Each chapter opens with a more personal anecdote that then kickstarts a deep dive into various meandering topics that seem only peripherally related at best, at times. Actually, if I have a criticism of this book, it is that it isn't really organized all that well. The chapters are very long and jump from subject to subject. I wish the chapters were more clearly divided by topic. The essays themselves are fascinating, although the book didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. If I walked away with any takeaway messages, it's that social media has brought us closer to the democratization of resources and information, although algorithms and people being what they are, much of the information that surrounds us is cherry-picked to suit our personal tastes. There is also a disparity of what the internet offers to the poor versus the rich, which shouldn't surprise anyone, and a rather terrifying number of Americans don't seem to understand what a First Amendment violation is. Being "deplatformed" by a commercial website for repeated ToS violations is not a First Amendment vio. The government building a search engine that blocks out certain searches would be a First Amendment vio. Also, if you're a politician using social media within your capacity as a public servant and you decide to block your naysayers from viewing or commenting on your post, that is also considered a form of government censorship and therefore a First Amendment vio, as ruled upon by the courts.
If you work in tech or are interested in social justice and how they intersect with social media and the future of technology. This book is written like a textbook and even though it's interesting, it's very dry and I'm not sure it will find its audience with everyone. I found it fascinating, though, and I think it provides a balanced look at the risks and the rewards of using social media websites.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars
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