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The tyrannical powers above us have dipped their greedy fingers into our wallets, profited from us, and given us little in return. They’ve overpromised a better life and given us no voice in the matters which control our future. It’s time for a revolution.

If you think this is an account from 243 years ago, describing the feelings which would precipitate into the fight for American freedom, then you are sadly mistaken.

Rather, I’m referring to the current feelings many of us share toward the Digital Giants that practically control our lives.

  • The psychological, dopamine inducing designs of social media
  • The high-dollar marketing profile that follows you across the web (of which you receive no portion of the proceeds)
  • The omniscient surveillance engine that operates in the background
  • The constant oversight of platforms to correct divisive content

There’s a lot wrong with digital livelihood (and I’m barely scratching the surface).

That’s why I love the thought prompt which Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia) put forth called the Declaration of Digital Independence. As power has come to be concentrated in the hands of Big Tech corporations, Larry has created a document that aims to unify us in the fight to decentralize these powers – social media and search engines, specifically. (See my initial thoughts on this thought prompt in the video below. Also, it’s a 360º video, so you can be right there with me!) 

Larry accurately sums up all of the discrepancies in a much more expansive manner. But, what I really enjoyed was his call-to-arms for all of us to get behind decentralized social networks (a concept that has been around for some time but few people are migrating to).

Larry’s Declaration is a step in the right direction and you can go to his site and sign it today. However, I think that social networks are just one part of our digital independence.

Building upon Larry’s creation, I think we can take inspiration from a similar idea John Naughton put forth in his 95 Theses About Technology. Now, I know John’s is in reference to a different socio-political movement (against the church), but it still comes from the same internal distraught over the current state of affairs. Some of his theses (which are there to spark conversation) include:

  • #14: Surveillance capitalism is not sustainable in the long run
  • #15: Your smartphone is a slot-machine in your pocket
  • #26: The Internet could become a new kind of failed state
  • #71: Social media platforms are not politically neutral entities, even when their owners claim that they are
  • #73: Technology is the art of arranging the world so that you don’t have to experience it

When the American Revolutionaries had had enough, they banded together and sparked a freedom movement through relatable ideas, great marketing, and mass action.

When are we going to say that enough is enough and take some real action against the digital injustices we complain about daily? Will today be the day? Will it be this year?

What do you think should be included in the Declaration of Digital Independence?

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