We are at that part of the year where we are coming up with a deluge of resolutions ranging from health, relationships, career and our finances. Indeed research shoes that during this time of the year, the temporal landmark of the new year date is a key motivator to pause and think slow leading to a more rational decision compared to other parts of the year, so be dissuaded not, it does work!
We have probably had a dietary detox and indeed after the indulgence of the festivities period I bet you not the majority of new year resolution will centre around this sort of dietary interventions. There is a new Sherriff in town that will certainly start featuring alongside your dietary detox, and that is digital data detox.
So how did this come to be? Sample this, how many apps do you have typically on your smart phone? They could probably range from social networking apps, money lending app, games, betting, emails, taxi apps, news and entertainment apps etc. Do you feel like your digital self is slipping out of control? Have you let yourself install too many apps, clicked “I agree” a few too many times, lost track of how many accounts you have created? You are in too many WhatsApp group that it can take you not less than an hour to peruse through the postings. This is what leads to a build up of digital data toxicity and you probably need to be on your way to a healthier control of digital self.
Computers constantly produce data-which is a by-product of everything they do. When you connect to the Internet, the data multiplies since your computer, the sites you visit and the computers connected produce data. Data is a by-product of high-tech socialization-communicating through emails, texts, FB, Twitter and Instagram. Our cell phones produce data by calculating location based on cell towers whereas smartphones produce data using GPS receiver. In shopping stores, data is produced in cash register or through video cameras. Today, computers are getting embedded into products that connect to the Internet and produce data. The Interconnected devices have enabled us to collect and analyse data about our health, well being and collects our biometric data. The data we produce is a natural by-product of computing. With all these data it easy to dismiss the retention of these data and that it is too much to save and sift through. The digital breadcrumbs concept refers to all the sources of data that a person creates and leaves behind while conducting everyday activities However, with improved technology more and more data is being saved.
For instance, In 2011 Austrian law student Max Schrems demanded that Facebook give him all the data the company had about him as a requirement of European Union (EU) law. Two years later, after a court battle, Facebook sent him a CD with a 1,200-page PDF: not just the friends he could see and the items on his newsfeed, but all of the photos and pages he’d ever clicked on and all of the advertising he’d ever viewed.
Facebook doesn’t use all of this data, but instead of figuring out what to save, the company finds it easier to just save everything.
The advent of technology has changed our relationship with data. In particular, the meteoric rise of the tech titans such as Facebook whose business models rely on the collection, creation and monetisation of data sets, has thrust data to the forefront of social and political discourses around the world. These companies, whose products are now woven into the very fabric of our existence, have shown us what data can do and how it can transform our lives, but perhaps unwittingly, they have also pushed a topic once the preserve of ‘nerds’ into the mainstream.
Everyone has a reason to care about their toxic data build up. Todays challenge is to practice the fine art of decluttering; deepen your detox by minimizing what’s already stored on the platforms you use. Your smartphone is a prime producer of runaway data, take a look at how and where data is created and collected.