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.
Reviews and Endorsements:
A WIRED "All-Time Favorite Book"
A Financial Times Best Book of 2018
“Profound . . . Lanier shows the tactical value of appealing to the conscience of the individual. In the face of his earnest argument, I felt a piercing shame about my own presence on Facebook. I heeded his plea and deleted my account.”
—Franklin Foer, The New York Times Book Review
“Mixes prophetic wisdom with a simple practicality . . . Essential reading.”
—The New York Times (Summer Reading Preview)
“The title says it all . . . Lanier advocates untethering from social media, which fosters addiction and anomie and generally makes us feel worse and more fearful about each other and the world . . . The experiment could be a useful one, though it will darken the hearts of the dark lords—a winning argument all its own.” —Kirkus
“Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is not anti-tech or even anti-phone. It is one of the most optimistic books about the Internet I’ve ever read because it dares to hope for better. Profoundly skeptical of the business model that undergirds social media, Lanier demonstrates the ways in which our social media accounts make us not consumer but product, our every connection monitored by unseen third parties who harvest our data, monetize our communication, and curate and manipulate our behavior. Another online life is possible, but first we have to destroy the one we’re trapped in. The great news is you don’t have to take to the streets—you don’t even have to leave your room. You can do it all by pressing one little key . . . A blisteringly good, urgent, essential read.” —Zadie Smith, author of Feel Free
About the Author:
Jaron Lanier is a scientist, musician, and writer best known for his work in virtual reality and his advocacy of humanism and sustainable economics in a digital context. His 1980s start-up VPL Research created the first commercial VR products and introduced avatars, multi-person virtual world experiences, and prototypes of major VR applications such as surgical simulation. His books Who Owns the Future? and You Are Not a Gadget were international bestsellers, and Dawn of the New Everything was named a 2017 best book of the year by The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Vox.