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Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  410 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
'A blisteringly good, urgent, essential read' ZADIE SMITH

Jaron Lanier, the world-famous Silicon Valley scientist-pioneer and 'high-tech genius' (Sunday Times) who first alerted us to the dangers of social media, explains why its toxic effects are at the heart of its design, and explains in ten simple arguments why liberating yourself from its hold will transform your life
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by Bodley Head (first published May 29th 2018)
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May 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On Genies and Bottles

In 1956, the novelist and scientist, C. P. Snow wrote an article entitled The Two Cultures. The cultures he had in mind were science and the humanities. Each, he claimed, had its own specialised vocabulary, its own criteria for acceptable thought, and its own unspoken beliefs about ‘the way the world really is’. Communication between members of the two cultures were, he concluded, in such a parlous state that the fate of human society was threatened. Essentially he believed
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-media
This is an interesting manifesto about how social media is destroying our souls and our society, but unfortunately, this book isn't well-written. It's skimmable, at best.

Here's a quick guide to Lanier's arguments:

1. You are losing your free will.
2. Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.
3. Social media is making you into an asshole.
4. Social media is undermining truth.
5. Social media is making what you say meaningless.
6. Social media is destroyi
David Wineberg
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Facebook, Google and The Rapture

Jaron Lanier wants to be known for his music and his appreciation of cats (He likes to say he is one). But where he is best known, and most useful, is in his appreciation of the internet. In You Are Not A Gadget (2010), he created a manifesto to free us from the clutches of the corporations installing their systems in our daily lives. Now, things are much worse. Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is a more specific and desperate appeal
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks
Since this is my final post here because I'll be deleting Goodreads (and Facebook) after this, I... Okay, just kidding. I actually did delete Snapchat, which is apparently a bit innocuous compared to the other platforms Jaron Lanier (a trustworthy man with some authority here) refers to, but more due to the fact that I have basically 9 active friends there, and all of them use other apps. I think if I were more casually and even leisurely committed to social media, I might be fully persuaded to ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays-lectures
Quick read; good food for thought: Be like a cat.
Simon Stegall
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BlackOxford, in the review above, apparently faults Jaron Lanier for both being a computer scientist and for sounding like one. Besides resorting to ad hominem and straw man attacks and refusing to engage in a meaningful way with the book's content, BlackOxford also illustrates one of this book's central points, which is that, on social media, the biggest asshole always gets more 'likes' than everyone else.

Lanier does write like a computer scientist, which is what makes this book interesting. Hi
Carrie Poppy
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dee's Books
Thought-provoking read by an intelligent author, musician and noted resident of Silicon Valley, Jaron Lanier who will have you thinking about every key you've hit, ad you've searched on your social media sites using 10 valid and strong arguments for deleting your social media account right now. This book speaks of how algorithms are affecting our mindset and manipulated us all... scary actually to think but in so many ways too true!

"Algorithms gorge on data about you, every second. What kinds of
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick read which I think will preach to the converted (my uncle who doesn't use social media anymore loved it). As an author, I would sincerely lose a lot of my audience if I deleted my social media accounts!
Yes it made me think about using social media less but I already was aware of the ways in which social media uses and exploits our data because I've worked in marketing...Sorry. I'm part of the problem. BUT only because as Lanier points out in this book, businesses have HAD to be involved
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Jaron Lanier's key theme is that the business model behind the success of the big internet /social media companies (facebook and google mainly) is based on companies paying to be able to manipulate user behaviour. So the users are the products and the companies are the customers. This leads to a downwards spiral of negativity. The only way to stop this spiral is to delete your social media accounts.

I believe there is a lot of truth in this, but I really have a problem with the way he brings it.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was a teenager when I encountered Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book . I’m not sure how it came into my possession (I have a vague recollection of its being bought at a garage sale) but I was fascinated by Hoffman’s handbook for subversion. He offered a plethora of clever ways to misbehave, get away with it, and feel fine doing so, since all “good” behavior was presumed to support an oppressive system.

Hoffman’s first crack at this topic was his 1967 pamphlet "Fuck The System", which detailed wa
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A real bummer man. Just kidding.

Presented with a real clarity and very well argued indeed. Not what I was expecting from the title. Lanier makes it seem like this is the only argument worth having, the most pressing problem of contemporary society; it makes everything else fall by the wayside or seem to stem from the impact of the mood manipulators, the Silicon Valiums, the algorithms and advertisers. (It probably does.)

Scary stuff.

This is not a book condemning the internet. It is the opposit
George P.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many others, I find it difficult to imagine life without social media. I use Facebook and Twitter at work to share articles fromInfluencemagazine, the Christian leadership magazine which I edit. They account for a large percentage of the traffic on the magazine’s website. I ignore them at professional peril.

I use Facebook and Instagram at home to share information and pictures with my family and friends. They help me keep in touch with people who are important to me but don’t live close by.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I deleted Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram after reading Cal Newport's Deep Work. I'd always had a lingering antipathy towards those services, as I'd sensed that they insidiously seized my time - not only without my consent, but with my permission! Before reading Cal Newport's lauded, though sometimes lampooned, tract on working deeply, it'd never occurred to me to actually examine my own relationship with social media. Well, I was quickly swayed, and after reading Deep Work it was soon ...more
I've already been thinking about social media and whether I should reduce my presence online, and then I found this book, so it was perfect timing.

The author makes some very good points, but they tend to be lost in disorganization. The book isn't particularly cohesive, and the author often comes across as gearing up for a rant. I also couldn't stand the acronyms (BUMMER, in particular).

If you can get past this, though, there's some good information in here about how social media sees its subsc
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jaron Lanier's warning to at least detach from undiscriminate use of social media is gripping and engaging. As he writes, in this short pamphlet he only skims the surface of the full argumentation against the common and largely mindless use of social media that is becoming pervasive and inducing severe direct and indirect consequences in both real and digital life. He escalates from the practical to the metaphysical level, addressing free will, empathy, behavior manipulation, social atomisation ...more
Caleb Hoyer
The whole reason I read this book is because it’s becoming harder and harder for me to ignore my suspicion that my social media use is really not good for me. Given that, I’m not sure how much it means for me to say that the author’s arguments were convincing; I was predisposed to finding them persuasive. But needless to say, they were convincing. And frightening. And, to me, even more obvious than I had expected. The jury is in on social media. It is a BAD development for the world, at least in ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm going to try to go without Facebook for a while after reading this book, but I don't know how compelling I find all of Lanier's arguments. He certainly has some good points, but I think he is a bit blase about dismissing the positive aspects of social media, and he doesn't really offer a better alternative for support networks for people who fail to find those in meatspace. He blithely suggests that we should all just make our own websites, which would be great, except that no one visits my ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
In this book, Lanier tells us that users of social media are merely numbers (similar to how a certain religion was categorized during the Holocaust). Algorithms exist to favor Facebook, Google, their advertisers, and you're being used and manipulated by these algorithms to benefit platform owners and their customers (the advertisers). This seems to be the main argument the author uses to dissuade people from quitting social media.

I really like the kindle version, because the footnotes are fille
Josh Firer
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are definitely good reasons to consider deleting social media accounts, however I had some issues with how they were presented in this book. Some of the arguments just seemed a bit thin, and a little too much like ranting instead of the cogent arguments that I was hoping for. Reading this book made me feel more conscious of the decisions I am making by opting in to social media sites (such as this one), which made the book worth reading for me.
Kent Winward
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tech contrarian Lanier makes some compelling arguments to living a more conscious online/offline life -- But despite its ties to the tech behemoth Amazon -- Lanier never mentions GoodReads . . .
Dave McLeod
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devoured in a day. Accomplishes the not insignificant thing of making social media slightly more bearable. ESSENTIAL
Joel Adams
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
// impressive, persuasive and ultimately damning look at the religion of social media and their manipulation of our data, identities and behavior for profit
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, dharma, tech
A brief, decent book about an obvious thing that many people can't bring themselves to do: stop supporting social media.

Social media has been likened to the tobacco industry. It's a pervasive problem. We have a bunch of research about how bad it is. The incentive structures are a nightmare. It ruined the 2016 election. It undermines democracy, empathy, actual human connections. It's false and full of lies. It's addictive. It perpetuates our worst instincts; it turns us, as Lanier says, into assh
Joshua D.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains some really powerful arguments for deleting (or at least severely limiting) your social media use. There were a lot of things in here that I already knew (the negative sociological and psychological effects of social media), but there was also a lot I didn't know. Specifically, he talks about the algorithms companies like Google and Facebook use to predict and modify user behavior. The thought of modifying the behavior of increasingly addicted users is more than a little scary ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading this review and thinking of checking your Twitter feed? Mind overwhelmed right now by something you read that made you mad on Facebook? Perhaps you should pick up this book. In it, tech pioneer Jaron Lanier discusses how his decades in the computing industry has made him fearful of what social media has done to people and our perceptions of the world.

Jaron calls social media companies the BUMMER machine. BUMMER stands for "Behaviors of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent".
Casey Schreiner
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A necessary read.

Look, this is not a self-help book. It's not a how-to guide. It's not even as bombastic as its title might lead you to believe (gotta cut through that Algorithm somehow, right?) -- it's a philosophical read about the new and unprecedented ways we are communicating with each other that, at its core, just takes a step back to wonder why it's like this, who's benefiting from it, and how it's affecting us.

Even if you don't end up agreeing with Lanier's conclusions, these are things
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Best for: People looking for a push to consider leaving social media.

In a nutshell: Silicon Valley veteran (seriously, he worked on internet stuffs in the early 80s) attempts to make the case that social media — in its current form — is harming us and society, and tried to get us to quit. Mixed results follow.

Worth quoting:
“Yes, being able to quit is a privilege; many genuinely can’t. But if you have the latitude to quit and don’t, you are not supporting the less fortunate; you are only reinforc
Gary Moreau
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jaron Lanier has the writing talent, a genuinely humanistic perspective, the technical know-how, and the Silicon Valley experience to write the definitive book on the “Gilded Age of Big Tech.” This attempt, however, fell just a tad short for me.

It is a book built around a single acronym: BUMMER (Behaviors of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent). The acronym is used 346 times in a book of 160 pages. (Yes, that’s more than twice per page.)

Lanier is obviously brilliant and has had a fr
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very scary book, in which someone from Silicon Valley tells you that social media are not good for you. He explains the issue as formats like Facebook are only out to maximize clicks, and that most users respond most frequently and vehemently to things that they read that outrage them, rather than things that they like. The result, he says, is that Facebook descends to the very lowest level to get clicks, and the way they get to the lowest level is because they have users identified by ...more
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Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author.
In the sciences:

Jaron Lanier scientific interests include biomimetic information architectures, user interfaces, heterogeneous scientific simulations, advanced information systems for medicine, and computational approaches to the fundamentals of physics. He collaborates with a wide range of scientists in fields related to t
More about Jaron Lanier

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“BUMMER is a machine with six moving parts. Here’s a mnemonic for the six components of the BUMMER machine, in case you ever have to remember them for a test: A is for Attention Acquisition leading to Asshole supremacy B is for Butting into everyone’s lives C is for Cramming content down people’s throats D is for Directing people’s behaviors in the sneakiest way possible E is for Earning money from letting the worst assholes secretly screw with everyone else F is for Fake mobs and Faker society” 1 likes
“I am conscious. I have faith that you are also conscious.” 1 likes
More quotes…