Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now explains why you should quit social media today in order to feel healthier, happier, and more at peace.

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Ten Arguments For Deleting your Social Media Accounts Right Now Summary

If I challenged you to go without social media, how long could you do it? A day? A week? The average person now spends 2-3 hours a day on social media. Therefore, for most people, this would be quite the drastic lifestyle change.

You might wonder: Why should I? How will I keep up with the world around me? Silicon Valley pioneer Jaron Lanier strongly believes that your life will be better without it, and he has some compelling reasons as to why.

In Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Lanier will make you reconsider your online presence. His 10 reasons are that social media…

  1. Takes away your free will.
  2. Contributes to the insanity of our world.
  3. Turns you into a jerk.
  4. Manipulates truth.
  5. Is destroying the meaning in every word you say.
  6. Annihilates your ability to be empathetic.
  7. Makes you miserable.
  8. Takes away your economic dignity.
  9. Is the reason politics are so awful and impossible.
  10. Hates you.

These are just 3 of the many ideas in this book that have me questioning my social media use: 

  1. Social media sites find creative ways to manipulate your behavior, meaning your free will is at risk. 
  2. The social media business model is dangerous and invasive and needs to change. 
  3. Social media can turn us into the worst kind of people. 

Ready to erase your social media presence so you can live better? If not, perhaps after these arguments, you will be!

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Lesson 1: Social media sites will do everything in their power to manipulate users, and we don’t even realize it.

As soon as you’re online, you’re being watched. It might sound paranoid, but it’s not. Every smartphone owner and social media user gets tracked by algorithms. How long are you on for? What purchases do you make? And so on.

Then, they compare your data to that of millions of other people. That’s why algorithms are great at predicting what we’ll do next.

If the algo reveals that people with similar music tastes also favor political candidates in pictures with a green frame, a party with this information can show you exactly those pictures, thus statistically increasing their chances.

To social media platforms, you are the product. Every bit of information you share or that they can derive, they will sell to advertisers. Privacy? Forget it! Then, the advertisers use that data to get you to buy their stuff. Lanier sees this as a direct manipulation of your behavior.

Social media also tries to take away our free will. It is designed to be addictive. Behaviorists discovered that moderately unreliable feedback is more often engaging than perfectly reliable feedback. Sometimes someone likes a photo, and sometimes they don’t. This randomness can get addicting — and the algorithms know it. They adapt and incorporate randomness to get you to stay on the app as long as possible.

Lesson 2: The social media business model is shady and invasive.

Lanier argues that we don’t need to rid the world of smartphones or online socialization to fix the problem. We need to rid the world of social media’s business model. He refers to it as BUMMER, which means “Behaviors of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent.”

Here are its 6 components:

  1. Attention Acquisition leading to A**hole supremacy. The loudest and most unpleasant people are the ones who get the most attention. 
  2. Butting into everyone’s lives. The companies record all users’ online activity. 
  3. Cramming content down people’s throats. Personalized content bombards us whenever we use social media.  
  4. Directing people’s behaviors in sneaky ways. “Buy this!” “Vote for that candidate!” You get the idea.
  5. Earning money by letting the worst a**holes secretly screw with everyone else. BUMMER companies get rich by selling users’ data to advertisers.
  6. Fake mobs and Faker society. Bot hordes pretend to be people, making our society more superficial.

In the United States, only two companies rely solely on this business model: Facebook and Google. Many other companies have some of these components but not all.

The problem isn’t social media in general. It is the reliance on the manipulation of people. The author stresses that you don’t need to throw out your smartphone or quit every website you’re on. You just need to stop contributing to BUMMER services. 

Lesson 3: People tend to act worse and exhibit less empathy when they are on social media.

People always talk about how we change when we date someone. Technology can change us too. Specifically, the author says it encourages “a**hole behavior.” You don’t have to look very hard to find insults, mean comments, and trolling. 

It’s easy to get caught up in a search for status and social recognition. Unfortunately, because the biggest jerks usually get the most attention, the rest of us start acting more like these people. The author believes we all have two modes: solitary and pack. 

Solitary mode is where we are more cautious, creative, and kind because we aren’t worried about social hierarchy. When we are in a situation where social status trumps all other concerns, pack mode rules. An example of this is powerful business people who deny climate change. They are so concerned with their own power, they stay with their pack and say it’s a hoax. 

Social media encourages this mentality. Society as a whole has statistically shifted toward meaner behaviors because more hateful posts tend to get more attention. 

People also change their behavior to get more likes and followers, which makes society more shallow. In order to survive in today’s world, many journalists have to sacrifice quality for quantity, producing meaningless clickbait to get the numbers right.

Social media makes us less empathetic as well. Empathy comes from understanding another person and how they feel. But when everyone only sees the content that was handpicked to agree with their worldview, we are less likely to understand other’s point of view.

Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now Review

I’ve had a feeling that social media is making the world worse! Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now will have you reconsider how the internet makes you feel. Worth reflecting on!

Who would I recommend the Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now summary to?

The 34-year-old mom who doesn’t realize that she’s not actually “connecting” with anyone online, the 59-year-old IT admin who wonders why he’s always anxious, and anyone who wants to waste less energy and time.

Last Updated on July 22, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.