10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

by Jaron Lanier

SEPTEMBER 2019 - BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR AA PLUS


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This book was highly recommended by Mr Ibrahim Tahir, the head book-seller / curator of Wardah Bookstore and I'm excited to dive in this book with you guys.

Disclaimer: I've not read it so I have no idea what we are going to get hehehhe but that's the biggest allure of reading, isn't it! The good thing is, this book is short, and it's available on Kindle and Audible, so you guys can download it! Even if you can't get your hands on the book, no worries, we will be sharing snippets of the book here, so we can all discuss and share our thoughts.


Discussion #1 - Why We Should Be Like Cats
by Aida Azlin

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Salam ladies! So I’ve started reading the BOTM and I gotta be honest, so far, I feel like the writer is a skeptic lol but I love his introduction to the book! So he said, “Cats have done the seemingly impossible: They’ve integrated themselves into the modern high-tech world without giving themselves up. They are still in charge. There is no worry that some stealthy meme creates by algorithms and paid for by a creepy, hidden oligarch has taken over your cat. No one has taken over your cat; not you, not anyone.”

I chuckled when I read this because ITS SO TRUE!!! If you have a cat, you would know how unbothered and nonchalant they are! They are just doing their own thing, totally oblivious to whatever that’s going on around them. And I don’t know about any other cats, but when I try to take a selfie with my cat, she runs away hahahaha.

But I think the part that gets to me the most is when he said cats are “still in charge”. That’s what I’m striving towards - to be in charge and in control of myself and my life and not let Social Media sway me.

On a scale of 1-10, how “in charge” and how much of a cat are you on Social Media? 1 being “I don’t have self control and I must post and share everythinggggggg” and 10 being “I got this. I’m in charge and I control what I share and what I don’t!”


Argument #1 - Social Media takes away our freewill
by Ida Ali

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Salam ladies, I've just completed Argument #1 of the book and in a gist, the author argues that we should stop using Social Media because it will take away our freewill.

Here's something I find interesting about how we can lose our free will and how we tend to lose sight of our good character because of the real pain social anxiety brings:

When we are afraid that we might not be considered cool, attractive, or high-status, we don't feel good. That fear is a profound emotion. It hurts. (...)

The author also shared how what other people think is proven to be powerful enough for us to modify our behaviours just to fit in.

I see this a lot on Twitter - people tend to join in gossip sessions for fear of not being considered cool, or join in the witch-hunting of bringing others down just based on ONE mistake that a person did, just to be accepted on the Twitter community.

Have you caught yourself almost doing something that you would not normally do subconsciously, just because you want to be accepted on Social Media? What do you think about the author's first argument of Social Media taking away our freewill?

P.S. This meme cracked me up because I don't watch Game of Thrones. Does this mean Argument #1 does not apply to me and I can still use social media? LOL


Argument #2: Quitting Social Media Is The Most Finely
Targetted Way To Resist The Insanity of Our Times
by Aida Azlin

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Salam ladies! Ok I gotta be honest, this book is sooooo difficult and dry to read. I had to draw a mind-map just to figure out what the writer is trying to say! :/ But let me try to summarise the writer's 2nd Argument on why we should not use Social Media.

Basically, he's saying that the technology, i.e. the Internet, the Smart phone, or Social Media itself, are not the culprit. Instead, it's businesses and corporations (namely Facebook + Google) that modify and manipulate the users' behaviours, that's the problem.

He gave an example by saying, "when Facebook emphasised "news" in its feed (i.e calling the newsfeed, newsfeed), the entire world of Journalism had to reformulate itself. To avoid being left out, journalists had to create stories that emphasised on clickbaits... and if owning everyone's attention by making the world terrifying happens to be what earns the most money, then that is what will happen."

I don't deny this is true - a lot of times, I've been recommended by K to make my Video titles on YouTube "Clickbait-y" and to make my #TLL subject lines catchier so that people will click and read it.

I want to know, do you think the writer is being overly dramatic? Do you think any specific platforms that you are using has managed to modify and manipulate your behaviour? If yes, share with us how? If no, do you think you are "alert" enough to know that platforms like FB / IG / Google is tracking your behaviour online to suggest ads that might appeal to you? (For me, they are always suggesting flight tickets to Singapore! THEY KNOW IM ALWAYS TRYING TO FLY HOME LOL!)


ARGUMENT #3: Social Media is making you into an ‘unkind’ person
by Ida Ali

Salam ladies, I have to confess: I kind of love Argument Three. The author mentioned too, that of all the ten arguments in the book, Argument #3 gets to him viscerally.

His argument is that whatever he does online, he doesn't want to be a prick, or a fake-nice person. He just wants to be authentically nice, but certain online platforms are designed to go against this desire in him.

So the best way for him, is to leave all of that in pursuit of becoming a nicer and kinder person. And this I totally respect and could relate to.

I just stopped using the stuff because I didn't like who I was becoming.

I've noticed that I have the potential to be more unkind when I'm online. Reading viral posts with not-so-nice comments prompt something in me to 'join in the fun'. And it's scary - that I can do that, if I had no self-control over myself.

If, when you participate in an online platforms, you notice a nasty thing inside yourself, an insecurity, a sense of low self-esteem, a yearning to lash out, to swat someone down, then leave that platform. Simple.

And I've tried this - leaving the platform for a day or up to a week - when things get overwhelmingly dark online, and I feel like I'm slowly losing myself. And things will get better after that short break and I can be kind to myself (and others) again.

So remember to take breaks, if you feel like you cannot be kind. Perhaps you may share with us your answers to these questions that the author had asked in the chapter:

Look into yourself. Seriously, are you being as kind as you want to be? At what times are you more like the person you want to be, and when do you get irritable or dismissive? Your character is the most precious thing about you. Don't let it degrade.

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Argument #4 - Social Media is Undermining Truth

Salam Ladies! I'm back attempting this book again, and I actually thought the 4th chapter or argument was pretty interesting! Lanier argued that "the truth has recently become dead... and the murderer most often accused is Social Media."

The writer here is suggesting that with the rise of Social Media, more and more "fake people have been bred and amplified."

He wrote further,

"You might think that you've never interacted with a fake person online, but you have, and with loads of them. You decided to buy something because it has lots of good reviews, but many of those reviews were from artificial people. You found a doctor by using a search engine, but the reason that the doctor showed up high in the search results was that a load of fake people linked to her office. You looked at a video or read a story because so many other people had, but most of them were fake. You became aware of tweets because they were retweeted by armies of bots."

I find this particular topic of being "dishonest" and "fake" on Social Media particularly timely because, just a few days ago, a Sister emailed me, and in the kindest manner, asked that I would consider removing the part where I said "people are not stupid, they can tell whether you are genuine or not” in one of my podcast episodes, because she felt that it has a negative connotation.

She said, "to label people such as genuine or not genuine is very unhealthy" and she asked if there were any criteria to look for when trying to suss out insincerity on Social Media.

I replied to her saying, "there's no specific "criteria" to "validate" sincerity because only Allah can judge someone's sincerity. Which is why I mentioned,
one can "tell" (not confirm, or validate) when someone is genuine or not, because I believe, this is purely instinctual, and something that only your gut can feel. We all have this ability to sense when something is amiss - it's a fitrah, something that Allah blesses us with, as a means to protect us, so that we can defend ourselves from things that might potentially harm us."

I now want to hear from you - Do you think Social Media really is a breeding ground for fake-ness? How can you tell if someone is authentic or sincere in their posts? Have you ever been a victim of a scam online?

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