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  • Tracy Ann Essoglou

    I concur with Melanie...'exemplary post.'
    As a thinking architect, turning off the 'noise' whether object, app or feature is the hallmark of critical-engagement. Exercising our powers of discernment vis-a-vis technology overload is a skill unto itself.
    Also, thanks to those who suggested alternatives and programs that facilitate personal control.

  • Melanie Kissell

    Exemplary post!! And a true breath of fresh air. Thanks for tellin' it like it is, Douglas. Technology is most assuredly the proverbial double-edged sword.

  • Juliet Waters

    Last year I put a few hours a week towards learning programming and app design fundamentals and it's completely changed my relationship with technology. I no longer feel that desperate sense of overwhelm. I recently helped a FB friend uncheck the box in the gmail app that automatically notifies for new e-mail. It was hidden deep in the bowels of that app. She'd asked an IT student to help and even he couldn't find it. But I found it. Once you've made the decision not to let your smart phone be smarter than you, it yields.

  • Kierra Bussey

    This has happened to me so many times:

    We get “phantom vibration syndrome” where we think our phones our buzzing on our thighs even though our pockets are empty; we struggle to multi-task, even though every study tells us this only diminishes our productivity and the depth of our thought.

    Thanks for sharing. I will certainly take your advice and restructure my tech use :)

  • Andrew Andrew

    There is a program called workrave for win32 and linux that helps me with this.
    It's free of course...

    I have Facebook, twitter etc, and simply point them back to my own website. For Web Surfing I use Torara\Tor\Privoxy eset-nod32\Comodo [No plugs\addons\Java.].

    I also try to mis-inform any registration with fake default information eg: Birthday's of by a year and never my last name, etc... As far as cell-Phones eset-nod 32 and only use apps I need.

  • Gillian Owen

    This must be why I find the automation of my settings so helpful. I use Atooma right now to control when and how I get notified on my phone. I feel like it makes my life less stressful and more focused.

  • uberfahr

    "...if it doesn’t grant you access to the settings you need to make it work for you, then dump it. Because otherwise, you’re working for it." --> Why Facebook is not a good option for most people and why FB is likely doomed given the criticality of the current time.

  • elisedv

    "Even if you’re not paying a red cent*... "

    Or being paid... how can we monetize our data trails?

    • Douglas Rushkoff

      There's ways. Even Facebook has tried to let people in on the profit to be derived from selling consumer data. I think it's still creepy, though. is thinking of getting into that too, I believe.

  • Michael Dila

    These thoughts are the more important since we are already arriving at the point when the online/offline distinction will forever lose its meaning.

    The question of how to manage habitat within the context of the pervasive network is either one that can be answered actively or passively.

    I do think that the issues are becoming more complicated than just flicking a set of filtering choice switched on a personal dashboard.

    Jill Lepore's fantastic article in the New Yorker about the NSA's Prism program offers a compeling reflection on the evolution of concepts (and their realities) from mystery to secrecy to privacy. One of Lepore's most important insights is that these are ideas and social realities with a changing history rather than a static reality.

    Your point that we can no longer comfort ourselves with the notion that binary choices are possible, let alone desirable, is an important one.