The Fake in Facebook

I recently read The Boy Kings, which some big-time media outlets have billed as a “tell-all” of Facebook, but it really isn't. It's written by Katherine Losse, who left the company, even though she managed to go from mere customer support staff to the writer of the Big Boss' blog and get a really nice paycheck for it. She also was responsible for internationalizing Facebook, a feature I've taken advantage of because I'm currently using it in Japanese, but have also used it in French, Portuguese, and British English (because it's still cool to use a version of English that's different than mine).

I wasn't going to finish reading it because I found her detachment through much of the book irritating. I wanted to know how she felt about working there, not just what she saw. It didn't seem to go very deep. However, towards the end of the book, she started to break out of her observational distance and express her feelings of frustration. So I concluded that perhaps her detachment was a reflection of how she managed to survive the company's culture and the guys she worked with. Actually, at one point, even though she was complaining about her male coworkers, it seemed like she enjoyed the attention of the guys and felt cool to be in their inner circle.

If you're looking for gossip about Facebook or some sordid details, you won't find them in this book, but if you're looking for one person's perspective, you'll probably enjoy it. One thing I liked about her point of view was that she questioned what social media is about. It claims to connect people, but it can make people more distant from each other because what they're presenting is phony and a manufactured image that they want to convey. Also, she tried to define what a friend is, and what kind of world we're creating if friends are just a bunch of names on a list that we're trying to impress. Her concerns weren't exactly like mine, but I'm glad that someone on the inside wasn't totally enamored with Fakebook and had the guts to write about it. She was employee 51, now she's living in a tiny town in Texas enjoying her “retirement”.

(image by Bruce Lee)