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Choosing between online services

A recent issue of the dConstruct newsletter about choosing more ethical online services really chimed with me at a time when I’ve been reflecting on my online habits.

Clearleft produce an excellent regular technology-based newsletter – dConstruct – to which I heartily recommend subscribing.

A recent issue compared online services in the gig economy – such as Uber, Deliveroo and AirBnB – plus music services Spotify and Bandcamp, and considered the relative ethics of each with respect to the extent they exploit the sellers in their “marketplace”. For example, which services let the seller set the price? AirBnB do, and so do Bandcamp. But not so Uber and Spotify.

The success of services like Bandcamp – which is far more profitable to lesser-known producers than the likes of Spotify – show that we don’t need to follow the crowd and can make better choices about the online services we use.

I’ve used Bandcamp more than usual in 2020 because I like the way they are actively supporting artists during a difficult period. I also like the convention that when you buy a vinyl release, the digital is also bundled free.

I’m currently typing this post in a Firefox tab and have been making an effort to switch (back) to it from Chrome, for a less invasive browsing experience.

I use DuckDuckGo rather than Google search when I remember, and have recently made it the default “address bar search” tool in Firefox which should help break old habits.

As for Facebook, Twitter and other time-draining, sometimes harmful social media platforms, well, I’m weaning myself off those and recently wrote about how I’m using Feedbin to aggregate news and updates.

I don’t know about you, but I find it helpful to do a periodic health check on how I’m using the internet, and see where I can make better choices.

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