On Quitting Google and Facebook

I am either on a plane right now or stuck in an airport, so while I’m traveling I’m going to suggest you read the three new articles in Gizmodo’s Goodbye Big Five series:

I Cut Facebook Out of My Life. Surprisingly, I Missed It.

The first day of the Facebook block is Halloween, which is particularly hard because I can’t post cute photos of my 1-year-old, Ellev, dressed up as Boo from Monsters Inc. (I ordered the costume on Amazon, of course, pre-block.) And I can’t find out what my friends are dressed as unless I individually text or email them, which is weird. The only people who get to see my family as Boo, James P. Sullivan (me), and Mike Wazowski (my husband) are the members of my extended family with whom we trick-or-treat, the strangers we pass IRL, my in-laws due to a photo sent on a group text thread, and a couple of friends to whom I text photos apologizing for the “bespoke sharing.” I have to admit that the enjoyment of a holiday dedicated to dressing up is somewhat degraded when not using Facebook’s apps.

I Cut Google Out of My Life. It Screwed Up Everything.

Going off Google doesn’t come naturally. In addition to mentally kicking myself every time I talk about “Googling” something, I have to make a “banned apps” folder on my iPhone, because otherwise, my fingers keep straying out of habit to Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Calendar—the three apps that, along with Instagram and Words With Friends, are in heaviest rotation in my life.

I Cut Microsoft Out of My Life—or So I Thought

Even though I don’t use any Windows machines, don’t own an Xbox, and don’t turn to Microsoft Office for document creation, the company still turns out to be tricky to block, not so much online, but in the real world, where Dhruv and his VPN can’t help me. In one surprise example, I run into the Redmond giant in my car—a 2015 Ford Fusion, which I have from a long-term rental service called Canvas. I’ve been driving it for weeks but only now notice a placard on the center console that reads, “SYNC, powered by Microsoft.” Turns out, Microsoft’s technology powers the car’s entertainment and navigation system, so I have to drive to work in silence.

If you haven’t already read the first installment in this series, which I shared as part of last Friday’s News Roundup, go back and read it too: I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash.