"Social graces--and privacy and psychological well-being, for that matter--are just obstacles in the way of having more information." -page 43
"In the end, no matter how much we tried, we couldn't use technology to produce love. Because love, unlike technology and its uses, requires commitment to one, instead of the broadcast and consumption of many bits of distant, digital content. Love doesn't scale." -page 90
"This was always the case with social-media technology: It meant no harm, but that did not mean it would not cause it.... Facebook doesn't hurt people: People hurt people. This is true. But just as Facebook makes it possible to do things faster, more efficiently, more cheaply, it makes it possible to hurt people faster, more efficiently, with less cost to themselves." -page 93
"... perhaps your own perfection is what you would have to believe in if everyone else in the world isn't good enough. And that's why you'd want to reinvent a world in which everything had to appear perfect, all the time, as if forcing everyone else to believe in being perfect, too, or at least try.... I just wanted to be happy and loved for who I was and I wasn't sure all the algorithms or fame in the world could produce that." -page 135
"What I was seeing was that social websites were playing upon the biggest open and unsolved wound in our society: the need to be known, the need to be loved. It was unclear if they were meeting this need." -page 139
"I was getting paid to go on a trip around the world, first class. 'That's a nice gig,' my dad said after I told him I'd be out of the country for a month. 'Yes, it is,' I concurred, relieved and excited." -page 157
"Everyone wanted to see everything. This was all justified under the company's corporate buzzword, transparency, though no one seemed to know exactly what it meant. The fact that it was hard to define led Mark [Zuckerberg] to begin a discussion on the company's internal discussion page asking everyone to submit ideas for what transparency was. For some, like Mark, who posted in the thread with everyone else, the word transparency seemed to ring of enforced integrity, as if in a transparent world there could be no lies, no hidden information, and that nothing bad could happen because everyone knew everything about everyone." -page 174
The first five quotes above show some of Kate Losse's thoughts on emotional implications as they related to Facebook's corporate goals during her first two years working at the company. The limitations of social media in fulfilling people's emotional needs were often on her mind as was the emotional damage people could cause, very quickly, via social media posts and comments.
The sixth quote above simply relates that Losse traveled overseas for Facebook for a month at a time, similar to Annie in Dave Eggers' The Circle. Losse is more like Annie than Mae (The Circle's main character) in that she tows the corporate line for her social media company, travels overseas doing work to grow her company's global presence before eventually burning out (though in a different, less dramatic way than Annie).
The final quote above draws the closest parallel between this book and The Circle: the specific use of the term "transparency" in Facebook's internal discussions as described by Losse, just as Eggers makes "transparency" an actual program initiated at The Circle in which people wear body cameras and broadcast their lives 24/7.
Either Eggers actually did read Losse's book and borrowed heavily from it in his fiction, or their are uncanny similarities between what Eggers dreamed up for The Circle and the way Losse described her actual experiences at Facebook. Either way, as I wrote in my review of The Circle, the question of just how much of their personal lives people should share on social media is significant and will only grow in significance as technology continues to improve.
Facebook Live now advertises on television. At the moment, people can go Live on Facebook by filming with their smartphones or ipad or similar device, but who's to say we won't very, very soon live in a world where tiny, low cost, unnoticeable cameras can be planted by anyone, anywhere, to show us their surroundings at any given time, live? A world where anyone could be on camera at any moment without his or her knowledge, a world in which there's nobody to whom a person can complain about being on camera without his or her knowledge because the right for all to see that film footage outweighs the right for anyone to choose not to be filmed.
Here's the last sentence from that last quote above, again: "For some, like Mark [Zuckerberg], who posted in the thread with everyone else, the word transparency seemed to ring of enforced integrity, as if in a transparent world there could be no lies, no hidden information, and that nothing bad could happen because everyone knew everything about everyone."
If the above quoted sentence, in light of Facebook's approximately $350 billion market valuation (at the time of this review) and Zuckerberg's own extreme wealth and influence, does not have the potential to end privacy, to create a world where, as Margaret Atwood wrote in her review of The Circle for The New York Review of Books, "Privacy is Theft," I can't imagine what does.
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: FREE PRESS (1 November 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451668252
- ISBN-13: 978-1451668254
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 358 g
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