Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Social Network

I just watched The Social Network, the movie about the founding of Facebook. It's vaguely reminiscent of the dotcom boom, where the dream was becoming a billionaire overnight by coming up with some clever new idea.

Then it all collapsed.

In the ruins of startup companies and emerging bodies of law, there as formed a singularity, a point beyond which culture is unrecognizable. The singularity was driven foremost by Facebook and the accompanying phenomenon of social news.

We control who and what we see; online friends, whose status updates we see, feeds from news and comics and Twitter. Reddit and Digg and how many others let us decide what news is noteworthy.

It's like small-town gossip on a world-wide, interest-based scale. There are drawbacks, of course, but those, too, you can talk about with your network; everything has a link to Digg or repost somewhere else.

And the heroes of the new millennium are drunken twenty-somethings really handy with code and ideas. I really like this idea, of the transmutation of heroes from the Justice League to their animators and the people who maintain their fansite. Inventing something technological is the easiest way to change the world these days, as evidenced by Gates as much as Zuckerberg.

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