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Social networking has grown into a staple of modern society, but its continued evolution is becoming increasingly detrimental to our lives. Shifts in communication and privacy are affecting us more than we realize or understand. Terms of Service crystalizes this current moment in technology and contemplates its implications: the identity-validating pleasures and perils of online visibility; our newly adopted view of daily life through the lens of what is share-worthy; and the surveillance state operated by social media platforms—Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others—to mine our personal data for advertising revenue, an invasion of our lives that is as pervasive as government spying.
Jacob Silverman calls for social media users to take back ownership of their digital selves from the Silicon Valley corporations who claim to know what’s best for them. Integrating politics, sociology, national security, pop culture, and technology, he reveals the surprising conformity at the heart of Internet culture—explaining how social media companies engineer their products to encourage shallow engagement and discourage dissent. Reflecting on the collapsed barriers between our private and public lives, Silverman brings into focus the inner conflict we feel when deciding what to share and what to “like,” and explains how we can take the steps we need to free ourselves from its grip.
In the book, he claims that libraries today are more than just book repositories, and that they can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.
He goes on to argue that, in order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online. These modifications are vital if we hope to save libraries and, through them, the American democratic ideal.
John Palfrey is an educator, scholar, and law professor. He is a notable authority on the legal aspects of emerging media, and he is an advocate for Internet freedom, including increased online transparency and accountability as well as child safety.
Published on Jun 2, 2015
Q. Doesn’t this speak to the leveling effect of constant chatting, tweeting, and sharing? Someone posting about a new baby takes on the same weight as someone else announcing the discovery of a good restaurant.
A. The issue is that the beauty of the early digital telecommunications era was seeing regular people empowered with professional-grade abilities. When you made a website, you made a website. Now, when you make a Facebook page or when you tweet, you’re using consumer-grade technology. We’ve gone from professional, cyberpunk-level participation in communications to using a consumer toy.
Writer Jon Ronson has spent a lot of time tracking people who have been shamed, raked over the coals on social media for mostly minor — but sometimes major — transgressions. And he writes about some of them in his new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
Ronson tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep his anxiety level shot up while he was writing about the victims of public ridicule. “My book has a kind of panicky, heart-racing quality to it,” he says, “but in a positive way, because I wanted to say look, if we’re going to carry on destroying people for nothing, this is what it feels like.”
“Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” says Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, she says, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant — and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.
Considering how bad my voice got by the time the hour was up, I think this went as well as it could.
Full show details available @ http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=14012