We hear about Web3 supporters talking about decentralization as if it is a new thing - it isn’t really. Jack Dorsey posted this recently.
and he was referring to the days before greed powers most of the internet services.
Regaining control from those who have centralized the internet means not patronizing them, and yes, it is possible, albeit not easily convenient, but possible.
In his tweet, Dorsey mention e-mail, which is decentalized - anybody can spin up their own mailserver (not that it is recommended because maintaining and securing it is a full-time job) and still exchange e-mail with others. With this, you can easily change e-mail providers (and e-mail addresses) without being cut-off from the service. Yes, you can actually ditch Gmail for a more privacy-respecting alternative (they key is to set your gmail address to forward it to your new e-mail address for a few weeks so any correspondence won’t get lost until your contacts start using your new e-mail).
He also mentioned Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a decentralized group chat service. Today, a better (IMHO) alternative is Matrix-based group chat (see matrix.org) because it is decentralized, free and open source and fully end-to-end encrypted. Frankly, the matrix protocol is probably the future of messaging – something which I hope Apple will bake-in iMessage. I urge you to try it out at matrix.org and start joining channels based on your interests. Let me know if you have a favorite one, but if you are reading this on the Manila Bulletin TechNews section, how about you try to join matrix.to
Usenet was also mentioned - another decentralized service for communities. I remember interacting with people on soc.culture.filipino (SCF) during the early days of the internet in the Philippines (in fact, was doing so even before that!). You think Facebook Groups, this one was far better – no algorithmic manipulation, and moderation was done by the community members! Mastodon is the closest decentralized equivalent to this, and the Mastodon communities are thriving. You can find me on Mastodon as @email@example.com (see you there?).
It is time that you start exploring the decentralized web, and reduce your dependence on centralized services that are optimized for surveillance and profit. See you in the fediverse.