There are two books that we are all supposed to finish before the holidays; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Circle by Dave Eggers. I finished them both. I loved the Goldfinch. I wrote about it. I feel compelled to write about the Circle too because I keep referring to it.
The Circle is set on the campus of the most powerful Internet companies. We follow the main character Mae who has scored a job there. She is beyond elated and so is her family. Over time Mae begins to move up the ladder and we learn more about the products that are being developed and integrated in our world from the Circle.
The story is captivating because the pace of the world that is lived through the Circle is not so far from the life many of us live today. I remember reading Brave New World and 1984 as a kid thinking how out there the books were but with the Circle it isn't so out there. The constant 24/7 communication happens today.
In The Circle, Social media is mandatory as an employee. You need to respond to every poke, every text, every email, every invitation, etc. It is exhausting. Soon transparency is everywhere. Mae's life is being documented to the world as she watches her audience participation soar. Small cameras are planted around the globe so we can see everything happening. By sharing everything and having pure transparency the world can supposedly be the perfect utopia. Quite frankly some of it seems compelling but most of it is scary.
We have been having many conversations these days around the need for more human touch, intimacy, talking and less texting and social media. At one point we lose touch with our day to day lives. That is what makes this book so relevant. Eggers is exploring the speed at which technology is transforming our lives in a good way but also in perhaps a dangerous way too. I believe that somethings are not meant to be shared. Eggers obviously does too.
A worthy ready especially for anybody in the tech community.