As I wrote yesterday, I believe giant technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter are a danger to our civilization. At the very least, they threaten our republican form of government, and use their influence even on our elections.

The point of this post isn’t to rehearse that point again but to talk about what I’ve done to get out of the reach of these companies as best I can. I hope this is helpful to someone.

What’s the Point?

Why do you use the internet? Why do you have a smartphone? Why do you have a social media account. There’s probably more than one reason, but it’s worth thinking about. Most people alive today lived parts of their lives without any of those things, and only a tiny fraction of the people who have ever lived have had access to them. Those people who didn’t still managed to have successful lives, raise children, lead nations, start great projects, and do good things.

We don’t need the internet. You don’t need a smartphone. You don’t need a Facebook account. But that doesn’t mean we should go live on a farm (though, I’m not ruling that out, either). My point is that we need to be wise with our time and our energy, and that means figuring out the limits of what we can get out of the internet without the costs being greater than the benefits.

For instance, I get most of my news from the internet. I’ve cultivated relationships with people I trust in some cases, and in others I’ve found journalists or thinkers who are careful and diligent and open about their biases who I can turn to for a far more accurate picture of the world than I’d get from watching a major news network. If I gave up reading online, I’d know much less about the world. And I have to admit, if you gave up reading online, I’d lose you as a reader, so I’m not entirely without bias myself here.

But truly, think about this. There are probably things you don’t need but you use anyway. Consider getting rid of those things. I spent a day removing a mountain of apps on my phone and distractions on my desktop PC and I don’t regret it.

Anti-Social Media

My first recommendation is simple but harsh: get rid of your personal social media account. If you can’t do that, stop following absolutely everything you can. There are better ways to follow public figures.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies don’t exist to provide you with a great free service. They use your personal information to sell ads (and sometimes they just sell your personal information). Even worse, they get you hooked through some pretty nefarious methods, using “likes” and constant bombardment to trap you into constantly checking your phone.

If you must use a social media account, I recommend limiting it to friends and family and then turning off every single notification. Check the thing only on your desktop computer and delete the apps off of your phone.

You can’t avoid giant social media companies while you use their service in the way they want you to: always looking at your phone for the next update.


For a lot of things outside of social media, there are good alternatives to the huge tech companies that hate you. Please note that I’m not paid by anyone for these recommendations. They are just what I’ve used with success.

For email, I recommend Proton Mail. It’s a secure email service based in Switzerland. It’s not as pretty as Gmail, but it’s not run by Google, and that alone is an incredible point in its favor. It’s also free and the company has a strong emphasis on privacy.

For a web browser, toss Chrome. I’d even recommend tossing Mozilla. they fired one of the founders and the creator of Java Script, Brendan Eich, because he wasn’t sufficiently far-left 10+ years before his firing. Speaking of Brendan Eich, his Brave browser is tremendously good. It has a huge emphasis on privacy, security, ad-blocking, and even paying you to view good ads (which you can then collect yourself or donate). It’s not much, but it’s also not nothing. Even better, it runs most Chrome plugins, so you don’t even lose those. Opera is another great browser.

For a search engine, DuckDuckGo seems to be the best alternative to Google.

I haven’t found a calendar I really like yet, but fruux looks promising.

For tasks, I thought Google was already sorely lacking. I use Trello for projects, but for day-to-day tasks, Todoist is excellent.

To get away from Apple, I found MediaMonkey to be a decent replacement, but I ultimately settled for MusicBee. Sadly, with an iPhone, I can’t use it to directly send music to my phone, but I just export playlists and import them with iTunes to get the same effect.

Last, but not least, I highly, highly, highly recommend Feedly. I used to use Google Reader back when it was active, and it was the first RSS feed tool that ever got me to be a regular reader. When it disappeared, Feedly picked up the slack. It’s also been just a better service in general. You might miss constant bombardment if you stop following people on Twitter and Facebook, but you won’t miss genuine news and the thoughts of people you look up to if you follow their blogs on Feedly. The best part is that unlike social media alternatives, Feedly doesn’t exist to steal your attention, and so you probably won’t feel the pull to check it constantly.