Terms of Service

Terms of Service

Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection

Book - 2015
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Baker & Taylor
A literary and cultural critic turns his attention to social networking and its continued evolution, urging users to take back ownership of their digital lives from the Silicon Valley corporations who claim to know what's best for them.


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.

& Taylor

A brilliant young literary and cultural critic, turning his attention to social networking and its continued evolution, urges users to take back ownership of their digital lives from the Silicon Valley corporations who claim to know what's best for them. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062282460
Characteristics: xiv, 429 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Mar 29, 2018

A forthright and muscular treatise on life in a world of pervasive social media - this is not intended to make us necessarily quit our social media habits (though quitting is one option discussed). Silverman wants us all to think about the various ways that Facebook and other tech players affect our lives: from the process of making "a news cycle" out of moments of viral attraction to the difficulty of maintaining anonymity online (anonymity from governments, from FB and other corporations, and from advertisers), from filter bubbles with FB showing us information its algorithms think we like to effects on the national workforce in terms of micro-employment and how "we all work for Facebook." All of the technology is driven by data and by the need for a platform to keep us looking, keep us clicking, and learning more about us for advertising. "The Price of Constant Connection" is the subtitle for the book, and Silverman wants us to know that price so we understand better how to live.

Jan 30, 2018

I regularly read books about darker topics: US foreign policy, racism, how anti-feminist our society is, books about all kinds of cults and white nationalist militias, etc.

This book is brutalizingly dark. Look, I highly recommend people take these issues seriously (and this book does little but present our "rapidly advancing" society's Terms of Service in the starkest possible light), so I endorse the research, but am warning you of just how painful I find this book. Perhaps it's the kind of read for which you'd want to set reasonable goals: "get through 2-4 chapters, take notes in a journal, set out actionable plans I'd like to make based upon what I learn, find a podcast or youtube channel where I can find an ongoing discussion that takes the findings of this book seriously." Otherwise I don't see this as the type of book that many will have the stomach to endure past a certain (early) point. Here's my challenge: Read it (you might only need a chapter or two) and find ways to organize and demand change based upon what you learn; and support those out there doing the same thing. Whatever fights are to be had regarding having some semblance of "user-based control" of social media and Silicon Valley culture, those who are socially thoughtful are starting at *massive* disadvantages economically, politically, culturally, and of course technologically.

Mar 08, 2015

As of 3/07/15, ISIS, or the so-called Islamic State, has 46,000 Twitter accounts, so although I've yet to read this book, it sounds to be on target!


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