The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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The Hubris of Facebook

November 17, 2010 , , ,


Today’s article will contend to be the most editorial that has yet to manifest on this site. It involves a very trendy topic within the media sphere and is one that I now feel I too must opine on. As should be quite obvious by the title, the object of criticism in this essay is the social network Facebook. What I hope makes this article disputatious is the assertion of hubris on the part of Facebook, or more to the point their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. For reference, I recommend to you the reader to take a glance at an older post of mine which is an essay entitled MEtube. In that essay I lay out my theory on the existential ramifications of this new breed of website that we give the appellation of social network. This current critique you are about to read stems from interviews and talks issued by Mark Zuckerberg (notably found on C-span and ForaTV.com) that I have seen along with the book The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick, of which I have just read.

This book I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in this subject mainly do to the extreme candor of which Mr Kirkpatrick seems to have skillfully extracted from Mr Zuckerberg along with other employees of the company. Overall and in a general way, it appears that Mr Zuckerberg is quite open and transparent with his intent and goals for his company. My contention is that I do indeed believe that Mr Zuckerberg is sincere in his wish to see his company start a social revolution, but he does not seem to be cognizant of the philosophic tautology that his quest is imbued with along with not seeing the potential for a negative social redound. Most people have yet to acknowledge the contradiction in terms when one socializes through the interface of some form of technology. With the use of technology as an instrument of communication there is no real social intercourse or human interaction extant, after all you are creating an artificial situation with the intent of actual human interaction. Within this construct, human exchanges are only possible in the most superficial and vitiating manner. If Mr Zuckerberg truly thinks that he can enact a McLuhan like Global Village with his company then he already is adumbrating his own failure. On the other hand when it comes to his business model and his apparent transcendence of all past social network business exemplars, I would never deny his self evident ability to militate the world of consumer technology and the Internet, at least for now.

It is from the reading of The Facebook Effect that I get the feeling that Mr Zuckerberg is less concerned day to day with the business model ramifications of his company than the social impact that his company is ostensibly having on our society. It has been well attested by those close to him that he also is not under any pecuniary inducement when making decisions about his company. As far as my critique is concerned, I readily admit that the existential point that I am trying to insert into this debate may seem to some a bit pedantic and maybe even esoteric. There is nothing I can do about that except refer those individuals gravid with rhetorical duress to the rest of my philosophic essays on this blog to gain insight into the dialectical antecedents I draw from.

My final thoughts simply put are that there just is no way for any social network, website, computer, smart phone, or any other technological construct to facilitate human interaction or create any kind of social phalanx except for in the most exiguous manner, such as in the facilitating of increased speed in communication. If anything this technology is making our species even more disparate by creating the illusion that our existence in the cyber world is concomitant with our somatic existence. In spite of these philosophic weaknesses of Facebook there is no way in which to abjure the effect of this company in regards to the way in which we now approach and think about the Internet. I think anyone would have to grossly misrepresent reality to take umbrage with this view. Nonetheless, Mr Zuckerberg’s admitted quest to facilitate world peace through the advent of his company has to be acknowledged as philosophically untenable along with being the most quixotic and hubristic idea any technology public figure has yet put forth. I feel he would do best to keep his focus on being the CEO of an internet company and not trying to be a social architect of the future.

What do you think?

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