Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media Portland offers technology tips

207’s tech guy guides us through a sometimes tricky landscape.

PORTLAND, Maine — It’s not always easy to leave a digital platform, and it can be near impossible to leave one for another. So what can you do to make it easier? 207’s tech guy, Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media Portland, joined the show to offer some tips.

QUESTION: Companies don’t like to lose customers, and technology platforms are no different. But you’ve found some ways to make it easier to quit and move on. Where should we start?

BROOKS: “Music, because there are so many competing streaming music services, but they’re almost all the same. Same bands, same albums, same features. But if you want to move from Apple to Amazon, or Amazon to Spotify, you have to leave your playlists behind.

If you’re like me, you’ve carefully crafted your own playlists for tailgating, campfires, lazy Sunday mornings, and so on. Thankfully, with Songshift, currently only available for iOS, you can move your playlists from one platform to another. Songshift is free, but for $5/month you can get a premium version that will allow you to share playlists with people not on your platform. In other words, if I have a lit playlist on Apple but want to share it with a friend who has Spotify, it’s only a couple of clicks away.

If you’re not on iOS, check out TuneMyMusic, which provides a similar service for between $2 to $4.50/mo

Once you’ve moved to your platform of choice, you can safely break up with your old music service.”

QUESTION: Once we’ve paired down our music streaming services, what’s next?

BROOKS: “Well, in prepping for this segment, I realized that between me, my girlfriend, and our four borderline adult kids, we had Netflix, HBO Max, Paramount, Hulu, Amazon Movies, Peacock, Apple+, plus about eight other free or ad-supported streaming services. So much for saving money by cutting cable.

These days it’s trickier than ever to unsubscribe because of all the different ways you can sign up. Some people sign up through a website, others through a mobile app, and still others through Roku, Apple TV, or Google Play. Even if you get a rep from one of the streaming services on the phone, they may not be able to help you unsubscribe if you didn’t go through them.

If you remember where you signed up, that’s where you need to go to cancel. If you don’t remember, start with the website or app, and if that doesn’t work, it’s likely going to be through your Roku or equivalent. I sometimes find that searching for the name of the streaming service in your email will often lead you to the correct spot.

If you know the source but can’t seem to figure out how to unsubscribe, Google it. There are many websites dedicated to helping people find the unsubscribe option, often buried behind options you never would have guessed.”

QUESTION: Any advice on breaking up with social media companies?

BROOKS: “While there are plenty of good reasons to get off of social media, I’d recommend first determining what you really want. Do you just want to take a break or nuke all proof of your existence? Facebook’s probably the platform to focus on, because, for most of us, it knows and stores the most information about us.

If you just need a break, you can deactivate your account. This can be found in your privacy settings. Once you’ve deactivated your account people can’t see your timeline, your photos, or search for you on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean they can’t see other people’s photos of you. You’re gone, but not forgotten. You can also reactivate your account at any time.

If you want to purge yourself from FB and vice versa, then choose the deletion option. You can choose to download your data first, which includes tons of info on you, your photos and videos, your likes, and more. FB will email you a link to a zip file of your data which you need to download before deleting your account.”

QUESTION: Once you delete it, is there any way to undo it?

BROOKS: “If you want to get back on Facebook you’ll need to start a brand new account and reconnect with all those Facebook friends.

Also, keep in mind that many people use Facebook as a login for other websites. Deleting Facebook may also delete those accounts. Sometimes you can shift to an email-based login, but not always. So you’ll want to log into Facebook, see which accounts you can’t live without, and then find out if they will let you change your logins.”

QUESTION: A lot of people use their Facebook account to log into other websites … any suggestions for those who are dropping Facebook?

BROOKS: “You definitely don’t want to be using the same password for multiple websites. Both Apple and Google have options so that you can log in with your Apple or Google account, but then you might be just changing jailors.

I’d recommend looking into a password manager like LastPass or 1Password.”

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