This last few weeks have really shown me some of the amazing things digital technology can do to bring us together.
I watched the Music Feeds online music festival, was part of a radio show audience via Zoom and my wife has been doing regular video excercise classes.
However, I’m continuing to grow increasingly suspect of the nasty tactics used by digital companies that play such a large part in modern life and how they are driving society apart.
This month I am trialling the philosophy of digital minimalism after reading Cal Newport’s book on the topic.
The idea is that you use less technology with more purpose and none of the distractions.
You can read more about my experiment, which includes replacing news websites with buying an actual paper and calling my friends instead of liking their Instagram posts, on the blog this month.
Going forward I’ll be reducing my social media presence but one thing that isn’t going anywhere is this newsletter.
It is clear for me that email remains one of the best ways to share my knowledge and I’ve shared my best tips for newsletters in another blog post.
As a web designer I am sickened at the current state of the internet.
From the constant data mining and addictive design to algorithms that create societal division, these are all things that people in Silicon Valley decided were good ideas.
Frankly, I’m exhausted by it all, and while I’ve had some success with things like digital detoxes in the past, my latest experiment is my most radical yet.
If I’ve been welcome in your inbox for some time, you’ll know that this newsletter has evolved a great deal over the last couple of years. I actually love the process of curating bits of useful information and sharing them with you here.
Between me, Stockport’s favourite web design hound Bo and my marketing sidekick Karen, we have learned as we’ve gone along. I’ve shared some of our lessons in this blog post.
Eco-friendly web design
Want to reduce the carbon footprint of your website?
I can help, whether you want to overhaul your whole site to make it greener, leaner and … uhm … nicer for your visitors, or whether you want to make a few small tweaks (every little helps!).
Bo’s top tips on protecting your visitors’ privacy
Good relationships, like the one between me and Paul, are a two-way street. We both have responsibilities. He brings the snacks, I eat the snacks. I lay on my back, he gives the belly rubs. It works.
I’m not sure it’s a strong metaphor, but digital privacy is also a two-way thing. Individuals have a responsibility to protect their data, and as a business, you also need to protect the data with which you’re entrusted.
- Install an SSL certificate to ensure any submitted form data is encrypted.
- Avoid using third-party scripts like YouTube videos, social feeds and Captchas on your website
These third-party tools are super convenient but they add loads of cookies to your site and slow it down. Do your customers a favour and ditch the cookies!
SEO for Beginners video course
Avoiding Twitter means I have extra time in my workday to start working on an online, self-paced version of my popular SEO for Beginners course.
What would you like to learn about search engine optimisation for your small business website? Let me know so I can try to include it!
Elsewhere on the web
I’d like to share a few interesting things I’ve come across in the past month,
- How Addictive Technology Keep You Hooked – Excellent insight by Dr Rangan Chatterjee into the techniques used by digital giants to keep your attention.
- Taking Back Our Privacy – An intriguing interview with the founder of Signal, an ethical alternative to Whatsapp.
- Every Deleted Parler Post Has Been Archived – Is this a heroic act of justice against far-right extremists or criminal act of data theft? You decide!