Jaron Lanier: Ten Reasons Why You Should Quit Social Media

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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.

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4 thoughts on “Jaron Lanier: Ten Reasons Why You Should Quit Social Media”

  1. I quite Facebook and it felt SO GOOD! I am shutting down my phone and certain times in the eve. I only have books by my nightstand. I only follow important SL/VR and left media on Twitter. I FEEL BETTER! MUCH BETTER!

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  2. I agree with Drax, Jaron, and Ryan. I agree with anyone who says social media has negative influences. Social media is insidious, it brings out the worse in young people, and it encourages the types of anti-social dispositions, behaviours and thinking patterns that our parents and grandparents were at pains to try to train out of us, in a different life and era. Social media is a ubiquitous poison: our kids grow up on it now, it is all they know, all their friends are on it, it’s an integral part of their lives – they cannot even imagine life without it. And while social media is making many of them unhappy, depressed, vulnerable, angry, insecure, self-destructive and increasingly selfish and less empathetic to others, they are nevertheless addicted to it and they do not even know why.

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    1. Jane thx for adding some thoughts! Could not agree more. My biggest frustration: I did believe that social media could bridge gaps, could create MORE empathy for the “other” person and make us grow. Well….did not turn out this way… on the bright side: virtual worlds STILL hold the power to do just that! A matter of us as humans to see that wonderful opportunity and grab it by the virtual …. uhmmmm horns? 🙂

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  3. Drax : agree about the virtual worlds. Thank you so much for your wonderful Digital Selves film, it is the sort of thing that still gives me hope in this world that’s becoming more and more intolerant. Please do more!

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