I really expected to enjoy this book. Over the last few years I’ve grown to really, really hate everything about social media. I have left Facebook and Twitter. I’m still on LinkedIn but only check notifications weekly. It’s gloomy, but I do think that social media is ripping our society apart. The attention spent scrolling through feeds is mostly wasted and could have been spent improving relationships, skills or knowledge. Worse, the skewed view on reality that is presented through social media is causing children to grow up anxious and insecure. And is often causing adults to kill themselves.
I agree with Lanier about most of the points he is making in the book, but I do not think it is well written. I got the same sensation when reading this book as when I read Fire And Fury (about the Trump administration): I agree with pretty much everything but the argumentation doesn’t sit right with me. It lacks substance and is often not backed by facts.
Lanier coins the acronym BUMMER for social media (companies), and according to the Kindle Cloud Reader it’s mentioned 368 times throughout the book. This is quite effective, and it conveys the intended sense of resentment every time, but I find it to be pretty juvenile and unnecessary.
The book felt quite repetitive to me. Some arguments are presented as separate issues but seem to be different angles on the same bigger theme.
I feel that Lanier has a lot of valid points, but that they could have been expressed much more concisely. In fact, I would love to see a condensed version of this book as a long blog post. This would likely also gain a much wider reach (no points for guessing how it would be shared…), which would further Lanier’s ideas much more than a book can do.