Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#339 / It's A BUMMER!

Pictured is Jaron Lanier. As I reported earlier, Lanier appeared recently on the UCSC campus. I was, unfortunately, not able to be there myself, but I did hear about his presentation from an extremely reliable source. She told me that Lanier is "really smart."

Among other things, Lanier is now promoting his latest book, Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. Lanier makes a pretty good case, too! His basic argument is that social media sites actually comprise what he calls a "BUMMER Machine."

"BUMMER" is an acronym of sorts. It means:

Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into an Empire for Rent.

Lanier likes to think up clever ways to make his points. After giving us the secret key to understand what Lanier means by calling social media sites the BUMMER machine (see above), he then tells us that there is a "mnemonic for the six components of the BUMMER machine, in case you ever have to remember them for a test." They are:

A is for Attention Acquisition leading to Asshole supremacy
B is for Butting into everyone's lives
C is for Cramming content down people's throats
D is for Directing people's behaviors in the sneakiest way possible
E is for Earning money by letting assholes screw everyone else
F is for Fake mobs and Faker society

"Blogger" is the website I use to write these daily posts. It isn't, really, a social media site, and thus is not part of the BUMMER machine. Lanier is pretty clear in differentiating social media from the Internet in general. However, if you happen to be reading this post about Lanier and his admonitions, you may be seeing the post on Facebook or Twitter, and these are definitely sites that Lanier is hoping you will abandon RIGHT NOW. He prints that part of his title in red on the book's dust jacket.

I haven't yet taken Lanier's advice myself, but I do encourage you to read his book. It is short (146 pages), and might at least "vaccinate" you against the worst abuses of the BUMMER machine, even if you don't choose to do what his title tells you to do!

If you do choose to do what Lanier tells you to do, which means that you decide to delete your social media accounts, allow me to point out that you can subscribe to this blog directly, by clicking this link. If you enter your email address in the "Follow by Email" form that can be found right on top of my picture near the upper left-hand corner of my blog, you will receive my blog postings direct, and you won't have to pay any postage to the BUMMER Machine.

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