Friday, 2 August 2013

Friday Five: Internet Individuality

Jaron Lanier
 Today's post is brought to you by 'You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto' by Jaron Lanier. I have just finished reading this book and my mind is reeling. Lanier is a respected Internet visionary, a gifted computer scientist, and an expert on virtual reality. He is disappointed that the limitless power of the Internet has not been used to reach its exciting potential and has instead been harnessed by homogenous conglomerates or, as he refers to them, 'lords of the clouds'.

Rather than experimentation and creativity, he fears the hive mindset of Internet users encourages mediocrity and degrades personal interaction. But he is not entirely negative - he is a product of the e-generation himself. He suggests some ways we can individually encourage original thought and personality as an antidote to endless mashups of other people's popular culture.

5 Ways you can 'be a person instead of a source of fragments to be exploited by others': 
  1. 'Don't post anonymously unless you really might be in danger.'
  2. 'If you put effort into Wikipedia articles, put even more effort into using your personal voice and expression outside of the wiki to help attract people who don't yet realise that they are interested in the topics you contributed to.'
  3. 'Create a website that expresses something about who you are that won't fit into the template available to you on a social networking site.'
  4. 'Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that needed to come out.'
  5. 'Innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events, to avoid the creeping danger of believing that objectively described events define you, as they would define a machine.'