Friday, June 03, 2011

Social network

So tonight we ordered take-out and watched a movie. We don’t do that too often. Life is busy and it’s hard to remember to slow down.

The movie we watched didn’t really take me away from the hectic pace of it all, if anything it reminded me of that uncertain balance of pros and cons which makes up for much of our modern life.

We watched ‘The Social Network’ – the film about Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Facebook. With an Oscar for best-adapted screenplay, the film was smart and well structured, weaving narratives of past and present, and managing to put a very personal dimension to what could have been a boring story about nerds.

But for someone who’s long been wondering the worth of staying on facebook, it probably wasn’t best to watch a movie that doesn’t exactly portray the founding of facebook in the best light. Should that matter? Probably not. And more to the point, should I trust a Hollywood adaption to form an opinion, no. But still, it waters the soil of my disenchantment with the social network.
Why do I dislike facebook?

It’s voyeurism, plain and simple. We want to peer into the lives of our friends, our colleagues, or high school classmates, our relatives. We look to see who’s single, who’s aging poorly, who’s having kids and who’s traveling the world... And I suspect much of this is done in the same spirit of gossip and note-passing that we were engaging in in junior high. This is not flattering.

I remember hearing that we, as humans, are programmed to put more weight on things we hear indirectly vs. things directly said to us. I thought then, and still believe, that this is one of the driving forces behind facebook. The fact that I can gather some tidbit of knowledge, be it ever so inconsequential, through something like seeing what someone writes on someone else’s wall, psychologically I give that tidbit more weight than if I had bumped into the person on the street and had the same fact relayed directly to me. What a strange species we are.

The whole thing is just weird. That’s my position.

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