As I started Lanier’s book, You Are Not a Gadget, I came across this interesting paragraph:
“Google came along with the idea of linking advertising and searching, but that business stayed out of the middle of what people actually did online. It had indirect effects, but not direct ones. The early waves of web activity were remarkably energetic and had a personal quality. People created personal “homepages,” and each of them was different, and often strange. The web had flavor.”
When I first read this part of the book, I found it odd that Lanier would suggest that the web invoked a more personalized vibe in its earlier stages than it does now. Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in the amount of websites we have to blog about who we are, express our thoughts, and create our own webpages. For example, the statuses we post about things we find interesting in our daily lives enhances our Facebook timeline. It creates a virtual image of who we are, and consequently personalizes our “homepage”. And this can be done in a variety of ways – blogging on sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, or WordPress. These sites create an outlet into a world of expression. What type of expression? I asked myself this question as I continued to read the rest of Chapter 1.
The type of expression we are usually engaged in is due to external events – something you are currently doing. where you are, or how you feel at that moment. All of these events do not require much thought, nor does it take time to post something about it. I think Lanier was trying to suggest that our immersion into a fast-paced digital world should not take away from who we are as individuals. He says, “avoid the creeping danger of believing that objectively described events define you, as they would define a machine.” Furthermore, he proposes some examples of what can be done for the problem of saving the online culture (I found the following three most effective):
“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.”
“Post a video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view.”
“Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that needed to come out.”