we went to see The Social Network yesterday and i was impressed with the film. impressed mostly because i routinely get bored and my mind wanders during films – particularly with ones that have plots full of holes (e.g. Avatar) or long extended chase/explosion scenes (e.g. Inception). the story loses me and i start thinking about the things i don’t like about the film instead of actually watching the film. with The Social Network i was pretty much engaged 100%, although the beginning did catch my mind wandering briefly with half fondness for college days / half stomach turning memories of frat/sorority culture.
true, i was primed to love this film because i’ve been living my life very openly online for almost 10 years now (feb 2001!), and while for many people Facebook was their first experience with social networking, for me and many other longtime bloggers/internet personalities it was just a progression forward in a way that most people mostly like. i have my issues with the Facebook, as anyone with a brain should, but you have to admit it’s genius, and so seeing the history played out with a well-written and well-acted script that debated intellectual property, not to mention a pretty kick-ass Trent Reznor soundtrack, i was riveted. (and yes, I KNOW IT IS NOT THE TRUE/WHOLE STORY.)
this movie also swelled huge love for my hacker friends who may have struggled with being sidelined underdogs for many years and are now getting the respect they deserve both socially and financially.
quibbles about inaccuracies/miscontructions and rants about accused misogyny/sexism aside (i agree with Sorkin: life in general is sexist by nature, co-ed collegiate experience in particular. depicting reality doesn’t make a filmmaker sexist), i disagree with those who think it makes Zuckerberg look bad. or, i guess, worse than he actually is. in fact, i admire anything Machiavellian that might have been going on there, considering the players and the game, and thought the ending reconciled his character. (see also: interesting New Yorker piece/interview with Zuckerberg)
however, back to the accused sexism, i’ll admit i’m getting a little tired of the scenario where the male lead who has all the influence and power through the whole film makes his pivotal plot decisions because he’s affected by love for a woman/family. recently: inception, surrogates, social network. this seems to be the only place in films where women have actual impact on changing the course of the world: being the love interest and/or mother of the children. *yawn*.
side note: was more than a little surprised when watching the credits that the Winklevoss twins were not actually a pair of twins, but one well-cast Armie Hammer, real life trust-fund heir to the Armand Hammer fortune (making the “i’m 6’5″, 220 and there’s two of me” joke in the movie even funnier). read how.Filed in blogging, tv, books and movies | Tagged with facebook | Comments (2)
i’ve been lazy again this week and riding the bus instead of biking to work. the upside is that i get offline reading done in the 20-minutes each way that i otherwise don’t find/make time to do. i finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and reading dave eggers on the bus every morning put me in a thoughtful and contemplative but good mood. now i’m reading The Informers, and reading Bret Easton Ellis on the bus in the morning does not so much put me in a good mood.
anyway, i know i am going to europe for the first time TOMORROW and so should write something maybe about that today also, but before i forget, in the appendix/addenda to AHWOSG, written later after the first publication, called Mistakes We Knew We Were Making, Eggers discusses the inevitable position that non-fictional, autobiographical writers get into, which is that, because we do not live solitary lives, we write about OTHER PEOPLE. and those other people may not like what you wrote about them, or the circumstance, or how you remember it, EVEN IF IT’S TRUE. or, maybe, i should say, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S TRUE. which i can understand, you know, from their perspective. your “dirty laundry” being published for the world to read. it might sting. it might put a huge brick-heavy damper on relationships. and this is something i’ve been faced with recently, what with my whole huge extended family joining The Facebook and realizing that i’ve been writing about my life here for, oh, 8 years now, and even though i try not to say too much about other people and personal things, i have done so, sometimes without really remembering and suddenly these ghosts from the past pop up and people are angry, disappointed, hurt. so just after a recent bout of this, i was reading the very end of the addenda of the book, and Eggers wrote something that made me feel, not…justified, but encouraged? to continue to be open and share. he says (more than once in the prelude and appendix, actually):
“We feel that to reveal embarrassing or private things, we have given someone something, that, like a primitive person fearing that a photographer will steal his soul, we identify our secrets, our past and their blotches, with our identity, that revealing our habits or losses or deeds somehow makes one less of oneself….
…Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one’s past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way – not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I’ve-seen/lessons-I’ve-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers.”
and i agree. so while i do deeply respect and recognize personal boundaries and have taken great care over the years to not represent anyone but myself (and honestly the family-related post that recently upset someone i didn’t even realize was publicly published – BLOGGER FAUX PAS), i also do not believe in covering up, hiding the parts that aren’t pretty. because i too believe that it does not make you less yourself, less valuable, to show your flaws. those with flawless facades are difficult to believe. they are hard to connect to. possibly this is why there is so much Schadenfreude in our human nature: because in the mistake we see others make, we see ourselves. and so sometimes i admit, when i hit that “publish” button, i know it might be a mistake, but the feedback (even if negative), the connectivity, always makes up for it.
(semi-related note that i couldn’t work into the text above: sometimes even people you don’t know get really offended by you writing about your own life. dooce.com, blogger of epic flaw-revealing proportions, has started publishing her hate mail and monetizing it. SUCH a good idea. haters suck.)Filed in autobiographical, blogging, tv, books and movies | Tagged with facebook | Comment (0)
(this note was originally posted on facebook, as it was regarding a specific facebook-related incident, but relates to things i write here too.)
yesterday, i offended some people that i love.
so for anyone who might have been offended by the “don’t be an idiot” remark about the healthcare debate yesterday, i apologize for my word choice. my comment should have only been only in support of the bill and not a derogatory comment on those opposing it. i am all for strong opinions, freely held. i don’t ever want to be seen as polarizing or offensive. i want to be seen as informative. and i know you can’t please everyone, but sometimes you have to remember who might read what you write if you’re gonna post it publicly.
i’m not surprised that some people were upset. i have all kinds of friends from all walks of life here, and i know some of us disagree on a great many things. there are a lot of my friends and family who write things that offend ME here too, but i don’t defriend them or get angry. i just don’t respond when they write things that offend me. i just let it go. i try to remember we’re coming from different places and mentalities, and that reading things they say that i disagree with only makes me know them better and remind myself that there are other ways of looking at the world.
i definitely don’t always think i’m right, and i have changed my mind on a lot of things because of great debates with friends and family, and it’s one of the reason i love being connected to people online and off. we learn from eachother. you can’t know eachother better or learn anything or change any minds if you just close yourself off to the hard debates, cross you arms and walk away with a “we’ll never agree, i’m not listening to you anymore” and only keep friends who agree with you. if it’s too hard for people to do that, to keep the connection but ignore the parts you don’t like, i guess i understand.
and finally, no matter who’s ever right or wrong, if someone else’s experience of a conversation with me is that i’m judgmental, confrontational and condescending, i need to do something about it. i’m truly sorry that some people got hurt or offended, but if nothing else at least this has been valuable because it’s caused me to have some moments of self reflection and i’ve been questioning and re-evaluating the ways in which i’ve been communicating online. every now and again, in all my years of blogging etc, this happens, and i have to recalibrate.
thank you.Filed in blogging | Tagged with facebook | Comment (0)
this is the best opening paragraph of a blog post i’ve read in a really long time:
“Lately I’ve been spending way too much time thinking about ‘my life’ and ‘the direction my life is going’ and whether I need to ‘reevaluate the direction my life is going’ when the only question I should be asking is ‘am I human or am I dancer?’ because that’s the kind of question where no matter what the answer is it’s always yes.”
it’s awesome in its own right, but especially awesome when that blog post then quickly devolves into a discussion about the inanity of facebook quizzes:
“Anyway, the random Facebook quiz is one of humanity’s great levelers in that anyone who does one automatically looks like a moron, no matter how neat their ‘About Me’ section is.”
which is why i never post the results of any of the ones i take to my profileFiled in blogging, QOTD | Tagged with facebook | Comments (2)
the nexus facebook friend grapher @ http://www.nexus.ludios.net/ shows you how your facebook friends are related, either in a spiral or like this.
click through flickr to see notes on the groupings. i was shocked to remember that some people don’t know each other at all. most of the outliers are people i’ve worked with who i’ve never done anything with socially, and a few random internet friends. i don’t generally add people i’ve never met, or even people i’ve met more than once but have never had a private conversation with, but there are always exceptions.Filed in blogging, friends | Tagged with facebook | Comment (0)
Filed in things you can do | Tagged with facebook, poverty | Comment (0)
Nearly 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day—yet the world has never been so prosperous. The world has enough money, resources and technology to end poverty.
Every year, 121 million children in third world countries do not receive the education they need to escape poverty. In an effort to increase awareness of this fact, a school will be built for children in poverty when this group reaches 1.21 million members.
When the number is reached, members of this group will be able to vote to determine where the school will be built between Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, China or Kenya.
The fund will cover the entire cost of building the school and all of the infrastructures needed to run the school. The contribution will be made in this group’s name (Ultimate Social Experiment) through Free the Children (see Facebook page for more info).
Facebook is being used as a platform to increase awareness of poverty. Sure, the school could simply be financed but the belief is that a greater long-term impact can be made if others can take part at the same time. Who knows? Maybe one or two members in the group will contribute to social causes in the future after learning how easy it is to get involved.
There are over 132 million facebook users, meaning less than 1% need to join this group for a school to be built (currently 716,000 members)
To take part all you have to do is:
2 Click on “Invite People to Join” from the menu on the right.
3 Select all your friends (one more individual could increase awareness by hundreds or thousands of people).
4 Click on “Send invitation.”
It’s that simple.
Filed in blogging, culture and random linkage | Tagged with adbusters, facebook | Comment (1)
In the past, my feelings toward Facebook and similar social networking sites had swung between a genuine sense of connection and community to the uncomfortable awareness that what all of our blogs, online journals and personal profiles really amounted to was serious narcissism. As my feelings of over-exposure continued to mount, the obvious solution would have been to set limits on my Facebook time – yet I still found myself sucked in for longer periods every time I visited. In part, it was the hundreds of little links to and hints about other people’s lives that kept me coming back. But even more addicting were the never-ending possibilities to introduce, enhance and reveal more of myself…
…In the end, what does all this online, arms-length self-promotion ultimately provide? Perhaps it’s merely one component of the pursuit to alleviate some of the blackness encountered in the existential vacuum of modern life. As Schopenhauer once projected, modern humans may be doomed to eternally vacillate between distress and boredom. For the vast majority of people experiencing the fragmented, fast-paced modern world of 2008, a Sunday pause at the end of a hectic week may cause them to become all too aware of the lack of content in their lives. So we update our online profiles and tell ourselves that we are reaching out…
Raj, Bohemian by Hari Kunzru (New Yorker):
We liked to do things casually. We called at the last minute. We messaged one another from our hand-held devices. Sometimes our names were on exclusive guest lists (though we were poor, we were beautiful, and people liked to have us around), but often we preferred to do something else—attend a friend’s opening, drink in after-hours clubs or the room above a pub, trek off to remote suburbs to see a band play in a warehouse. We went dancing whenever we felt like it (none of us had regular jobs), and when we didn’t we stayed in, watching movies and getting high. Someone always had something new or special—illegal pre-releases of Hollywood blockbusters, dubs of 8-mm. shorts from the nineteen-seventies. We watched next summer’s exploding airplanes, Viennese Actionists masturbating onto operating tables. Raw meat and Nick Cage. Whatever we watched was, by definition, good, because we’d watched it, because it had belonged—at least, temporarily—to us. By the time the wider world caught up—which always happened, sooner or later—we’d usually got bored and moved on. We had long since given up mourning the loss of our various enthusiasms. We’d learned to discard them lightly. It was the same with clubs and bars. Wherever we went would be written about in magazines three or four months later. A single mention on a blog, and a place that had been spangled with beautiful, interesting faces would be swamped by young bankers in button-down shirts, nervously analyzing the room to see if they were having fun.
I must make it clear that we didn’t plan for our lives to be this way. We despised trendies—fashion kids who tried too hard, perennially hoping to get hosed down by the paps or interviewed about their hair. With us, it wasn’t a neurotic thing. We put on public events—salons, gigs, parties, shows. But once in a while, in the midst of our hectic social gyrations, we liked to do something for one another, something that didn’t drain our energy, that made us feel private again…
a beautifully written peek into lives that i have lived and the weights – whether real or perceived – behind the things people like me do and how we value them, and how sometimes those values can overshadow what is real, or be revealed to be something altogether different than what we thought we had, and possibly even result in the realization that we are who we were trying so hard not to be. categorized as fiction, but it all rang true for me, even the dystopian twist.
thinking of all the things i have participated in that we so carefully construed as ‘underground’ and edgy that soon became popular, trendy, either by organic proliferation or purposeful profit-motivated marketing by some faction … raves, fashions, the ghetto gourmet, hooping, types of music – it seems to ring true for mostly the arts for me, not so much consumer products, but i’m sure for others that is the case. you had the coolest thing, no one else could find it anywhere, then suddenly one day you woke up and everyone had one. how did that happen? when did it become a trend, and why?
My taste had been central to my identity. I’d cultivated it, kept it fed and watered like an exotic flowering plant. Now I realized that what I thought had been an expression of my innermost humanity was nothing but a cloud of life-style signals, available to anyone at the click of a mouse. How had this happened?
(if you read to the end of the story, it explains a bit more about how i feel about Facebook and why i don’t think it’s the best thing ever (marketing gimmicks disguised as personal communication? gah!), although i know some who heartily agree with monetizing your social networks.)
definitely one of the best things i’ve read in quite some time, so thx to b2 for pointing it out.
(also file under: what is real v. what’s your damage?)Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with facebook, new yorker | Comment (1)
while reading this Guardian UK article on the politics and theories of the people who own/run/manage facebook is sort of scary – the vision of the funders/founders and their views on information gathering and links to megacorps and the CIA, as explained in this video, etc. (although what’s discussed there doesn’t freak me out as much as i expected for some reason. neocons with a techno-utopian bent? meh.) – instead of running off to put on my tinfoil hat and immediately delete my facebook account, i am going to choose to apply the last paragraph of danah boyd’s recent post about SNSs in classrooms, the discussion of which is somewhat related:
Finally, please adult world, I beg you… stop fearing and/or fetishizing technology. Neither approach does us any good. Technology is not the devil, nor is it the panacea you’ve been waiting for. It’s a tool. Just like a pencil. Figure out what it’s good for and leverage that to your advantage. Realize that there are interface problems and figure out how to work around them to meet your goals. Tools do not define pedagogy, but pedagogy can leverage tools. The first step is understanding what the technology is about, when and where it is useful, and how it can and will be manipulated by users for their own desires.
in addition to that fine argument, very simply, if facebook is a tool being used by anti-multicultural neocon billionaires who are trying to take over the world, i’d rather be in on the game than delete my account and not see what’s happening.Filed in blogging | Tagged with facebook | Comment (1)