2018 Retrospective

by
Annika Backstrom
in Personal, on 30 December 2018 (history)

As is tradition, I find myself thinking about the past year and future plans over the December holiday.

Social Networking

In 2018, I ditched all my big social accounts. I deleted my Twitter accounts in August, Facebook in November, and this month deleted my little-used Instagram account. (Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012.) I've been all-in on Mastodon since 2017, creating my first account in March before settling at @annika@xoxo.zone the following month.

The incentives for the big social networks are all wrong, and I think that sort of centralization weakens the web. I would rather see a diverse ecosystem of smaller interconnected servers, than these large ad-supported databases that prey on our worst impulses. I plan to keep advocating for the Fediverse and similar alternatives in 2019.

Shopping

I severely cut back on my Amazon purchasing this year. I live in a rural area and delivery services overall hold great appeal, but it's harder and harder to justify supporting Amazon. It's easy to mindlessly purchase everything from Amazon, but with a little effort, I'm finding that other shops are very competitive on price and delivery time.

Ideally, I could completely eliminate Amazon delivery in 2019. We still have Kindle readers, but I'm looking into Kobo as an alternative. I'm a heavy Twitch user (Amazon bought Twitch in 2014) and I'm stuck with that for a long while, but I hope to stop Amazon Prime next year and I don't think I would miss any Twitch benefits.

Mobile Phone

This actually happened near the end of 2017, but I made the jump from Apple iOS (iPhone) to Google Android (Samsung Galaxy Note8). Google's not much better than Apple in a lot of regards, but at least the app store ecosystem is more diverse.

There are some open-source mobiles on the market, and I'll continue to watch them in 2019.

Email

Gmail (via Google Apps) hosted my email for years. Their dashboard says I created my account in 2008, but I don't have records of when Gmail became my primary. I think I was still using self-hosted qmail before that move.

In 2018, I migrated from Gmail to Fastmail (referral link). It's been a very positive experience, I really have nothing but good things to say about Fastmail.

Web Search

Around the same time as the Fastmail move, I changed my primary search engine back to DuckDuckGo. I tried to do this years ago, but DDG just wasn't there yet. This time around, the change has stuck. I miss Google about 5% of the time, and when I need it, Google (and hundreds of other searches) are just a bang away.

Final Thoughts

In 2019, I'll continue to look for alternatives that are better aligned with my own values. For gaming, I'm hoping we'll see more DRM-free titles on Steam alternatives like Kartridge and Itch.io. Music consumption also leaves room for improvement. Maybe this means more consistent scrobbling from Spotify to Last.fm and making sure I buy DRM-free or physical copies of songs in heavy rotation.