Inspired/spurred by gRegor’s post, I finally posted on Facebook something that’s been on my mind for a long time. Like, years long:
I’m going to be deleting my accounts on all Facebook-owned apps/websites on the 31st December. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger/WhatsApp… the whole shebang. I encourage you to do the same, but realise many people have compelling reasons to stay. You do you.
The downside to this is that some of you I don’t have any other way of keeping in touch/up to date with (not that I’m a particularly chatty person…), but at the same time, I don’t want to assume you’d like to continue to have a way of doing so outside the Facebook ecosystem. Unlike Facebook’s surveillance of you, here you can opt-in.
So, if do you want to stay in touch – however infrequently – drop me a message before the 31st with another way to contact/keep up with you – email, alternative social media, blog/newsletter, or whatever. If appropriate, I’ll send you a response so you’ll have my details. If you have an old profile/email/whatever of mine, don’t assume it still works.
I’ve been putting off getting rid of Facebook for so long… mainly from a mixture of laziness, complacency, and FOMO. But with the start of a new year/decade approaching, something in me decided it was now or never. Now I have a set timeline to stick to, and public posts to help keep me accountable to it.
I mentioned yesterday my frustrations with Instagram were at an all-time high, and I wanted to “soft quit” the app by adding my follows as a source in Monocle. I didn’t find any existing guide on how to do this (sorry if I missed yours!), but I did get two usefulsuggestions about tools to enable this: Instagram Atom, and Granary.
I use Granary already, to pipe Twitter into Monocle, so that was my preferred option. The short guide below documents the steps I took to get things set up.
Step 1. Get your Instagram session ID
Instagram doesn’t offer much of an API anymore, so to let Granary do the magic, we need to get our Instagram session ID. To do this:
Login to Instagram through a desktop web browser
Use the developer tools to inspect the cookies set by Instagram. Look for a cookie called “sessionid” and copy the value of it:
Step 2. Link up Granary
Head over to Granary. Click on the Instagram login button, and authorise Granary if you need to. When you return to Granary, there will be a couple of form fields you can fill in.
Enter your Instagram username
Select @friends from the dropdown
Change the format to html/atom/json
Enter your copied session id in the cookie field
Click “GET”, and Granary will generate a preview of your feed and give you a link:
Copy that link.
Step 3. Add to Microsub
You need to add the URL you’ve copied from Granary as a source in whatever Microsub server you use. I use Aperture, so I added a new Instagram channel with my feed as a source. I’m going to assume you know how to do this for your server of choice.
Step 4. Enjoy
All being well, you should now have an Instagram feed in Monocle/your chosen social reader.
With all this set up, I can now add the Instagram app to the “To Quit” folder on my iPhone.
There’s a couple of limitations with “using” Instagram in a reader:
No syndication – to my knowledge, it’s not possible to syndicate any of your response (likes, replies, etc) back to Instagram. So if you want to let your Instagram-only friend know you liked their photo, into the app you go.
Session expiry – I don’t know yet if the session id we got in Step 1 will expire. If it does, you’ll probably need to redo creating and adding your feed.
Multi-accounts – if, like me, you have more than one Instagram account, and want to add both, there are some hoops to jump through. I found you need to add the second account using a second browser/new private browsing session, or some wires will get crossed somewhere and you’ll need to setup both feeds all over again.
I don’t know exactly when it was added, but WordPress.comfinally has a way to export your media uploads! When I moved off of WordPress.com, a couple of years ago, the only way to “get” your media was to export your posts, and your new site would download the files as the posts that used them were imported. This was obviously very error-prone, wouldn’t work for media not used in posts, and spectacularly failed to work for me — leaving a great deal of my uploaded media stranded on the WordPress servers. With this new export option I’ve just downloaded 1.5GB of media from two sites I had hosted on the service, so I might finally be able to reconstruct several old posts. Happy days!
I signed up to Proton Mail today, as the first step in a push to de-Googlefy* myself, amongst other “silo quits” I’m hoping to do this year. Email is a very minor part of my online life, but it’s part of the foundations, so it makes sense to move this first.
So begins the long process of switching over various accounts to use the new address. I’m not planning on switching everything – for example, I’ll not use it for anything social media related. A couple of important accounts have already switched, and apart from a few… oddities… as apps updated their cached details, these switches have gone smoothly enough.
* It won’t be a complete removal, unfortunately… for a bunch of disperate but important reasons I’ll need to keep the account open for the time being. Hopefully next year I can cut free entirely.