I finished reading Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier a couple of weeks ago, and it was a fantastic read. The intended outcome of reading the book is probably obvious based on the title, but all of the arguments are convincing and logical.
Jaron Lanier is not saying that all social media is inherently bad. The problem is with social media and technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. where the services are free and supported by advertising. Particularly where machine learning is used to optimize engagement with a given platform. It’s in the best interest of these corporations and their true customers – the advertisers – for us, the users, to become addicted.
You can’t pay social media companies to help end wars and make everyone kind. Social media is biased, not to the Left or the Right, but downward. The relative ease of using negative emotions for the purposes of addiction and manipulation makes it relatively easier to achieve undignified results.Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, page 20
The author has worked in technology for decades and deeply understands what he’s talking about, which I recognize and appreciate.
My main takeaways were that I should stop using social media for every reason listed in the book but also since it was no longer adding value to my life. Most of my thoughts and interactions surrounding Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. were negative. Why would I spend my time or energy on something that I don’t enjoy? Part of it was this strange feeling of obligation, but I’ve dropped that feeling. I’ve stopped using my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. I was thinking I’d give myself 30 days to sit on the idea of deleting them for good and then make the decision.
Another takeaway is the importance of blogging. Distributed platforms like blogs and podcasts fall outside of the control of the large technology companies. There’s usually not behavior modification happening on a per-person basis for a blog, especially if there are no ads.
The book is a compelling read, and it’s pertinent to the current state of the world. I highly recommend reading it. I’ll leave you with another quote from it:
To free yourself, to be more authentic, to be less addicted, to be less manipulated, to be less paranoid … for all these marvelous reasons, delete your accounts.Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, page 24