The one-sentence summary
Today’s online social revolution is dividing, diminishing and disorienting us – the more electronically connected we become, the lonelier we seem to be.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Today’s online social revolution is dividing, diminishing and disorienting us.
- We are stuck between our internet longings for community and our equally powerful desire for online individual freedom. As a result, the more electronically connected we become, the lonelier we seem to be.
- “I update, therefore I am.” For some extreme users, their profile on the internet has effectively become their raison d’etre.
- We have become information narcissists uninterested in anything ‘outside ourselves’, and yet engaged in an Age of Great Exhibitionism.
- The age of networked intelligence isn’t actually very intelligent. There is no evidence that ‘being yourself’ or getting ‘naked online’ is making us any more forgiving or tolerant.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘frictionless sharing’, in which everyone can see everything about everyone else, would remove privacy altogether, and generate a Visibility Trap – and Hypervisibility is a Hyper Trap.
- In a fragmentarian society we are ‘intraviduals’ with multiple selves.
- Social media encourages us to manage our ‘fame machine’ so we can transform ourselves into icons, and generate our own ‘cloud of glory’.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- Everything is predicted to be fully connected by 2020 – only 8 years away -with intelligent cars, TVs and 50bn mobile devices linking not as Big Brother but as 50bn ‘little brothers,’ creating a Seeing Machine.
- He has three main privacy concerns:
1. What happens to privacy when everyone is subject to frictionless sharing in a transparent network?
2. What happens when everything is connected?
3. What are the human implications of this Great Rewiring or Cult of the Social?
- Silicon valley suffers from nostalgia for the future – constantly pushing us into areas that do not always have known consequences.
- US law now states that online services must provide a ‘Do not track’ opt out of data collection facility, but not everyone has implemented it.
- This is a concerned and thoughtful review of all things online, well researched and drawing from wide fields.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- The language often veers into the melodramatic, with persistent use of the words ‘chilling’ and ‘creepy’. The truth is, if you’re worried about this stuff you can either not get involved in the first place or just turn it off.