EP 214 Douglas Rushkoff on Leaving Social Media

Jim talks with Douglas Rushkoff about the ideas in his podcast monologue/Substack post “Why I’m Finally Leaving X and Probably All Social Media.” They discuss Douglas’s history with social media, the early social internet, Facebook’s parasitism of legacy news, the decontextualization of content, The WELL, owning your own words, leaving Facebook in 2013, Jim’s social media sabbaticals, the opportunity to create an info agent, the number of daily interruptions, attention-deficit disorder as an adaptive strategy, books versus articles, effects of long-term social media use, the quest for nominal identity, how careful curation improves X, using social media as a professional writer, the organic in-between, strong vs weak social links, the ability of strong links to hold & metabolize, how the internet spawns billionaires, airline subsidies, Girardian mimesis, liberal universal humanism, rebuilding embodied life at the Dunbar number, John Vervaeke’s “religion that is not a religion,” starting where you are, and much more.

Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the just-published Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, as well as the recent Team Human, based on his podcast, and the bestsellers Present ShockThrowing Rocks at the Google BusProgram or Be ProgrammedLife Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation LikeThe Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

Rushkoff’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. He coined such concepts as “viral media,” “screenagers,” and “social currency,” and has been a leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice. He is a research fellow of the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he is a Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics. He is a columnist for Medium, and his novels and comics, Ecstasy ClubA.D.D, and Aleister & Adolf, are all being developed for the screen.