Be a pioneer – delete Facebook

Virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, who — fair point — has been funded by Microsoft for the past few years, has a nice piece pushing back against the people who say that it is impossible to quit Facebook. (I take no position on whether people should do this and am keeping all of my own accounts active; I just rankle at the notion that any internet service cannot be quit.)

Ultimately, Facebook deleters should not think of themselves as protesters so much as innovators. If we are to create a survivable digital society, it must be invented and that invention is unlikely to flow from a single company. We cannot create a hi-tech digital civilisation by continuing to complain to Facebook about its counterproductive design. We cannot have regulators trim a beast as if they were barbers and call that change. The act of invention must be distributed.
We must learn to be digital citizens, and we can’t do that when we are herded by a big central digital service. You cannot read well without learning to write at least a little, and in the same way you cannot live well in a digital world without having learned to design such a world at least a little.
Each Facebook deleter must invent new ways to live without Facebook; the deleters are the pioneers, the vanguard of a new kind of literate, informed, proud digital citizenry. They are inventing on behalf of all of us.


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