Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 Rating: 1.5/5 stars

“Awareness is the first step to freedom.”

I’ve never been a big fan of social media and I rarely use it, so when I heard about this book, I thought it would be something I’d enjoy. Unfortunately, however, that was not the case. 

The book actually started out pretty good, in my opinion. The author communicated his first couple of arguments in an interesting and engaging way, and I had high hopes for the rest of the book. But then he started straying from valid arguments and started talking about his own beliefs, and his arguments became more subjective than objective. 

At one point he talks about how parents who don’t vaccinate their kids are buying into lies put out by bot accounts online, and he wraps up that section by telling us to vaccinate our kids and then literally says, “Save children. Delete your accounts.” Like if that argument isn’t trying to appeal to readers’ emotions rather than use hard facts and logic then I don’t even know. That is neither good writing nor a good argument nor a logical connection to make, and I cannot believe that phrase was allowed to be published in this book. 

The overarching arguments the author makes are actually valid. Among those arguments are that advertisements are manipulating us; social media is addictive, which gives us less free will over ourselves; and social media is undermining truth. I agree with all those statements, and the data he did share with us was rather alarming regarding technology nowadays and what it can do and what kind of information major companies like Google and Facebook are tracking when you’re on their websites. I definitely learned some information here that I didn’t know, but the positives of this book were severely overshadowed by the negatives. 

I’m already someone who doesn’t use social media and thinks it’s a huge waste of time. The only account I have is Facebook, but I haven’t posted on that in over five years, and I almost never log on. I don’t read articles on it, I don’t follow links on it, I barely use it. The only reason I still keep my account open is because it’s the only connection I have to some people in my life from many years ago, and I don’t want to lose touch with them completely. Not that I message anyone with any regularity, but I know the option is there just in case. I definitely do not intend to ever increase my social media usage though.

I felt like this book was more subjective than objective, filled with the author’s personal thoughts and opinions, and it needed to rely more on empirical evidence and data. His arguments were valid, but the way he was going about explaining why just wasn’t sitting right with me. The author is also VERY vocal about his political views and his anti-religion views, which I didn’t like. Those types of opinions shouldn’t have included been in this book about social media. Expressing how social media influences politics and religion is one thing, but it didn’t seem appropriate for him to give us his own views in such a heavy-handed way. 

Another problem I had was that the author constantly degrades people who use social media. He writes about it in a way to make the reader think they’re not included in that category of “people,” but it's clear he means anyone who uses social media in any facet. He constantly calls people who use social media a--holes, and I was just tired of hearing that language throughout the entire book. 

I think the majority of social media is really toxic and a waste of time (it’s not all bad but the benefits don’t outweigh the detriments, in my opinion), but there are other sources out there than this book that I think would better explain its effects in an objective manner, and I would much rather read an unbiased article about why social media is harmful than a book like this one. 

Overall, I really disliked this book. I didn’t even disagree with what he was saying in the majority of the book, but I hated the way he explained it all and his arrogant attitude that came across while I was reading. This read like an unprofessional opinion piece rather than a legitimate book. I will say, though, that the narrator did a great job; I enjoyed his voice even though I didn’t enjoy the book. 

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