Pritpal S Tamber

December 25, 2016

How the launching of Bridging Health & Community has liberated this blog, and hence my voice, and how the change seems to be part of a wider trend in my life as I liberate myself from Facebook and question the value of Gmail

A few months ago I, together with the inimitable Bridget B Kelly, established Bridging Health & Community. You can read about it over there. Over here I’m returning to blogging in a personal capacity – and more freely.

I have to admit that it feels liberating to return to blogging without worrying too much about the audience. That doesn’t mean I intend to blather on incoherently but there’s a certain pressure when you’ve started to build something and – in your mind – your audience is wanting to hear news about it. I’m glad to be free of that pressure on this, now my personal, blog.

Deleting Facebook

This ‘liberation’ seems to have resonance in other parts of my life. I’ve recently deleted my Facebook account, for instance. I’ve tired of reading about how Facebook is allowing fake news to be spread, is denying it’s a media organisation, is reinforcing myopic echo chambers that many people think is preventing us from understanding one another, and is listening to all of our conversations, apparently to hone its advertising, while (probably) sharing information about us through custom-made back doors for governments.

Deleting my account wasn’t easy, though. I’ve been lucky enough to meet people from many countries and Facebook had become the easiest way to stay in touch. But I had to ask myself whether the benefits were worth surrendering control of aspects of my life through the surrendering of my privacy. After months of thinking about it, I’ve realised the answer is no. Not remotely. I’ll find other ways to stay in touch with the people that matter, I’m sure. If you’re interested I how to delete your Facebook profile properly, see this article.

No Longer Being a Mule

I’m also interested in sharing this liberation by ridding my websites of the ‘share’ icons at the foot of my posts. Most people don’t know this but by offering this functionality I’m also enabling Facebook and Twitter to monitor you while you’re on my site. I’m essentially complicit with them, a mule for their privacy-eroding practices, all in the hope that by making it easier you’ll share my thoughts on their platforms. I don’t think this is right – it’s not as though you consented to it – so expect to see the icons go, both from this site and Bridging Health & Community’s, in due course. If you’re interested in understanding how you’re being tracked by websites, try Ghostery.

Questioning Gmail

At some point over Yuletide I’ll be looking into alternatives to Gmail. I’ve benefitted hugely by having a Gmail account, not least by rescuing me from the awfulness of Hotmail at the time I switched, but Google’s privacy-eroding practices have started to worry me. I’m also at 90% of my ‘free’ space with Gmail so I’m close to the ignomy of having to pay them for the privilege of having them search through ‘my’ emails. Again, it just doesn’t seem right. I hear that FastMail is a good alternative. It’s pay-for and I’m looking forward to the idea of paying for something so I can make demands on the service supplied. More on that soon.

Wanting to Make Mistakes

I’m also liberating how I write. I use SquareSpace to host my website and I’m drafting this post from its iPhone app. I want to see if this ‘mobile’ form of sharing works for me, partly because I’ve realised that the times I have something to say are not necessarily the times I am at my laptop. I also just want to try out the functionality, including making mistakes – all of which is easier when I’m feeling liberated.

 Random shot of well-tailored shirts that I'm pasting into this post to see how it works Random shot of well-tailored shirts that I’m pasting into this post to see how it works

Email Schmemail

Finally, I won’t be establishing an email list for this blog (there’s one for Bridging Health & Community, though). There’s something about seeing one’s audience, in the form of an email group, that stifles my desire to share. I want to remain unshackled.

Well, that’s a wrap. A line has been drawn. My corporate comms will come from over there while I – in all my liberated, unshackled, mistake-making glory – will be here.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

Pritpal S Tamber

I’m a doctor who trained as a medical editor and publisher and now researches and consults on the link between community power and health equity. My interest in community power started when I was the Physician Editor of TEDMED and is explained in My Perspective. I also work as a freelance medical editor and publisher for organisations that want to write high-quality articles and a strategy for their publishing and promotion. Find out more on my About page.

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