A timely call-to-arms from a Silicon Valley pioneer.
You might have trouble imagining life without your social media accounts, but virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier insists that we’re better off without them. In Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Lanier, who participates in no social media, offers powerful and personal reasons for all of us to leave these dangerous online platforms.
Lanier’s reasons for freeing ourselves from social media’s poisonous grip include its tendency to bring out the worst in us, to make politics terrifying, to trick us with illusions of popularity and success, to twist our relationship with the truth, to disconnect us from other people even as we are more “connected” than ever, to rob us of our free will with relentless targeted ads. How can we remain autonomous in a world where we are under continual surveillance and are constantly being prodded by algorithms run by some of the richest corporations in history that have no way of making money other than being paid to manipulate our behavior? How could the benefits of social media possibly outweigh the catastrophic losses to our personal dignity, happiness, and freedom? Lanier remains a tech optimist, so while demonstrating the evil that rules social media business models today, he also envisions a humanistic setting for social networking that can direct us toward a richer and fuller way of living and connecting with our world.
Virtual reality pioneer Lanier (Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality) tediously reiterates well-known pitfalls of social media, arguing that the major platforms are manipulating users' thoughts, goading their inner trolls, tearing society apart, and just generally making everyone unhappy. Lanier, a Silicon Valley insider, spells out his arguments against social media in 10 breezy chapters with titles like "You Are Losing Your Free Will" and "Social Media Is Making Politics Impossible." His underlying argument takes aim at the business models behind popular platforms like Facebook and Google that enable third-party actors such as advertisers to pay to modify users' behavior using personalized, continuously adjusted stimuli. Unfortunately, his short treatise is overridden with shallow political commentary (as when he refers to Trump as a victim of Twitter) and scant analysis of critical issues (he's quick to dismiss the role of social media in the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and the Arab Spring uprisings). Baseless generalizations and vague platitudes undermine the author's case, which is particularly unfortunate given his experience and expertise in the world he skewers.
I think the book is good so far. Little political, clearly he doesn’t like trump or Fox News. This book isn’t about trump or Fox News. That annoyed me. But I’m going to finish the book. All in all, many great points. He really knows what he is talking about. I’m down to delete my social media
Ten Wonderfully Argued Points
This only book touches the surface as to why social media has been harmful and dangerous to our society. Critical thinking skills and the ability to effectively debate certain issues has been diminished because of social media among other things. Social media has turned us into categories, into subjects that are being studied and are stored for advertisers personal gain. We are no longer human beings with ability to think for ourselves.
You got me at ‘trawling’
Thank you for your efforts to improve.