1-Sentence-Summary: Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now shows why you should quit social media because it stops joy, makes you a jerk, erodes truth, kills empathy, takes free will, keeps the world insane, destroys authenticity, blocks economic dignity, makes politics a mess, and hates you.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
If I challenged you to go without social media, how long could you do it? Could you go a day? Maybe a week? Seeing as the average person spends 2 to 3 hours every day just on social media sites, this would be a fairly drastic life change for most people.
You might wonder, why would I even want to? How will I keep up with the world around me? Author and Silicon Valley pioneer Jaron Lanier strongly believes that your life will be better without it, and he has some extremely compelling reasons as to why.
In Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Lanier will make you seriously reconsider your online presence. His 10 reasons are that social media:
- Takes away your free will.
- Contributes to the insanity of our world.
- Turns you into a jerk.
- Manipulates truth.
- Is destroying the meaning in every word you say.
- Annihilates your ability to be empathetic.
- Makes you miserable.
- Takes away your economic dignity.
- Is the reason politics are so awful and impossible.
- Hates you.
These are just 3 of the many ideas in this book that have me questioning my social media use:
- Social media sites find creative ways to manipulate your behavior, meaning your free will is at risk.
- The social media business model is dangerous and invasive and needs to change.
- Social media can turn us into the worst kind of people.
Are you ready to erase your online social media presence so you can live a better life? Let’s dive into these Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now Summary!
Lesson 1: Social media sites will do everything in their power to manipulate users and most people don’t even realize this.
Whether you like it or not, all of us with an online presence are being watched. It might sound paranoid but just think about it. Nearly every one of us has a smartphone and uses at least one form of social media. Whenever we log in to social media, algorithms track and manipulate you.
The algorithms compile data about you including when you log in, how long you are on for, what purchases you make, and more. They then compare your data to that of millions of other people. Using this data, the algorithm has the ability to make fairly accurate predictions about how you act.
For example, say that the algorithm reveals that people who have similar music tastes to yours also find a political candidate more appealing when her picture is bordered with green. It may not seem like a big deal, but say the campaign gets ahold of this information and sends you campaign ads with the green border. They now have the ability to make you statistically more likely to vote for their candidate.
But they keep my information private, right? Actually, no. Because you are viewed more as a product than a client, they have no problem selling your information to the real client— advertisers. From there, these companies use this information to convince you to do things like buy their products or vote for a candidate. And this is happening all the time. The author sees this as a direct manipulation of our behavior.
They also take our free will by being specifically engineered to be addictive. For example, behaviorists discovered that moderately unreliable feedback is more often engaging than perfectly reliable feedback. So social media use this knowledge to their advantage.
Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, referred to this as the “social validation loop.” Sometimes someone likes a photo and sometimes they don’t. This randomness can get addicting. Social media algorithms, also known as adaptive algorithms, incorporate randomness and are always changing in order to stay as engaging as possible.
Lesson 2: The business model that these sites currently operate on 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, and it stands for Behaviors of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent.
The author lists the six components that make up the BUMMER machine:
- Attention Acquisition leading to A**hole supremacy. This means that the way social media is designed ensures that the loudest and most unpleasant people are the ones who get the most attention.
- Butting into everyone’s lives. This refers to how these companies butt into people’s lives by recording their online activity.
- Cramming content down people’s throats. Personalized content bombards us whenever we use social media.
- Directing people’s behaviors in sneaky ways. As I said before, algorithms are used to encourage you to buy things or support political candidates.
- Earning money by letting the worst a**holes secretly screw with everyone else. BUMMER companies get rich selling users’ data to advertisers and other companies. This information is used to manipulate people.
- Fake mobs and Faker society. There are hordes of bots online pretending to be people that contribute to the superficiality of society.
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, but these companies’ reliance on the manipulation of people using their technology. 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 on social media.
It is all too 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 the powerful business people and leaders who deny climate change. They are so concerned with their own power that 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 and more shallow. In order to survive in today’s world, many journalists have to sacrifice quality for number optimization, meaning a lot of their work becomes meaningless clickbait.
Social media makes us less empathetic as well. Empathy comes from understanding another person and how they feel. But when algorithm customization creates personalized feeds for everyone, this means everyone is seeing different content, making us less able to understand the point of view of other people.
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 terrible the internet makes you feel. And, more importantly, it might get you to spend less time online, which always makes you happier, am I right?
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 that wonders why he’s always so anxious and depressed, and anyone that wants to end the constant energy and time-wasting that social media brings into their lives.