Went and saw “The Social Network” the other night. Powerful piece of film-making (what else would you expect with David Fincher directing and Aaron Sorkin scribbling. Actors were bloody good too).
Since then have read Zadie Smith’s rather excellent piece “Generation Why?” in the New York Review of Books (25 November 2010). Two excerpts here-
Facebook remains the greatest distraction from work I’ve ever had, and I loved it for that. I think a lot of people love it for that. Some work-avoidance techniques are onerous in themselves and don’t make time move especially quickly: smoking, eating, calling people up on the phone. With Facebook hours, afternoons, entire days went by without my noticing.
Software may reduce humans, but there are degrees. Fiction reduces humans, too, but bad fiction does it more than good fiction, and we have the option to read good fiction. Jaron Lanier’s point is that Web 2.0 “lock-in” happens soon; is happening; has to some degree already happened. And what has been “locked in”? It feels important to remind ourselves, at this point, that Facebook, our new beloved interface with reality, was designed by a Harvard sophomore with a Harvard sophomore’s preoccupations. What is your relationship status? (Choose one. There can be only one answer. People need to know.) Do you have a “life”? (Prove it. Post pictures.) Do you like the right sort of things? (Make a list. Things to like will include: movies, music, books and television, but not architecture, ideas, or plants.)
And also this from the New York Times, where Julie Zhuo writes about troll-beating “Where Anonymity breeds Contempt.”
The key thing of course, is whether you are using the Internet or it is using you…