What Is ‘Decentralization’ and How Will It Change Social Media? BREAKING DOWN FACEBOOK
IS EMAIL CLUTTER DRAGGING YOU DOWN? Improve Productivity by Cleaning Up Your Inbox
Nowadays, getting locked out of your Facebook account often means losing access to your Spotify, Tinder, or any of the other sites you can sign into through Facebook. The amount of personal data social media has access to grows all the time, and it can affect your private and professional network. Thankfully, a few tech CEOs, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, believe social media decentralization could give users greater control over their personal information. Social media decentralization was once a pipe dream for activists, but Dorsey has recently revealed his hopes for redesigning his social media software to put the power back in the users’ hands. Zuckerberg also admitted in a Harvard interview that decentralized software is “quite attractive.” Currently, Facebook and Twitter live in relative anarchy. Their sheer size makes them nearly impossible to audit or manage, which makes falsified information and propaganda infamously easy to pass around. This anarchy also makes it much easier to conceal illegal activity. In an age where identity theft, financial fraud, and selling user information are more digital than ever, it’s important that users and businesses alike have full confidence in the security of their online pages where clients interact with them — especially if information, goods, or services are exchanged. A decentralized system could split the massive, unregulated wilderness of Facebook and Twitter into user-managed “neighborhoods.” Rather than relying on one centralized server that holds over 2.45 billion users, businesses and individuals could host their information on their own computer. This would give businesses and individuals much greater control over their information and how they share it. That’s not to say there aren’t risks associated with decentralization. If unprepared, private hosts could be left defenseless against hackers. Some critics even suggest that a push to decentralize could just be an attempt by Twitter and Facebook to dodge responsibility by moving data off of their own servers.
Do you cringe every time you open your email, preparing yourself for a barrage of unanswered messages? If so, then it’s time to take tidying up your inbox more seriously because poor organization results in far worse problems than simply missing out on happy hours with coworkers. According to psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, mental and physical clutter can impede productivity. It may also have long-term effects on our ability to process information. One University of Toronto researcher has even found evidence that mental clutter may worsen age-related memory loss. Since most people can cite their digital inbox as a source of stress, starting there is a big step toward organizing your mind and your life. Plus, you can declutter it in just one hour by following these steps. 1. Sweep away the junk. Begin by going through your emails from oldest to newest and deleting anything you know you won’t need. When you see an email you want to delete, search to find others from that sender — it’s likely there are multiple you can trash right away. 2. Categorize necessary messages. Create folders to organize the remaining emails. You might use a time-based system, like “First Quarter of 2020,” or descriptive names, like “Receipts” and “Current Projects.” Choose a system that works for your personal preferences. 3. Respond to urgent emails. Have unanswered emails that can’t be filed away? Use the two-minute rule: Immediately respond to anything that will take less than two minutes to answer. For the ones that need more effort, put them on your to-do list and schedule a time on your calendar to respond. 4. Maintain a healthy email habit. Now that your inbox is in a manageable state, develop habits to keep it that way. Check your inbox when you get to work and follow the steps above. Once a week, set aside a few minutes to sort through and organize anything you missed. The more time you devote to decluttering your email first thing, the more time you’ll have to accomplish bigger and more important goals.
While decentralization offers solutions to some the problems of social media, it’s
an approach that requires cautious implementation. Only time will tell if decentralization’s benefits outweigh its risks.
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