I’ve been online for about two decades now. The earliest evidence anywhere of my presence are a smattering of old mailing list posts back in 2002 and 2003, maybe 2001 – ancient history on the Internet, back when most of the user groups moved from Usenet to mailing lists – as well as my old(er) LiveJournal, and a bunch of other spaces I’ve long abandoned. I’m not that hard to find online, is what I’m saying: I’m at least on the first page of results when searching my name.
I’m also on a bunch of social networks nowadays. I’ve been an enthusiastic early adopter of technology, so I’ve amassed a few accounts over the years on a bunch of services and places (with some exceptions). Surprisingly, I even still have the account details for some of them stashed in my iCloud Keychain – I must have saved some of them a few years ago.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of going dark: of shutting down all of my social network accounts and disconnecting (almost) completely, keeping only my blog as my sole online presence.
One of the main reasons for my desire to disconnect is simply my lack of activity in some of these places. I mean, sure: I post regularly links to new blog entries on my Facebook and Twitter, and I occasionally upload photos on Instagram – but I almost never interact with anyone online, with the exception of maybe messaging friends and family in the usual places. I’ve been lurking most of the time, and my own personal info bandwidth isn’t what it used to be; it’s just starting to be too difficult for me to keep up, and to be honest, juggling the ingestion of two firehoses ain’t great.
At this point though, I don’t think it’ll be easy for me to completely wipe out my entire online presence. There’s some utility in having landmarks online: professionally, there’s some utility in having a LinkedIn profile, for instance. My own Github profile serves to host my own blog, as well as a bunch of toy projects, so there’s utilty there as well.
I mean, I could just let these accounts lie fallow: untended, barely updated, and kept alive just enough to serve as pointers to my blog (maybe). Some of them I could definitely disconnect from: I’ve previously disabled my own Facebook account around a year back, and I didn’t really miss it – I barely check Facebook as it is.
Twitter? I might keep, at least as an alternate feed for links to my blog posts. That place has been a garbage fire as of late, although admittedly that’s a truism of present-day social media in general.
Will I ever get to a point that I am no longer searchable online? I doubt it. I know myself well enough to realize that although I’d like to think I’m private, I also know I appreciate a little my own online notoriety; I am human, and I do have an ego.
But who knows: one of these days I’ll disappear completely from the face of the Internet. And then what?