Scott's Reviews > You Are Not a Gadget

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
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Aug 11, 10

Read in August, 2010

A somewhat cranky "manifesto" about the state of the internet--particularly, Web 2.0--that definitely has some good ideas and an interesting perspective on certain things but ultimately feel a bit too much ado about nothing (are stupid, nasty, anonymous blog comments really all that harmful to our future?). I liked his take on how recycled pop culture, especially music, has completely won over creating something new, because the web so relentlessly encourages and rewards mash-ups and the "slicing and dicing" of things; and how Facebook and the "hive mind" are just using all of us and our friendships and tweets to make piles of money from (future) advertising, which it can do most effectively if it controls the way we speak about and present ourselves (anyone who has checked "single" on FB has seen this work). But Jaron Lanier's memories of the early internet--Usenet groups, individual web pages rather than social networks--are a bit too pretty and Edenic. Plus, he has no real flair for the telling anecdote, making it this short book more than a bit of a slog at times. For obsessives and professionals only.
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