I’m a self-confessed data guzzler and the fact that my day to day work revolves 99% around the internet makes this even worse. But let me not talk of work alone. Like many people, I’ve shifted almost all my offline activities to online. For example, gone are the days when I’d to go a salon and pick a magazine as I waited for whatever service I’d gone for. Now I struggle on how best to hold my phone and get online as they scrub my hair. Gone are the days when I’d pack a book on a long trip and actually read it. I do pack one or two in an ambitious effort to rekindle my previously very keen reading habits but that battle gets lost before it even begins. These days whenever I get onto long distance travel, it is me and long reads all the way as much as coverage will allow. So yes, I still read a lot, only now I do it online. In fact one of my favourite things to do when I get to bed early is pick a long read and get engrossed to the end before calling it a night.
There are a few struggles in life that I’ve since accepted as part and parcel of me and my lifestyle and one of them is data. So that whenever I’m not home on fibre, then I’ll be fulltime on mobile data. Infact the absence of internet makes me wonder what on earth to do with my life at all. Whether I’m actively using it or not, I want it there :-D. There must be a name for this condition.
Like a lot of people, I’ve had instances when my data has been wiped out alright, but I’ve not really been quick to imagine that it has been stolen. Rather, I’ve known that it has something to do with background applications, updates and downloads and many times I’ve admittedly been too lazy to find out what they were. That’s in the past and this has since changed since I got MySafaricomApp which has really changed the way I understand my data story. Not that I changed my habits at all but knowing which apps are doing my data in have been quite satisfactory. But at some point when it got particularly bad, I did get a friend to disable automatic updates and change other settings on my laptop so as to give me full control of update permissions. It is not really the business of the local provider what and when a software in the US chooses to update their software. For mobile, at least I’ve always known to only allow updates when I’m on Wifi.
For example, sometimes I work from the village for weeks on end where the only option I have for internet is mobile data and at some point my brand new data load came face to face with a uTorrent update. Not a download – an update. And another dataload immediately after. True there was some trepidation of tethering from then on but work has to go on and tethering has to go on. Emails have to pop in without delay lest I lose business, and briefs downloaded, worked on and uploaded. Daily bread has to be earned after all. The most I can do is keep away from video content and youtube till I’m back to WiFi if I can help it but even then, short short video clips I find myself watching on data without hesitation.
Back to mobile data, I’m also not blind to the fact that our gadgets are advancing, technology is advancing and uses for data are increasing by the day. Just a few years back for example, we did not have Instagram, or Snapchat, or even Whatsapp to name a few. All I ever needed data for was hilarious twitter that was and even then, it did not come with all these videos and gifs. That was a time I could afford to keep data off and only put it on in intervals but that’s no longer the case now. I want my whatsapp messages to ping me as soon as they’re sent. I was also on a bit of Facebook though to be honest this has only ever come second to twitter for me.
I’ve said since a blogpost I did back in 2008 or 9 that I’m not shifting providers. I’m a do or die stickler and I’m not about to go discovering other companies and their ways. That’s just me. As such, it is me and Safaricom and that was not even about data. That is the case to date.
Everyone has a unique way in which they use their mobile data and for me, I’ve partly chosen and partly been forced by circumstances to be connected full time and I’ve accepted the price that comes with that.
Not that we’re completely powerless on data usage. In a later article I’ll discuss how you can have more control of your data. In the end it costs money!