By now you might have read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. I know I have and I was intrigued by the idea. Although I would like to take it a bit further than just social media and online presence.
I have been using a password manager for multiple years which allowed me to create lots of accounts with different passwords. Over the years I have managed to accrue 152 separate accounts and passwords. This is not minimalism. Using the Pareto principle of the 20/80 percent rule I can conclude that I only use about 30 of those accounts most of the time.
I just scrolled through them. Lots are sites I used once and where quick emails such as 10minuteemails.com and dropmail.me where not working. These can be removed from my password manager. But that would not make the account disappear. For that I would either need to be able to remove it myself or contact the owner to remove the account. Fortunately I live in the EU and can use the GDPR to have companies remove my personal information.
Another category of accounts is those which I had to create to use certain apps or programs. Sometimes I still use these and sometimes I stopped using them long ago. If I am not using them anymore I would login again and download all my data before closing my account.
One way to contain this is to either use one central account (Google, Apple, Facebook) which just shift the accounts themselves to another account, or try to do your business with one party instead of multiple. I have been guilty of this as I would score multiple web shops trying to find a few Euro’s of savings, while I could as easily pay for it and just use one web shop for everything. This option does have a downside as I found out while also going through my emails to find accounts I created and never use. Because you login via one account it is easy to lose track of them as they are not stored anywhere else.
With apps I had a few where I first had to install the app again, login to download my data. Some hide the delete account function somewhere deep in the menus and others don’t even display it and you have to contact them to remove your information. This is done in the hope that you are lazy so you procrastinate on it and forget about it later on.
After spending some hours logging into old accounts and searching for the “Deactivate account” button I found out that this is going to take a while…