When you join a social network, Jaron Lanier says, "you start to parse yourself into hash tags and circles or whatever the scheme is of the particular social network." That may not seem so dehumanizing in the short term, but after many years, Lanier argues, you will find that you have regimented yourself according to the way these networks want you to conform.
Lanier, who is an outspoken critic of many of the features of Web 2.0, is deeply concerned about the type of conformity and the associated behaviors it engenders.
So what forms of information technology are truly valuable, which both consumers and small businesses can get behind?
Lanier says it is those endeavors that really "add something to the world," in the sense that someone can take responsibility for it, and just as crucially, receive a reward for it, as opposed to making users into "some fragment in a giant statistical effect." Apps do that, Lanier says. "Kickstarter ventures do that. Products like Kinect do that for the people who make them and design experiences on them." Lanier sees the future in these types of ventures.