David Mytton

Book Review (3/5) – Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (Jaron Lanier)

Published (updated: ) in Book Reviews.

Originally published on Goodreads.

If you haven’t read Who Owns the Future (also by Lanier) and you want a reasonably set of concise arguments about why you should get off Facebook, Instagram and stop using Google then this is a decent read. Lanier covers the practical reasons which will help you justify the decision to everyone who asks you why.

However, he doesn’t really provide any pragmatic alternatives. Stop using Facebook and email people? Fine for his generation perhaps but nobody of my own age uses email except for work. It’s all messaging. Get off WhatsApp? And then use what? Text, which is easy to intercept both content and contact metadata? iMessage is fine if all your friends have iPhones but most people use WhatsApp, at least in the UK it seems. And all my friends have moved from Facebook to WhatsApp, so leaving that would be completely isolating. Nobody uses Signal, unfortunately. This is the major flaw in his premise.

Further, he doesn’t suggest alternatives, like he does in Who Owns the Future. The main argument is around being a first-mover to encourage the tech industry to think about alternatives. I buy that, but then he doesn’t suggest any. I suppose you have to buy his other book(s) for that.

I definitely agree with his conclusions, but I think there is a generational and pragmatic gap in his advice which will make it quite difficult to follow through.