The New York Review of Books
film review, book review and commentary
This piece is an insightful review of the film Social Network by Zadie Smith. It explores the fact the films relation to reality isn’t accurate and includes a review of a book that explorers the interaction between technology and identity. The central focus of the piece explores the potential consequences of 500 million people using Facebook whilst remembering that no piece of software is neutral, ‘Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible.’ How much will, and does, the superficial nature of Facebook affect our identity and the way we relate to others, even those of us that recognise how hopelessly reductionist it is.
To what it extent does it really encourage weak ties under the guise that its strengthening ties because ‘it helps me keep in contact with people who I don’t get to see’ and is it damaging? And also to what extent does it negatively affect the real world strong ties we have, does it encourage complacency and narcissism?
Most interesting for me however is the nature of this whole area of discussion around identity, technology and social ties. At this point in time everyone who writes about this, particularly at an advanced level, has had online social networks introduced to them late on in there lives.That is they grew up without it as did their parents. What affect will it have on the young people who are born into it, whose parents are on Facebook from birth? Will this distinction between online reality and offline blur as some have predicted and hoped? Has it already started to happen? When does the discussion need to be more sophisticated than the online/real life separation?
What do you think?