Joseph Hallenbeck
August 07, 2016

Social Media Fast 2.2

Filed under: Journal

So we are going into the first week of the Social Media Fast. Said my goodbyes to Facebook and Twitter on Monday and hit the road for the wild open web. I get a weird sense of excitment about the project. Odd thoughts about all this new free time I will find in the next couple months. What exciting new web comics or blogs will I uncover trying to stem my boredom?

The first step for our great fast is to set up a /etc/hosts file to block out the most time consuming of the social networks:

127.0.0.1 facebook.com
127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
127.0.0.1 m.facebook.com
127.0.0.1 youtube.com
127.0.0.1 www.youtube.com
127.0.0.1 twitter.com
127.0.0.1 www.twitter.com
127.0.0.1 m.twitter.com
127.0.0.1 reddit.com
127.0.0.1 www.reddit.com
127.0.0.1 m.reddit.com
127.0.0.1 slashdot.org
127.0.0.1 www.slashdot.org
127.0.0.1 m.slashdot.org
127.0.0.1 news.ycombintor.com
127.0.0.1 disqus.com

Already added one new domain to the list, disqus.com. Disqus has become a kind of centeralized, outsourced commenting system that a lot of blogs and news sources have started to use. Even my site! So, I found myself reading an NPR article and skimming to the bottom to read the inflamatory comments. Well, that’s no better than just reading Reddit. So I nuked the domain which generally kills the plugin from working on most sites. Now, I don’t have a distraction from reading the original author’s article. Dumping comments altogether is hard.

But it is one thing I want to do on my own blog. Comments tend to be very low value and off the cuff. They devolve into nonsensical arguements that are attactive and easy to get caught up in but reveal very little value. If someone really wants to say something they should think it through, write it up, and publish it on their own website.

What is not on the list yet is Google. I really wanted to switch over to Duck Duck Go or Qwant for my search engine. But it appears that many of the more off-the-beaten-path search engines don’t really have integration into browsers. I would need to install a Qwant extension for my browser. So this will take a little more effort than just editing the hosts file.

Then there is the phone. Google search is majorly integrated into the OS.
Editing hosts on the phone appears to require rooting the phone, which I haven’t done nor really have plans to do. So instead, I realied on deleting my bookmarks to social media sites. Still, found myself on a couple of ocassions absent mindedly punching in Facebook. Even spent some time on Youtube when I got back from a trip and hadn’t quite gotten the hosts in to place.

The first positive results are a sudden feeling of spare computing time. A greater desire to read articles all the way through on the few posts that come up on my RSS feed. And a greater desire to read general news sources versus a concentration on computing news.

"Social Media Fast 2.2" by Joseph Hallenbeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Support this and future posts on