The Internet and social media, once a blessing, now a curse

Lesedauer 21 Minuten


This is one of the first attempts to publish a BLOG post in English. At one point or another it will be a little jerky with the translation. But I accept that and I hope you do too. I hope to please some of the people I met in the last years. If you find any nasty mistakes – go ahead – I need your help, and I will learn.

Once upon a time

Those who make comparisons between the past and the present quickly find themselves in the trap: “Everything was better in the past! I think the best way to escape it is to say: “It was different! I don’t know how and by whom it was imposed on me one day that I had to develop and be open to the new. That has always been one of those demands that was there with an absolute matter of course. Whoever is no longer open to the new is old. Whereby this “old” is pronounced more or less like a swear word. Standing still, missing the jump, not moving with the times, all this has a negative connotation for me. “It was different!”, means to me that I can make a decision. The new doesn’t have to be better, the old doesn’t have to be worse, and the other way around. It depends on what I personally like.

For example, I lived a life “on the road” for thirty years. In the early days, this had the disadvantage that I was not available to my family. I was just not the type of person you could reach in the office or have paged by loudspeaker in the company. And that was mostly 15 hours of the day. If I wanted to call someone, I had to get out of the car and use a phone box. It wasn’t much different before I started working. When I was young, I raced and trained for hours on my bike by myself. Mile after mile, hour after hour, alone with myself and my thoughts. Negative? Would it have been a better time with a smartphone? I don’t know. In any case, a salesperson today would sell it as an increase in my quality of life to be “connected” to everyone around me via a headset while exercising. Yet solitude on a bike can be something quite beautiful. It started with a pager, then came the first wireless phone, and much later a smartphone. I still remember a mission in which one was used for the first time because a blackmailer demanded it. No one knew how to use it, and the person delivering the money was given a quick briefing. Only we, a special service, could be expected to do something like that. It sounds as if it took place two centuries ago, but it was at the beginning of the nineties. Every time I think about the Internet, e-mails or even social media, I have to consciously recall the shortness of time and the speed of development. From us, every innovation was welcomed. Everything was great, fascinating and made life easier. Suddenly you were sent pictures of the targets in the field. You no longer had to search for lost vehicles with antiquated converted tracking devices that were originally developed for maritime use. A tracking device provided the location to the nearest meter. Lonely decisions no longer had to be made in the field.

The information was compared with the caseworker, the staff, and the top commander. But it was at this point that the first snag became apparent. Previously, there was a certain hierarchy. What there had to be had to be said at the beginning of the day, and the chief had to formulate what he wished. How his will was implemented, he had to trustingly leave to his lower-level executives on the street. Today, they are just chess pieces that are pushed back and forth by means of so-called leadership and deployment tools. Some interpret this as something positive. Why should someone with a lower pay grade make decisions and take responsibility? It’s a good thing if that ends up in the places where it belongs with modern technology. It gave me a sense of self-worth. But that’s an attitude issue. At that time, there was also this attitude to life of not being constantly available, practically by passant. If it was, it was an active act. People decided to stay at home and be reachable via the landline or to communicate their whereabouts. Today, one of the first questions on the phone is: Where are you? Freedom is often not being allowed to do something, but not having to do something. The way of life has changed and I think it’s time to stop passively letting myself be swept along by the current of development, but to take a close look at what I still want from it and what is rather not my way of life.
“You have to move with the times!”, someone once said. I don’t know this person. I am also not ready to accept this demand as a law. I’ve done this bullshit long enough. Looking back, I have rarely to never stated: Nice invention, but I won’t use it because it doesn’t suit me. What appeared on the market, I used. If I was skeptical at first, social pressure made sure of it. I remember a colleague who refused mobile phones for a really long time. Only when the boss threatened to remove him from the team did he relent. Strangely enough, technical innovations are never preceded by an analysis in which the advantages and disadvantages are weighed up.
How will this invention change people’s lives? What impact will it have on all life on planet Earth? Do we want it? Mankind has now experienced this with the beginning of the atomic age and industrialization. Something was invented, uncontrollably put into the world and people slavishly followed the consequences. Hardly anyone dared to say: “Stop! Let’s think for a moment – where is this taking us?”
The few who did became famous and were declared confused enemies of progress right off the bat. With atomic development and industrialization, this might still get by – people simply didn’t know any better – with digitization, this no longer applies. There have now been two test phases that have gotten nastily out of hand, and a third is silly. This time, if we don’t want to turn the cerebrum into an evolutionary joke, we need to think. Who or what is the human being? What controls us? How are we on the move? What in us is serving this Digital Revolution and if we draw on the experiences from the other eras: What can we expect? Is it happening? In my opinion: No! And I am a very small light in this game, one what is to be neglected completely. At the most, I could later serve as a contemporary witness. An interesting term. If you look around a bit on the pages of the German Museum, you will come across contemporary witness reports. People who report how they experienced the time at that period. To a witness also always belongs the characterization, who reports there. In my case, a former young man who was employed by the state of the Federal Republic of Germany as an investigator in criminal cases and who was sworn in on the Freedom Democratic Basic Order in this context. Swearing! This word alone must be explained in more detail to a young person today. Seriously? You have decided to give your life for an idea of women and men, who have blessed the temporal long ago? Are you completely stupid? Seen in this way, it is stupid! I looked at the basic idea at that time. Justice, dignity, freedom, overcome religion, the right to have a voice – I was able to sympathize with that.

I was 21 years old, idealistic, wanted to stand on my own two feet and thought I had learned my lesson. After that it became, I say realistic and complicated, in the end so complicated that I couldn’t cope with it anymore. Today, in 2020, I see many things differently than I did in my suit purchased from my first salary from a men’s outfitter, solemnly pronouncing the oath. The dignity of man is inviolable! Do not be ridiculous, of course you, the community, the state, touch it. All people are equal! Unless they have money or they can play soccer. Religions play no role in Germany! True for Christians and Jews, the new well poisoners are the Muslims. Racism? Poor maniacs! Racism in Europe was almost never a question of skin color, but of other mentalities, appearance, attitude to life and living together. First there was the question: they lead a different life? Why? And because one would have had to admit that this other life is just different, but quite acceptable, one found a way out: must be connected with the race. Anything else would mean that parallel to our answers there are other right ones. When I currently read the contributions on racism, I always have to grin grimly. I got to know quite different things in deportation jail. White people don’t know racism. What nonsense. Every conversation with a Vietnamese, Japanese, former US prisoner of war, teaches you better. It is always about the way of life and the constellation. But I want to focus on something else in this post.

The Internet was once a good tool

In the beginning, the Internet and social media platforms were a good thing. People who had not seen each other for a long time found each other again. Something like an exchange emerged across all borders. The Internet, in its early days, was a new virtual world. The surfing around on the then still informative pages had something completely new about it. Scientists, doctors, students, creative people, programmers and inventors could share their knowledge and the results of their research worldwide. Even one could spread out while creating web – pages. I can still remember well, how I was spinning all sorts of things together on my page. Offline I drew pictures, with which I wanted to create online illusions. One time the Trollhaus was a notebook, full of drawings, a few weeks later I created a totally crazy world with crazy theories about trolls. I created a conspiracy theory in which trolls actually existed. Beings from another time, which have more or less adapted to our society, but they would be recognizable at any time at a closer look. How else could one explain obese smelling men in undershirts and jogging – pants in the queue in front of the supermarket checkout? There was also this time in the newsgroups, where some exchanged meaningfully about topics of all kinds and others opened groups for all imaginable subcultures. Anonymous, unknown, freed from the inhibitions of real existence.

But insidiously, everything changed. In modern societies, one subgroup always wants to be in control. They simply cannot live with others acting uncontrollably and freely. This has never been different in history. First it was a priesthood, military, Caesars, kings, emperors and over two millennia the Christian church. I played out the thought once. What would have happened if today’s digital possibilities had existed in a time characterized by belief in a Christian God and dictatorship by the clergy? At first I thought: What a horror scenario! Then I realized that the differences from today are not as great as one might think. The clergy, the guardians of morality, judges of good and evil, wrong and right, have been replaced. You just have to take apart the concept of religion a little bit. There is a belief. A superior higher authority has its fingers in the pie in some form. How exactly and to what extent requires interpretation. A believing Christian, forced into a corner by a natural scientist, can still retreat to the fact that there must have been something before the big bang. For others this power is not only responsible for the big bang, but has shown up several times and has exclusively told man how they have to behave. Then it is no longer about the believe in itself. Rather it is formulated how one pleases this deity, honors it and arranges its life suitably. A tradition, which takes place only in the Abrahamitic religions, in which God takes the role of a father – figure. This resulted in a deeply rooted hierarchy, with positions of power, means of power, rules, powerful and subjects. Viewed differently: A model for the construction of a society. Conversely, a believer may well adhere to the idea of the Abrahamic religions, but does not have to agree with the structure of the society (community) that unites under it. Manipulations, fake news, myths, stories moving the masses, control over language, use of psychology, studying human behavior with the goal of control, are ancient. History is full of them. Whether it was the Jews who poisoned the wells during the great plague epidemics, or the Templars who were accused of heresy, or foreign peoples who were denied humanity, it doesn’t matter. Only the means have changed. However, to an unprecedented extent. And if already the means, which are primitive from today’s point of view, had the well-known terrible consequences, everybody can imagine alone, where the journey goes. In a hearing before the U.S. Senate, a high-ranking former member of the upper management at Google was asked by a senator: “I find all this terrifying to a great extent and I am grateful that I am already over sixty. Is that because I don’t understand it or is my fear justified?” The former Google employee replied, “You should be scared!”

When I had my first contact with Asian spiritual teachings a few years ago, I was fascinated by one essential point: the focus on wisdom and the importance it has there. Even if hierarchies exist in Asia, dictators are up to their mischief, brutal autocracies exist, they are always in stark contrast to what the ancient teachings and the wise men had to say to the people or still do. Since I have read Confucius, Lao Tze, as well as the transmitted discourses of the Buddha, the way I think has changed fundamentally. A process that, in my opinion, cannot be prevented when reading the texts. It is like comparing two operating systems like Linux and Windows. There are many similarities, the task is identical, but the approach is still different. Just the fact that Linux has programmers all over the world participating in it and making it available to everyone on Earth is significant and for me even today has something anarchistic or at least something of heresy against the existing system.

There’s this well-known question about what skills you’d like to have. I admire good analog musicians and programmers who understand what they are doing. When musicians meet, no matter what their background or language, they can play a song together after a very short time. It’s similar with programmers. They have a common language and when they pull together they can achieve the greatest things. Drawers, painters, sculptors, have ways to show thoughts and their inner selves to the world, without words, to express something. Authors and writers make a little use of these possibilities by creating images with words, but they are limited by language. Drawing, painting, sculpting, writing texts is usually something individual, which is not created in harmony with others. The digital possibilities could have broken through this. Subjunctive. It rarely happens. I’m thinking, for example, of novels that are created collaboratively online.

Commercialism, the belief in profit, destroys all that is good

The Scrooge Ducks and Klaas Clever of this world got dollar signs in their eyes while watching the developments of the Internet and social media, and the disaster took its actually predictable course. As with the industrial revolution, the digital revolution failed to keep an eye on the profiteers. And as was to be expected with the dusty interpretation of capitalism, a development took off that no one could control. Engine started, steering wheel and gas pedal fixed, let’s see what happens. They have turned the Internet and the platforms from something that unites people into something that divides them and sets them against each other. They cannot do otherwise. Again, art, music, visual arts, is a leading example. Everything is becoming more banal and above all more egoistic, profit-oriented. How disgusting is it when corporations organize talent contests, give the winners contracts in which they, in exchange for money, refrain from signing a publishing contract anywhere in the next few years, so that the corporation protects its already financed ” low-profile” but popular musicians? Profit, commerce, money, greed, reliably destroys everything. Art that does not serve as decoration, but challenges the viewer, listener, reader, has a hard time under these conditions. All this would not be possible if societies would oppose it. Here the circle closes. With the possibilities offered by the Internet, the platforms, and the tools of manipulation therein, everything has been geared towards decoration. There is in modern art this underestimated silent dialogue between viewer and artist, often accompanied by ridicule. “What is the message?” The answer cannot be very different. For example, that someone has dealt with something that normally no one consciously deals with. I spontaneously think of a supposedly simple blue painting in large format. Blue! What is the effect of this color? In which condition is the viewer put? Is an impulse transferred, which he does not even notice at this moment? Is the image really just this one color? Which blue do I see, and which one does the woman two meters further see? How does someone get the idea to want to achieve all this by means of a picture in a gallery? Just with the existence of this picture, a lot happens. “I can do that either! Soon I’ll just hang a blue picture in a gallery!”, some growl. Yes, but then it’s just a copy and you didn’t have the idea yourself! What is important to me is the depth. A depth that has always been fought against in Germany, at least since the beginning of industrialization. What was not ostensibly an advantage for industry, profitable innovation, the perfection of weapons systems, economic advancement and in the competition with other nations was blacklisted at all times. The National Socialists took it to the extreme in Germany in a sustained way, and I maintain that the after-effects can still be observed today. When supporters of parties like the CDU/CSU, FDP or the AfD, of all parties, abuse German intellectuals by quoting them, it regularly crosses into the bizarre for me. For some, reflecting on the human is heresy against the belief in growth, the denial of a Social Darwinism that exists in their opinion, danger for the nation, and for others an obstacle to the formation of a powerful united nation that must be overcome. Wisdom, humanity are antagonists to hierarchy and formations of capitalism, for example, in the form of neoliberalism. The Internet and the digitalization could have been a blessing. Linux! Without ulterior motives of profit, make something available to the whole, so that people from other disciplines can do something good with it.

We no longer have to make prognoses about what will happen to the vehicle I have described. We can see against which trees the car will drive or has already driven. Technology and machines change, the human being remains with the principles which made the development possible to what he is and the physiological conditions have changed imperceptibly in several 100,000 years. In theory, everyone is able to let reason and understanding rule by means of cerebrum. Practically everything is put on it that this does not happen. In addition to the targeted measures for circumvention, the peculiarities of the process are added. What catastrophic consequences these could have was shown quite emphatically by director John Carpenter in 1974 in the film “Dark Star” in the final dialogue with #Bomb20.

For the younger ones in short version: Three spacemen wander around in space and destroy potential threats to the earth. For this purpose, they have smart bombs with them. However, the bomb20 cannot be released after receiving the order to detonate it. In order to avert the impending catastrophe, Captain Doolitle, commander after the death of the actual captain, engages the bomb in a philosophical conversation about phenomenology. Which works at first and then goes wrong in the end – the bomb explodes.

A recent example of what is happening around us are the events that became known as “Pizza Gate”. Starting from 4chan and Reddit, a completely crazy story started, according to which human traffickers would use code words that normally play a role in pizza orders. In 2016, the story spread to several million people and became more and more abstruse. Among others, it was claimed that Lady Gaga, Obama and Hillary Clinton were involved in human trafficking. The complete escalation then resulted with a guy who wanted to free kidnapped children armed from the basement of a pizzeria. Fun fact: the place didn’t even have a basement. In principle, the Pizza Gate story is the basis for the QAnon – bullshit to which the german owner of a vegetarian restaurant Attila Hildmann and the singer Xavier Naidoo believe. (Two German celebrities who organized demonstrations in Berlin and spread the QAnon conspiracy theory on the messenger service Telegram).

It all started with urban legends

In the past, such stories were called “urban legends”. Rolf Brednich summarized some of these stories in 2007 in the book “The Spider from the Yukka Palm”. It cannot be ruled out that nowadays there really is a tropical spider crawling out of a fruit crate. But according to the circulating stories, we have been experiencing a real invasion since 2000. In keeping with Pizza Gate, it was rumored at the time that children from the IKEA “ball paradise” were kidnapped by human traffickers, but were then freed at the last moment by attentive passers-by. Strangely enough, it was always part of the story that the children had their eyebrows shaved off. Some of the stories circulated already in the 90s. I had collected some of them on my website at that time. The scheme is always identical. A supposedly reliable source, accessible to a very good acquaintance, reported the outrageous facts. Once, however, I was surprised. It was about the unsavory story that had been circulating for years, in which pizza makers masturbate on pizzas. Depending on the narrator, the motive was exchanged. I was then somewhat perplexed when a colleague said to me with conviction that the pre-shift had a pizza delivery examined in the laboratory and that sperm had been found on it. This was at a time when the police easily had to wait two weeks for a lab result!

But Pizza Gate was child’s play against what was happening in Myanmar. The radicals, remarkably forces that see themselves as Buddhists, used Facebook to spread their hate – tirades against the Rohingya, while Facebook blocked Rohingya organizations. A wave of violence swept through the country. If a Buddhist country sinks into violence in this way, what must I imagine for other states in the long term? In Germany, meanwhile, almost all political parties, including the media using the Internet, have joined in the process of dismantling the human status of the women, men, children who endure in camps. First, a term is found that robs individuality and turns the human being into an administrative term. Refugee! It does not even give information about the origin. In the second step, the term is combined with something threatening. Flood, catastrophe, loss of control.

Manipulation with celebrities and their reputation

The other day I read an article in which even the Dalai Lama is mentioned. He was interviewed by the BBC in June by Rajini Vaidyanathan and asked about the above-mentioned topic, among other things.

The Dalai Lama then says to the reporter, “European countries should take in these refugees, give them education and training. The goal should be for them to return to their own country.”
The reporter asks what if these refugees wanted to stay in Europe, should they not be allowed to?
The Dalai Lama said, “A limited number is fine. But for the whole of Europe to eventually become a Muslim country? Impossible. Or an African country? Also impossible.”
The reporter is saying what is wrong with that, the Dalai Lama is a refugee himself.
He replies, “They [the refugees] had better be in their country. That’s better. Leave Europe to the Europeans.”

For Europeans, the Dalai Lama is the analogy of the Pope. The peacefulness in person, completely misunderstood by the Chinese and with some esotericists, something like this world completely rapt. No! He is not all that. He is the head of a concrete Buddhist school from Tibet. A person who was taught an interpretation of Buddhism, but throughout his life has been open to Western politicians, scientists. But he is also the head of a Buddhist sect that used Buddhism to establish a hierarchical system with monks at the top. It all started once with a Mongol Kahn who wanted to expand his power in Tibet. And every now and then the Dalai Lama moves on rather thin ice. For example, when he obviously doesn’t understand who sometimes invites him and for which strange esoteric movements he is misused. But all this is of no interest if I want to use him for my purposes. The message is simple: this peaceful spiritual man has said that in time they all have to go back to where they were born. So what? OK! Of course, the statement does not apply to high achievers who are moving our nation forward. History helps there, too. – It doesn’t matter that you supported the Nazis. You can build rockets and atomic bombs. How we sell that is not your problem. – The interview with the Dalai Lama has long since taken on a life of its own and is being spread manipulatively without the background mentioned here.

Self – Control?

What once all started more or less harmlessly has become a frightening problem. Thanks to the development of social media and the Internet, not only has everything spread, it is also being used in a targeted manner. Currently, we are experiencing where this is going in a pandemic. In addition to the platforms, there are also the messenger services. For example, I’ve been sporadically reading Telegram for two days. It is unbelievable and hardly bearable. But this made me a little more attentive, I made an experiment. I entered search queries on Google, Metager and DuckDuckGo using TOR on the topics of climate, artificial intelligence and Corona, using new identities many times. For those who are not familiar with it. With TOR no one has the chance to recognize who and where someone is on the internet. With every identity you end up somewhere else in the world. The search engine thinks one time you are a Turk and the next time you are an Indian. The query “Clima Change is …” was completed with different suggestions each time. From “Great, then no one freezes to death anymore, so it balances out with the heat deaths” to “Catastrophe”, everything was there. It was the same with the other topics. Either Corona had never existed or the pandemic was long since over. Fittingly, I was offered the insane statements of Donald Trump.
Self-critically, I had to ask myself at this point whether I am really so good that I can control myself with normal search queries via my standard browser.

I think I would notice the restriction to news that does not fit me at all, especially tendentious news that appears abruptly. But what about a creeping slow process? Day by day a nuance. Quite reliably I notice how the algorithm accompanying me analyzes my musical taste more precisely and tries to push me delicately in directions. My great good fortune in this is that I was once acquainted with a sound engineer who told me a lot about how music works, its structure and effect. Since then I know that composers of pop songs use the tone sequences of children’s songs. I was also impressed by how techno rhythms are used to consciously control the frequencies of body tissues and fluids. I also found helpful the other day Chily Gonzales’ comments on taste and corruption. Taste is also an interplay of attitude and decision, which solidifies with age. To adapt at any time to youth, to new trends, to go along with everything, means not to face who you are.

For a while I was having fun clicking on abstruse things on the Internet, pausing longer at strange pictures or looking for completely bizarre products. But in the process I noticed something. What I was doing was active effort against something. This requires power, concentration and analytics. I am defending myself against an attacker and this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Professionally, I have learned that this does not work. Even the most intelligent and clever crook is overwhelmed one day. Then he has nothing more to resist the observation and makes mistakes. After all, he is highly motivated and plans something forbidden. I, on the other hand, just want to live my life without becoming an object, a product, a thing.

I started differently. At first I saw advantages. Why shouldn’t I have music suggested that matches my taste? Or what’s wrong with recommendations in the jungle of product diversity? When I go to a good men’s outfitter, I also get advice. In the past, when I still had hair, I didn’t oppose a tip for my hairstyle. I take it a step further. I could even relate to the saying, “If you have nothing to hide, you have not to be afraid of surveillance!” Until one day I realized that there are double standards. There are people, groups, associations that are allowed to be watched, and then there are those that are allowed to avoid it. Why is this so? Then I realized that it is simply not possible to behave in conformity at all times and I feel this strange feeling in the back of my neck. But worst of all was a completely different realization. If I don’t fight it in time and the worst case scenario happens, namely a force takes control that I don’t conform to, I lost. I voluntarily gave out of my hands all the options of resistance. And at the hairdresser, shoe salesman, men’s outfitter, I am faced with someone of flesh and blood, whom I can judge. Maybe I don’t like him or her. I just don’t like their charisma. No matter! I have a choice and a chance. Not with the other stuff.

No, if I am honest, I am no longer in control. I behave as others, whom I don’t know, want me to. I generate money for them, which they stuff into their pockets. I have nothing against it if someone earns his money with honorable work. That’s where the first people are already going to the barricades. What is honorable work? Look at your environment, look in the mirror and ask yourself what contribution you have made to the general life with your work. The production of warm air by means of body temperature and the producing of money from money, is for me no honorable work. Honorable comes in this case not from the opposite illegally, but from the history of the societies and derives from: “It gives one an honor!” And I see no reason whatsoever to indirectly provide a livelihood to people whose way of life I would never support in real life.

On 12/24, I felt the effects immediately. I was waiting for a package that was important to me. It arrived just in time. Nevertheless, I was a bit displeased because the provider – DHL – did not keep what was paid for. With this mood I met a real person in the course of the day. One who, like me, could not help it. Over stations not to be estimated in the number, we are both victims. Much higher up, people whose names she or he doesn’t know, in a place we’ve both never seen, have made decisions about directives that we both now have to live with. It’s even more extreme on the Internet. Thirty years ago, if I disagreed with a service, there was a phone number. With a little negotiating skill, you ended up with someone in charge to whom you could vent your displeasure. Gone. If you don’t hack the company’s server or steal the internal organization chart, you end up in an online FAQ section or on a contact form. Good for them, bad for you. Why is that? Because you’re a customer at most until the transfer is effective. Old-fashioned things like customer loyalty or even satisfaction, are compensated differently.

How to go on?

The principle is user and dealer! Get addicted, give away a free shot every now and then, lower the price insignificantly for a few days, and then set it far above the original price. Everyone who goes online is a user. A collection of data. The generation born in the mid-90s is the last one from which not everything, every stage of life, every carelessly posted picture, every comment on a life event, is stored forever in the data cloud. Where born, what childhood diseases, parents’ professions, school graduation, life partner, friends and acquaintances, preferences, pets, driver’s license, personality development, love problems, exalted, introverted, depressed, simply everything. The first generation, which is used to the fact that at any time and on everything, somewhere out there one or the other reacts and responds with a “Like”, is now fully employed. Dopamine junkies! That’s creepy. How is anyone still supposed to determine for themselves that this is a true personal success? Or take yesterday. 12/24, Christmas. One circular email follows the other. How do you still know who really thought of you? Today, a day later, I still refuse. I have responded to just three messages. Not out of disinterest! It was simply a decision not to participate. But I’ll write to a few people in the next few days, and I’ll really make time for them. The new trend among the elderly is to make cheap phone calls anyway. In this way I learned that in the matter of vaccination the Indians will probably be much ahead of the Germans, because they work together with the English and have the world’s largest production facilities for vaccines near Mumbai. A circumstance that had not previously dawned on me.

At Google, Facebook, Twitter, people earn their money by developing exactly such things, like polls, Like – Button, Emojis, reacting with animated Gif’s, matching pictures, videos to holidays, to increase addiction and thus to longer online – time, which in turn generates profit for advertisers. For them, each user is no more or less, as a nameless lab rat. Do I like that? For my part: a clear No! A complete exit is not possible. But I can try to turn the Internet and the possibilities it offers back into a tool that I control and not it me. Effective immediately, I have banned all social media apps from my smartphone. Research will only take place via TOR. Youtube is avoided by me as much as possible and when I do, I only selectively watch posts that I can’t find in Media Counters. Seriously? Youtube is no longer bearable due to the number of advertisements. But here the statement applies, “If you don’t pay for something, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”

What will remain is the use of Twitter to distribute BLOG posts. Why deprive yourself of this opportunity? In the past, a cartoonist or freelance writer had to roam the pubs if they wanted to get their work out there. Putting yourself outside the existing system doesn’t work overnight and a complete uninstall is not possible after 20 years of excessive use. Especially in the last five years, I’ve really used the net extensively. Self-critically, much too much for my taste. Just the effect on my behavior in the past two days, that is, after uninstalling the app’s and closing my Facebook account, shows me that I made the right decision. There is no longer a need to constantly look at the display. This clears the way for a whole chain of other behaviors that I haven’t even had since the late eighties. Well, let’s see where this journey goes.