I’m still taking a hiatus from the blog, but nevertheless, I wanted to share what VR pioneer, computer guru, and author Jaron Lanier (whom I have blogged about before) has to say about the dangers of social media to individual mental health and to society at large.
In a media report from ZeroHedge titled “Delete Your Account” Warns Virtual Reality Founding Father:
Lanier explained in a recent UK Channel 4 interview:
When you watch the television the television isn’t watching you. When you see the billboard the billboard isn’t seeing you… When you use these new designs — social media, search, YouTube — when you see these things, you’re being observed constantly and algorithms are taking that information and changing what you see next.
Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now according to his book:
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 an asshole.
4) Social media is undermining truth.
5) Social media is making what you say meaningless.
6) Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy.
7) Social media is making you unhappy.
8) Social media doesn’t want you to have economic dignity.
9) Social media is making politics impossible.
10) Social media hates your soul.
I’d like to encourage all of you to watch the Channel 4 interview via the link above. I am probably going to buy and read Jaron’s new book soon. His thinking on this subject seems to align with other recent criticisms of the negative impact of social media, and with my own experience. I used to be a firm and fervent believer in the power of social media, but no longer. And I am seriously thinking about giving up—or at least heavily scaling back—my own social media activity.