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Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media…
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Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (edition 2019)

by Jaron Lanier (Author)

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6503635,128 (3.59)6
Computer Technology. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"Narrator Oliver Wyman brings his full complement of vocalizations to this polemic on social media and what it is doing to us. His cadence and delivery are spot-on..." â?? AudioFile Magazine
Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is 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 his important new audiobook, Lanier, who participates in no social media, offers powerful and personal reasons for all of us to leave these dangerous online platforms behind before it's too late.
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 towarda richer and fuller way of living and connecting with our world.… (more)

Member:johnnymonolith
Title:Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
Authors:Jaron Lanier (Author)
Info:Picador (2019), Edition: Reprint, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
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Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier (Author)

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I found a copy of Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now at a library book sale in Watson Lake, Yukon, over the summer. This 2018 work provides a superficial, but compelling, look at how social media sucks.

I agree with many of the other LT reviews of this work. It is light, somewhat biased against specific individuals, and clunky at times (e.g., "BUMMER"), but it is still a worthwhile read. In this review, I'm going to look at the work holistically, suck out the golden nuggets from the author's arguments, and make an action plan for implementing his ideas. Warning, spoilers follow. If you want a quick and dirty summary of the author's key points and how to implement them in the real world, keep reading.

About the Author (Briefly)

Lanier is a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. He left Atari in the mid-1980s to found a company focused on developing the first commercial VR products, avatars, and multiperson virtual-worlds. He later worked for Microsoft Research. Look him up on Wikipedia -- he's lived an interesting life.

Key Points

Here's a bullet-point summary of Lanier's ten arguments:

  1. You Are Losing Your Free Will: Lanier argues that social media platforms are designed to manipulate user behavior, effectively eroding individual autonomy. These platforms are intentionally addictive, keeping users engaged and influencing their decision-making processes.

  2. Quitting Social Media is the Most Finely Targeted Way to Resist the Insanity of Our Times: This argument suggests that disconnecting from manipulative social media platforms can be a powerful form of resistance. It's a way to counteract the overwhelming chaos and misinformation prevalent in the digital age.

  3. Social Media is Making You into an Asshole: Social media, according to Lanier, often encourages conflict and superficial interactions, leading to more aggressive and less empathetic online behavior. This contrasts starkly with more nuanced and empathetic communication typically found in real-life interactions.

  4. Social Media is Undermining Truth: Lanier points out the proliferation of fake news and misinformation on social media. The online ecosystem is dominated by bots and fake accounts, creating a misleading sense of popularity and undermining the truth.

  5. Social Media is Making What You Say Meaningless: Lanier argues that the lack of context in social media communication leads to a dilution of messages. Snippets and soundbites shared on these platforms often fail to convey the depth and complexity of real-world issues.

  6. Social Media is Destroying Your Capacity for Empathy: Lanier highlights how social media's echo chambers and algorithmic filtering limit users' exposure to diverse perspectives, reducing their ability to understand and empathize with differing viewpoints.

  7. Social Media is Making You Unhappy: Citing studies, Lanier discusses the link between social media use and decreased happiness. The mechanisms of ranking and comparison on these platforms foster a sense of discontent and inadequacy among users.

  8. Social Media Doesn't Want You to Have Economic Dignity: This argument critiques the advertising-driven model of social media, which benefits a select few at the expense of many. Lanier discusses the challenges faced by users attempting to earn a living on these platforms.

  9. Social Media is Making Politics Impossible: Lanier observes that social media amplifies political polarization and spreads misinformation. The initial promise of social media as a tool for positive political engagement has severely deteriorated.

  10. Social Media Hates Your Soul: In this argument, Lanier equates social media to a soulless entity, critiquing its dehumanizing aspects. He argues that the nature of digital interaction on these platforms strips away the essence of genuine human connection.


My Takeaways

I didn't know what to expect with this book. It is most certainly an easy, entertaining, and well-cited read. Nearly every page is footnoted with interesting articles to learn more. I think the most important things I took away from this are the subtle yet profound ways in which social media shapes our thoughts, behaviors, and even our self-esteem. Lanier's insights into the psychological and societal impacts of social media are particularly striking, especially the parts about loss of free will and empathy. These points resonated with me, prompting a deeper reflection on my own social media use.

After discussing this with my wife, we decided on a short "Action Plan" to help implement some of Lanier's ideas:

Action Plan for Curtailing Social Media Use

  1. Reflect on Our Social Media Usage: Take stock of the time and emotional energy spent on social media. Identify which platforms contribute positively to our lives and which don't.

  2. Detox: Take a short-term break from one or more platforms (facebook, twitter...um, I mean "X", Google News). During the break, watch for changes in moods, productivity, and relationships.

  3. Curate Our Digital Environment: Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger negative emotions. Choose to engage with content that is informative, uplifting, or meaningful.

  4. Seek Alternatives for Connection and Information: Reconnect with friends and family through direct communication methods like phone calls or physical visits. Explore news sources outside social media or television for unbiased information.

  5. Cultivate Our Offline Interests and Activities: Invest more time in hobbies, physical activities, or volunteering. Develop skills or pursue interests that don't rely on digital validation.

  6. Stay Informed and Critical: Critically analyze news and information encountered online.


All in all, another good, thought-provoking read. Now to post this to LibraryThing.... ( )
  howermj | Nov 12, 2023 |
I first saw this guy on the Social Media Dilemma on Netflix. I kinda knew what to expect but this book could have really been just an article. There was a whole lot of opinionated fluff along the way.
He added a lot of weird biased opinion which was slanted very left in some regards. This could have totally been written without his bias against certain people and beliefs. He made some good points when he shared data and facts and that is why I didn't give it a 1 star. When presenting arguments it is just better to stick with facts. I don't read books like this for someone's opinions slanted either right or left. Just the facts, man... just the facts, please. ( )
  Leann | Jun 27, 2023 |
Un libro importante da leggere oggi, direi quasi “da far leggere a scuola”. Non ci si lasci ingannare dal titolo: non si tratta semplicemente di chiudere un account social per “protesta” contro le grandi corporation. Si tratta di ragionare con consapevolezza sull’effetto dei social media sulle nostre vite. Lanier a tratti assume toni fin troppo alti, paragonando la condotta di Facebook o Google a quella di sette religiose… ma non fanno forse lo stesso i loro portavoce, parlando di progetti pensati per rendere le persone immortali o le macchine più intelligenti di noi? Le 10 tesi di questo libro aiutano a capire perché siamo sempre più distanti, intolleranti e razzisti, con conseguenza politiche davanti agli occhi di tutti. Senza i social media e la non-etica che propongono, fatta di individualismo, popolarità e gare a chi fa la voce più grossa, in Italia probabilmente non avremmo al governo Lega e 5 stelle. A un livello forse meno radicale, questo libro aiuta a capire che cosa veramente abbiamo offerto in cambio di software che, gratis, sembrano semplificarci la vita. ( )
  d.v. | May 16, 2023 |
Thought-provoking and worth the read. I subtracted one star solely because of the unnecessary profanity within; it would have otherwise been a 4-star rating. ( )
  erindarlyn | Jan 21, 2023 |
Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc_Jq42Og7Q
TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ-PUXPVlos

One interesting thing he briefly mentions is his abandoned belief (and maybe collectively, our culture's belief) in tech entrepreneurs as icons who will transform (and save) the world. Naomi Klien talks about this too in NO IS NOT ENOUGH, about how we put our faith in the super wealthy (one of her examples was Bill Gates) to help the rest of the not-so-prosperous world (through charity, through their projects and products, etc.). ( )
  serru | Oct 6, 2022 |
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Computer Technology. Sociology. Technology. Nonfiction. HTML:

"Narrator Oliver Wyman brings his full complement of vocalizations to this polemic on social media and what it is doing to us. His cadence and delivery are spot-on..." â?? AudioFile Magazine
Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is 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 his important new audiobook, Lanier, who participates in no social media, offers powerful and personal reasons for all of us to leave these dangerous online platforms behind before it's too late.
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 towarda richer and fuller way of living and connecting with our world.

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