A review of Jaron Lanier’s Book, Ten Arguments for deleting social media

Quickie Review: Frankly it should be junior high / high school required reading. No young person should live without being exposed to these arguments at least one point in their journey to make the most educated decision for themselves.

For the rest of you:

The book as exactly as the title describes. It presents 10 relatively succinct arguments on why social media is not on your side. And moreover , not all these arguments are strictly health based or metricized – what really got me was the philosophical/historical arguments.

I’m not gonna revise what all the arguments are cause that defeats the purpose of reading the book. But I will share my thoughts on the TWO arguments that I really liked a lot:

Social media hates your soul: I really loved this argument because it presents a perspective that’s not really talked about. The effect of social media on spirituality. Many youth have heavily disassociated from religious constructs but surprisingly I think to myself – could social media have filled the void? It really gave me food for thought as I realized how true it is – I’ve spent much of the last few years feigning spirituality because my spirit is being “fulfilled” by the logic of what’s spread on these platforms – social media rejects the search for the truth and the acceptance of the ignorance of what we don’t know. Rather than to wander through life trying to find these answers – its simply a search or an influencer away. The goal becomes to optimize/productize yourself into what looks good for the cam – and before you know it – you’ve lost yourself in the numbers. You feel validated by your NUMBER (followers) even though it leaves you empty inside – LIKE A SLAVE.

Social Media will make you unhappy: How true is this ? How many hours of your life have you lost to being angry at a stranger who’s halfway around the world and already moved on? How would you feel if this stranger was put in touch with you not by chance – but the algorithm “gifted” you with the negativity. This was a real mind shift for me and it really opened my eyes to how these things are NOT conspiring in your favor. They are cold, calculating, & uncaring. They want the most engagement at all costs and they know that negativity is what keeps you coming back – its your evolutionary danger response- the threat that you might have to deal with. This is what truly made just chuck my phone at the wall- I don’t want anything to do with this crap anymore but our world runs on it.

What have I acted on from this book: I have deleted Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, WhatsApp. I will not return to Tinder/Dating apps – same principle applies to them.

I have kept two apps – snapchat. But that’s purely for communication purposes and I’ll never watch a story/that godforsaken media page, I’d lose contacts with IRL friends who don’t text any other way so I just can’t get rid of it. (Thanks Network Lock-in effects!)

I also kept LinkedIn – because I don’t check it like at ALL and if for whatever reason an employer asks or some person would like to add me there from a conference/networking event – sure I’ll keep it, no harm no foul on something you give absolutely zero shits about.

I have also kept Youtube – BUT I’ve removed all the influencers from my feed who I would consider unproductive and switched primarily to Youtube podcast/lecture /interview style content that’s an hour or more so I can keep learning & building up that attention span.

Also – I’m probably checking my phone 2X a day as best I can, once in the AM and once in the PM.

As a consequence of living in a large household. We all typically watch the 5:30 news around dinner and I have no choice but to oblige. I hate watching mainstream news but alas, I suppose I can just shut my brain off for 30 mins while staring at the screen. I’m gonna try to figure out what quality investigative journalism remains out there – get the print version and read magazines again like I used too when I was in my early teens. (Simpler times)

I’ll probably check back in 6 months – its Feb 4th so August 4th would be the day to check back in. I’ll probably track my state of being in a journal – hopefully it turns out well.

I will also continue to write my blog because I view writing as a separate exercise that’s distinct from social media. I will not be reply or checking comments however for obvious reasons.

This is a book that makes you stop and reflect on what you are doing rather than blindly continuing. It succeeded in its mission to make me think twice about social media and to accept his challenge to fast from social as best as I can. He also offers plenty of resources at the back and a few other individuals to check out for further insight into what’s happening in this space.

It’s the best review I can give – a book that legitimately changes your thought process/outlook & by extension – your actions.