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Some thinking from a pioneer on the Internet, and why he begs you to leave social media behind. By Ja’han Jones, Huffpost Personal
Jaron Lanier Helped Create Social Media, And Now He’s Begging You To Leave It Behind
by Ja’han Jones, Huffpost Personal
Ja’han Jones writes:
“Social networks were supposed to be the ultimate tool of democratization. In the earliest days of the internet, many in the tech world congratulated themselves for ushering in a new era of dialogue in which increasing the number of voices would lead to a more civilized, informed society.
“As a forefather of the digital age, Jaron Lanier was not only present during this time; he is widely considered one of the digital world’s most influential creators. Lanier is often lauded by tech enthusiasts as the ‘Father of Virtual Reality.’ In 1985, he co-founded the first company to sell wearable virtual reality gloves and goggles, and in 1997, he served as chief scientist for a project largely responsible for broadening the internet for global use — a project called Internet2.
“Lanier has since ascended to guru status in tech circles, issuing warnings about a digital world he helped make. Back in 1992, he predicted a society in which people live ‘in a sort of fetal position, where are seated in a soft chair looking at the world through a glass square.’
“Lanier’s critique went a step further, with his suggestion that ‘there’s a Western myth that technology will save us.'”
Read more in Ja’han Jones’ post
48 days now without a cell phone and I can honestly say I have no desire to have a cell phone again. I do find two things challenging:
- Being picked up and picking people up at the airport
- Driving Directions
Though I must admit, not having GPS is forcing me to use part of my brain that has become inactive – sense of direction.
I am committed during this journey to not be “judgey,” but boy, am I sensitized to how often people are not fully present in conversations because they are on their phones. I realize that people do not mean to come off rude, but that is the effect. It telegraphs a message – you are not worthy of my full attention. Sorry if that sounds preachy, but….
Ever since 9-11, flying has been a little more scary. And a lot more of a hassle. But it’s worth the peace of mind that you’re not going to be a victim of terrorism while flying, right?
But next time you are at the airport, notice how many security people are on their phones. I just arrived in Chile for my annual choral workshop, and in every airport, people were on their phones when they should have been watching.
Similarly, notice how many police officers who are standing guard somewhere are actually on their cell phones.
I feel free! Who knew that forgoing a cell phone could feel THIS good. It must be the way a person who gives up smoking or drinking or some other vice, except that I don’t miss it AT ALL.
Though I don’t miss my cell phone, within the first 24 hours of giving it up, the challenges started becoming apparent.
- Directions. I can’t use my phone to find places when I’m driving. Time to pick up a GPS.
- Listening to music in my car. I can’t listen to music via bluetooth. Guess I’m going to finally learn to speak Spanish. My friend Heidi very kindly bought me a a CD program, as I travel to her beautiful country of Chile each January to do a choral workshop with singers and conductors. I’ve had good and bad stretches making use of this generous gift. But now, I have lots of time traveling back and forth between Philly and New York. With nothing to listen to and no one to speak to, it’s Hola Espanol!
- Checking my phone messages and returning calls. I am getting into a routine of checking my phone messages several times a day and then returning calls on land lines.
I’m well aware that my cell phonelessness is going to cause some frustrations, not only for me but for those in my life personally and professionally. So thanks in advance for your patience as I figure out how to do this!
Yes! His CELL PHONE that is. After Mr. Fisher’s cell phone broke, he’s decided not to replace it, and go (cell) phoneless for one year. That’s right! ONE WHOLE YEAR without a cell phone!
He has three reasons for this drastic act:
- He hates that everyone is always on their cell phone – himself included!
- He wants to prove to himself and others that a person can live a successful, productive and fulfilling personal and professional life without the use of a cell phone. In fact, he’s betting that not having a cell phone will allow him to be even more successful.
- He’ll be able to point out to his singers and their audiences that going phoneless for a rehearsal or a performance is nothing compared to going phoneless for an entire year 🙂
(Please turn off your cell phone!)
Mr. Fisher’s challenge to you…
Follow Mr. Fisher’s blog as he shares thoughts during his year-long journey without a cell phone.
Consider sponsoring Mr. Fisher at $1 a day for the next year. All donations will benefit the kNOw Tech 4 Teens organization, which in turn benefits wonderful organizations like the Tyler Clementi Foundation, End Distracted Driving, Sunday Suppers, and the Jacob Marberger “Hawk” Foundation. Any donation amount is appreciated.
Feel free to email Mr. Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can leave a message at 215-704-3407. He will retrieve the message and call you back – on a LAND LINE 🙂