastodon server and experimenting with Pleroma and WriteFreely, Fediverse server administration in general. But maybe I’ll also write about anime I watch, manga I read, or video games I play. We’ll see.