Tag Archives: social media

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Published: 2013

Genre: fiction (the book’s description made it sound more of a thriller than it actually is)

Length: 491 pages

Setting: California, near future

Interest: I was looking for an E author for my reading challenge and this book sounded interesting.

Summary: Mae is a new hire at The Circle, a computer company that has integrated all online interactions into one identity, TruYu. Mae starts in Customer Experience, and is gently chided when she tries to live a life outside of the company. Doesn’t she like her job and her coworkers? Why would she want to keep things to herself? That’s selfish, or are those actions illegal? Eventually, Mae is convinced to “go transparent” and wear a video camera at all times. Politicians around the world are doing the same, to eliminate backroom deals and improve transparency in the government. The Circle is nearing Completion and Kayden is the only one at the company who seems to think it would be a bad thing to have Circle technology monitoring and recording everyone all the time. The other founders just think of all the crime that would be prevented and money that can be made. Kayden tries to convince Mae to help stop Completion, but Mae had drunk the Kool-aid and just thinks of new and faster ways to reach the ultimate goal.

Final thoughts: I found this book to be highly disturbing. It’s a little heavy-handed in its message, perhaps (social media taken to the EXTREME), but I couldn’t stop thinking about the book while I was reading it. Mae didn’t have time to live a life because she was so busy commenting on other people’s lives and their comments. The Powers That Be kept adding more and more screens to Mae’s life that she had to pay attention to – starting with two screens and working up to eight, plus voices in her ear for her opinion. You had no time to yourself because that was selfish. Why wouldn’t you want to share your experiences with those who couldn’t it themselves? Are you ashamed? Mae lost her friends and family when she went transparent and couldn’t understand why. She didn’t even realize how empty her life was except at odd moments when she would tamp down the emptiness in her life with more work and comments. She also felt so brave by sending frowns to people or organizations. Wow – sending a frown to an organization like ISIS is really going to make a difference. They’ll stop their evil ways when they see how many frowns they’ve amassed. Or not.

The technology is so pervasive and easy to use to monitor everything. Mae couldn’t see how it could be bad to know everything about everyone all the time. What do you have to hide? I don’t know, but I don’t want the government or a computer organization knowing everything about me. It made me a little skittish about social media for a while. I’m still not sure how much of my life I should share online, because once you put it online, it doesn’t go away. Of course, in the book, if you didn’t document your actions online, they didn’t really happen.

Title comes from: The name of the company Mae worked for.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 83/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and an E in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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