Who is Jaron Lanier?
So a little bit about Jaron himself. He’s been in the tech industry forever, it’s fascinating to me that he has created and been a part of creating the very things that are shaping our experiences of and on social media. Today, he’s been a huge proponent of what VR looks like. And he’s been in the industry for a very long time. He’s done all of these things without having a social media account himself. And he goes on to explain that through these arguments, why deleting your social media accounts is better for both you as a person and you as a product.
Now, I know a lot of people might not be themselves as products. I certainly didn’t. For a long time, of course, you are a user of social media. But these gargantuan otherworldly media companies view you as a product, they sell your information. And Jared goes into describing these things in detail throughout this very short book.
10 arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now
As someone who is supposed to cut all of the social media out, I am still using it. And this book served kind of a twofold purpose for me is validated the addiction that I’m trying to break. And it also made me see who I am as a user outside of myself, what I represent to, the people who make money within these companies, but the 10 arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now I want to run through them quickly and then I will talk about the book.
- Social media will make you lose your free will.
- Quitting social media is the most highly targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.
- Social media is turning you into an asshole
- Social media is undermining the truth.
- Social media is making what you say meaningless
- Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy.
- Social media is making you unhappy. But
- Social media does not want you to have economic dignity.
- Social media is making politics impossible.
- Social media hates your soul.
How do social media platforms make money?
Like I’ve mentioned, Jaron has been in the tech industry forever. He knows the business models, hHe knows how they make money, he knows about the ad revenues and the algorithms, he knows good people who are working for companies with questionable morals. And he also sees what social media is doing from an outsider’s perspective to people who are forced either for work or because of addictive tendencies to be on social media day in and day out.
We all know that when the internet was created, there was no real idea of what it could be, what it would be, and who would benefit most from it. And when social media was created, we all know that it was just a free platform for people to connect across time and space. And it was wonderful. But like any company, social media platforms have to make money. And the easiest way is was through ads.
We all know about what ad apocalypse was on YouTube in 2017. And we all know about the cheeky algorithms that are taking away our choice to choose what we see when we see it. And quite honestly, we’ve all been creeped out when we’ve said something to someone offline. And then the very next time we open a browser, those exact products or experiences we were talking about showed up in ads on our feed.
Jaron discusses the logistics of the algorithm and how they are marketed to enhance our user experience. But really, they’re just watching us. He talks about how every double-tap every slight hesitation to read through a post every subtle facial movement. And of course, the emojis use affects how the algorithm adapts to us to create a sort of perfect storm where we are most likely to purchase, download or open something in a new tab.
You will start comparing yourself with others
Now, these algorithms work until they’re successful, and then they stay the same. If something you know like weather change, and you no longer make the purchases that you are predicted to make the algorithm changes again, ad companies pay billions of dollars for this information for this data for the notion that you might purchase if the right ad is placed at the right time, Jaron also speaks quite heavily on how the curated experience is ruining our ability to feel empathy.
If all we see is our friends and families smiling square photographs in a timeline or feed, we tend to lose sight that they are people too.
We tend to compare our own experiences if we are having a bad day, and we see only happy faces reflected at us. It tends to make us feel worse, compared to a culture that Instagram and Facebook have curated and continue to grow is simply because loneliness and sadness sell more than your happiness does. know a lot of the arguments in this book seem quite scary. And I’ll be honest with you, not all of them hit home for me.
The addictive nature of social media
Jaron also talks heavily about the addictive nature of social media. And like I’ve mentioned before, it’s something that I’m struggling with, he talks about how we’ve lost the ability to feel uncomfortable, because we just mask the feeling by looking at social media when we are in mind alone, or waiting for a friend. Heck, we can’t even be in a conversation with someone without checking our phones. No part of this is the algorithm it’s a job to keep you on the app scrolling for as long as possible.
If you’re bored if you’re sad if you’re angry if you’re happy. If you’re sharing the happiest moment of your life, and the feed you see, you will always be different from the experience felt by other people. If sadness is what keeps you on the algorithm, only images that keep you sad will be shown with maybe a little bit of a dopamine hit with something that makes you happy. But if someone else is always happy with using social media, their feed will show the happiest things first. This sort of cycle creates a must-check, you know, anticipation or anxieties seeing different sides of the same point, depending on how you look at it. And that is how we’ve evolved to have this sort of can’t live without social media or your smartphone culture.
Now, the addictive argument is the one that hit home for me, it’s something that I’m actively struggling with as a person who’s trying to stay off social media. I will be honest, I don’t particularly Miss Instagram. But that’s because being away from it, I realized that it’s the app, and that makes me the most unhappy. But Twitter and Facebook are close to the seconds in that realm. But I still have a very hard time breaking the twitch of going and looking at something. I’ve deleted these apps from my phone. But somehow when I’m bored or uncomfortable, it’s so easy to download these apps and log back in again, just to feel better, or like I’m in a different place than where I am.
Now quite honestly, you could probably tell I’m not in a very good place with my social media habits, or the way it’s making me feel right now, which is why I read this book.