Health checks and maintenance are a common part of everyday life. We know that we need to run maintenance on our car; to see a doctor for an annual physical; and so on and so forth. But the internet and social media… not so much. Despite how crucial the internet and social media can be to our lives, we don’t subject them to the same maintenance health checks as we do with nearly everything else in life.
Isn’t that a little bit… odd? The internet is everything these days; connectivity is one of the words of the 21st century thus far. Our lives are online now; our working habits; our shopping preferences; even how we socialize and meet new people. Given the level of influence that the internet and social media have over our lives, wouldn’t it make sense to run through regular checks to ensure that these services are operating as they should be?
If you want to ensure these essential areas of your life are in good condition, then you’ll want to consider scheduling the following health checks on a regular basis…
Discover what Google knows about you
If you use any of Google’s services, including YouTube, then you might want to find out just how much information Google is storing about you. Most people who do this will find themselves shocked; Google tracks everything, from your search terms to the locations you have visited over the past few months.
Go to this link when signed into your Google account, and then download all the information Google has been storing about you. If you wish to delete this data, there’s a fantastic guide to the process here.
If you find reading all the information that Google has stored on you rather worrying, then you’re not alone— the sheer scale of the data tends to alarm most people. If you’re particularly concerned, then you could always consider switching to privacy-friendly options such as VPNs, or creating dummy accounts that are not associated with your real name. When it comes to online privacy, every little bit helps, so do what you need to do to feel protected and secure.
Disable third-party apps on Facebook and Twitter
Third-party applications can be extremely dangerous to your internet data and featured heavily in the recent revelations about data security at Facebook. To protect yourself, you should disable third-party apps on both Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s how to do this on Facebook:
And for Twitter:
Even if you don’t remember granting access to any third-party apps recently, you should still run through this process on a regular basis. Many users check and find they have somehow had apps enabled on their account that they have no recognition of, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remember: third-party apps that you do recognize and do want to have access to your account may need to be reinstalled after going through the processes above.
Check your speed
The internet has come a long way from the early days of dial-up when downloading an image was something you had to set a half hour aside to accomplish. However, just because your internet speed is currently faster than it used to be, doesn’t mean that it’s as fast as it should be. It’s not uncommon for users to be able to achieve a 400 Mbps download speed, so if your current speed is anything less than that, then you might want to ask why— and if necessary, move to a provider who can meet your requirements.
If you aren’t sure what your current internet speed is, then it may be tempting to check your contract with your ISP— but this might not be much help. You’ll notice that the speed in your contract is listed as “up to”, so you’re not guaranteed to get the speed that’s quoted to you. Thankfully, there are plenty of online speed tests that can tell you what your real connection speed is, and if the number is lower than you’d like, a switch of ISP might be in order.
Unfollow and mute where necessary
When it comes to social media, we all have people that we follow or remain friends with out of obligation. There would simply be too many awkward questions if we unfollowed them, and no one wants to introduce unnecessary drama into their lives. At the same time, there’s no denying that you would rather not be exposed to 1001 inspirational quotes or endless photos of someone’s lunch, but you feel you have to remain a follower due to your family or friendship ties.
Thankfully, there’s now a way to remove those posts from your timeline without the person ever knowing. Twitter and Facebook both allow you to “mute” someone (though Facebook calls it “snoozing”), so their posts are no longer visible to you, but that person has no way of knowing that you have muted them. It’s the perfect middle ground between keeping your timelines easy to read and not offending someone.
Here’s how to mute people on Twitter:
And on Facebook:
Similar functions might exist for other social networks that you use, so it’s always worth checking the help section of each app to see if there are any options available.
As helpful as the internet and social media have been to the way modern lives are able to live, it’s unwise to just expect the maintenance of these areas to take care of itself. By regularly running through the checks above, you can be confident that your technological necessities is as well-managed as every other aspect of your life.