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The Circle Skewers Google, Facebook, Twitter 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the ripe-targets dept.
theodp writes "This week's NY Times Magazine cover story, We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better, is an adaptation from The Circle, the soon-to-be-published novel by Dave Eggers which tells the tale of Mae Holland, a young woman who goes to work at an omnipotent technology company and gets sucked into a corporate culture that knows no distinction between work and life, public and private. The WSJ calls it a The Jungle for our own times. And while Eggers insists he wasn't thinking of any one particular company, the NYT excerpt evokes memories of Larry Page's you-will-be-social edict and suggests what the end-game for Google Glass might look like."
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The Circle Skewers Google, Facebook, Twitter

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  • by segin (883667) <segin2005@gmail.com> on Saturday September 28, 2013 @07:03PM (#44982335) Homepage
    Social media breeds the lifestyle where privacy is just putting clothes on; all else is fair game. Although, I do use Facebook and Google+ myself, I'm careful what I post
    • by segin (883667)
      Sorry, a culture, not "the lifestyle".
    • by BitterOak (537666) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @07:11PM (#44982383)

      Social media breeds the lifestyle where privacy is just putting clothes on; all else is fair game. Although, I do use Facebook and Google+ myself, I'm careful what I post

      You'd better be careful about what others post about you as well. Simply having an account allows you to be tagged. Right now, Facebook allows you to disallow those tags, but that policy could change at any time. Frankly, it's safest not to have a Facebook account at all if you care about privacy.

      • by icebike (68054) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:04PM (#44982561)

        Not having an account (as in never ever signing up for one) is no protection either.

        There is bound to be some person who chooses to use FaceBook as their address book, so facebook will end up knowing everything about you soon enough.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        You'd better be careful about what others post about you as well. Simply having an account allows you to be tagged. Right now, Facebook allows you to disallow those tags, but that policy could change at any time. Frankly, it's safest not to have a Facebook account at all if you care about privacy.

        Actually, if you DON'T have an account you can still be tagged. In fact, unless you have an account, you can't even deny the tags. (Nevermind shadow accounts).

        No one said you have to be on Facebook, G+ or LinkedIn

    • Becoming the norm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:12PM (#44982585)

      Unfortunately, not having some sort of public profile is becoming a detriment.

      I was at a job fair and I was told by the recruiter for IT that I needed a LinkedIN profile because they did all their recruiting their. First, I restrained myself from asking, "WTF are you doing here , then?!"

      I responded that I'm uncomfortable with social media.

      He responded that LinkedIN is nothing like Facebook where you have people posting on your page.

      He didn't get the whole privacy concerns.

      I went home, gritted my teeth and created my LinkedIN profile. And now, a very large portion of my life is up there - our working life is the largest and a very important aspect of our lives, after all. And considering how judgmental, cruel and snobbish employers are (I worked for a while as a minimum wage laborer during the hardest time during the meltdown) and the fact an electronic profile gives no indication of my personality (and no opportunity to address someone's concerns about something), I am afraid I am probably going to end up back as a laborer - a very well educated laborer.

      Things are all automated and depersonalized now. You have machines making the decisions and people trusting the machines. We are turning into a dystopian "future" that'd make a Nebula Award jealous.

      • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:46PM (#44982761)

        You have machines making the decisions and people trusting the machines.

        The disease originated with MBA's and mindless bureaucrats, but has now become an epidemic. People who confuse mindless, only occasionally correct and rarely useful correlations, or figures of merit based on formulas drawn from someone's unwashed posterior, with actual judgments of reality. Interestingly, it's often technical people who are most skeptical of these things. Actually understanding the technology will do that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by blue trane (110704)

          Solution: free people from the necessity of getting a job and working for an ignorant boss. Vote for government to provide a basic income to anyone who asks, and stimulate the natural creative instinct with challenges. The focus should be on the advance of knowledge, not "any job is a good job". With free MOOCs and the ability to collaborate in an ad-hoc way through the unprecedented communication tool that the internet provides, it is no longer necessary for individuals to work for a company to contribute.

          • Whenever I hear about "basic income" sort of plans, I really wonder how many people will be able to live the quiet small happy life that money would be intended to afford or how many would scream at the world because it's "not enough".

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I wonder if you're intellectually honest enough to realize that people who strive to have all the money in the world always suffer from that "not enough" syndrome. And yet there are powerful forces in the world convincing people who literally have nothing to give up everything they could possibly acquire to these nebulous people. Sadly, they are quite successful, as you have so prominently displayed.

            • by mjwalshe (1680392)
              And the smug marrieds woudl want their tax breaks for their rugrats.
          • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @06:35AM (#44984571) Homepage
            And then about ten minutes after that, vote for an increase in the free money. And then another increase, because after all we are in the majority now. Then democracy collapses once the masses have learned they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. Great plan you have there.
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Solution: free people from the necessity of getting a job and working for an ignorant boss. Vote for government to provide a basic income to anyone who asks, and stimulate the natural creative instinct with challenges. The focus should be on the advance of knowledge, not "any job is a good job". With free MOOCs and the ability to collaborate in an ad-hoc way through the unprecedented communication tool that the internet provides, it is no longer necessary for individuals to work for a company to contribute.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I was at a job fair and I was told by the recruiter for IT that I needed a LinkedIN profile because they did all their recruiting their.

        Your mistake was not telling the recruiter to take LinkedIn and shove it up his ass.

        Any company worth a damn doesn't use crap like LinkedIn for anything which matters.

        • by 605dave (722736)

          Actually that is not the case. I just started working on a project with several very well regarded tech firms in SF, and they all said the same thing about LinkedIn. If you don't have a profile, you don't exist. Not saying I like that, or want it that way. But trust me, companies that matter do use LinkedIn whether we like it or not.

        • The only solid leads I got last time I was looking for a job and actually lead to interviews came all via Linkedin.

          The traditional job boards were pretty useless.

          You may not wish it so, but not having Linkedin is becoming a liability for people looking for a job.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Things are all automated and depersonalized now. You have machines making the decisions and people trusting the machines. We are turning into a dystopian "future" that'd make a Nebula Award jealous.

        No. All it means is that your personality - your ability to charm people - is taken out of equation. Which is bad for those who have charisma and good for those who don't. There's nothing "dystopian" in evaluating potential employees solely based on their education and work history, and ignoring how smooth talke

  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:22PM (#44982635) Homepage

    ahhh yes another story about over-reaching corporate/government culture invading the private inner sanctums of our lives...how predictable...the song remains the same only the names change.

    i mean, really now, how many times over the past 80 years has this story been written?

    the real story here isn't that huge entities want to know/control all aspects of things, but the overall acceptance is this culture in society...i know lots of friends who think all this geo-twit blog diarrhea is great fun. but imo they all live carefully constructed lives where they see threats everywhere, just as corporations and governments do, and fear the unknown.

    i don't live a carefully constructed life...i just live.

    • Re:again? (Score:5, Funny)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:36PM (#44982711) Homepage

      Hey, watch it. This is Dave Eggers we're talking about. Dave fucking Eggers. Every time he sets his pen to paper, the entire staff of The New Yorker looks up from their screens and stops typing, just watching in stunned awe. Scientists have shown that each David Eggers book of the last 20 years has raised the collective IQ of the entire United States by an average of 6.2 points, even among people who had their friends tell them about it but never actually read it themselves. Another study showed that just holding a Dave Eggers book in your hand so that the cover is visible makes you 14 percent more attractive than conspicuously reading The New York Times Review of Books on the subway. I did my master's thesis on the electromagnetic properties of Dave Eggers (in places with low EMF interference, people have actually reported that their fillings started picking up signals from NPR when Eggers is around) and I can assure you, this man is a blessing upon the literary world no less significant than the Christ-child, and you are not fit to shine his shoes.

  • Yeah except... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanitycrumbling (956413) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @08:35PM (#44982701)
    The Jungle is still happening in real life, in real factories. Maybe not here in the USA, but in many other places. It's sort of offensive / ridiculous to compare the two. "No work life balance while making $125,000 a year" is not the same as sweatshop slave labor, and it's silly to compare the two.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @09:14PM (#44982843)

    knows no distinction between work and life, public and private

    It's about time that somebody called attention to "we own you" management that want full on slavery but with less responsibility to the slaves than the old fashioned kind. All that shit like making employees wear recording devices and sacking them for what they get up to in private after the Christmas party (getting rid of the women and not the men - assigning the blame Taliban style), really needs to be brought out into the sunshine. Ordinary office or sales employees shouldn't have to put up with the sort of control that people in the military know to expect and get something in return for that loss of liberty.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      Since we don't have "full on slavery", everybody who submits to whatever kind of insanity you're describing is doing so willingly.
    • Full on slavery didn't have any responsibility towards the slaves. The little concessions the slaves got, if at all, were given only because it made economic sense (eg room and board, because it makes sense to keep slaves alive and in good health, so they can, you know, work for free and all).
      • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @04:30AM (#44984247)
        That is exactly what I was referring to - the dregs of American management appear to have a fantasy of a slave workforce that they do not need to feed or house. That becomes especially clear when they are working in other nations where US law does not apply and they try to apply conditions considered unacceptable everywhere because they think they can get away with it. Perhaps the US is exporting these clowns because they are useless at home, or perhaps at home they have adult supervision and something resembling respect for the law or at least fear of it.
        While the vast majority of the US has got over slavery there's still those holdouts that create such poisonous workplaces that would be even worse if they could get away with it.
  • an omnipotent technology company

    God is hiring?

  • But was The Jungle anywhere close to true? It does not seem so.


    Instead, some of these same historians dwell on the Neill-Reynolds Report of the same year because it at least tentatively supported Sinclair. It turns out that neither Neill nor Reynolds had any experience in the meatpacking business and spent a grand total of two and one-half weeks in the spring of 1906 investigating and preparing what turned out to be a carelessly-written report with preconceived conclusions. Gabriel Kolko, a socialist b

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