The novelist, only nine years older than Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, writes in the New York Review of Books about "2.0 people" from the perspective of a 1.0 person who has dipped into the world's most famous social network and jumped back out, afraid of what this big pool of superficial information was doing to hernondigital self. The occasion for the essay is the movie about Facebook, The Social Network, but by theend it's much more thana very goodmovie review. It's a disquieting reflection on the way online lives are reducingreal ones.
Shouldnt we struggle against Facebook? Everything in it is reduced to the size of its founder. Blue, because it turns out Zuckerberg is red-green color-blind. Blue is the richest color for meI can see all of blue. Poking, because thats what shy boys do to girls they are scared to talk to. Preoccupied with personal trivia, because Mark Zuckerberg thinks the exchange of personal trivia is what friendship is. A Mark Zuckerberg Production indeed! We were going to live online. It was going to be extraordinary. Yet what kind of living is this? Step back from your Facebook Wall for a moment: Doesnt it, suddenly, look a little ridiculous? Your life in this format?The last defense of every Facebook addict is: but it helps me keep in contact with people who are far away! Well, e-mail and Skype do that, too, and they have the added advantage of not forcing you to interface with the mind of Mark Zuckerbergbut, well, you know. We all know. If we really wanted to write to these faraway people, or see them, we would. What we actually want to do is the bare minimum, just like any nineteen-year-old college boy whod rather be doing something else, or nothing.
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Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

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