Movie "The Circle"...underrated

My old boss had that infamous plaque in his office that says nothing but THINK in all caps. I always liked it. It made me stop and...well, think - about how often I might 'go with the flow' without acknowledging my own original ideas/thoughts.

In this vein of going outside our normal, daily (sometimes robotic) flow, think about how many times we acquiesce (or willingly agree) to almost everything we do in our smartphone apps being connected through Facebook. We say in our minds "ohhh okay...whatever" and literally click "Connect through Facebook". Sometimes we're not even aware that an app we're using is connected through Facebook. Do you know how many of your apps have access to your photos? Go to your app list in your settings and take a gander. I was kinda shocked.

I watched a movie called "The Circle" last night, and (albeit a little exaggerating in parts) it was thought-provoking; an obvious parallel to Facebook and Google. I’d love to read the thriller by Dave Eggers. The movie, directed by James Ponsoldt, stars two big names: Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. Have you heard much about this movie? I hadn't. Have you read good reviews about this movie? I'm not sure they exist, and not because it was a bad movie. When I googled "movie the circle" the first article that popped up was "The Circle: 5 Reasons Tom Hanks and Emma Watson's movie bombed..."

This movie shouldn't have bombed at all.

For me, one of the takeaway dialogues was when Mae (Emma Watson) was having a discussion with Eamon Baily (Tom Hanks), co-founder of a giant social media and tech company, and he was asking her, in front of a large congregation of employees, about a recent kayak experience she'd had:

[ “I’d never been to this island. Very few people have. and once I got to the island, I climbed to the top, and the view from the peak was incredible. I saw the golden lights of the city, and the black foothills toward the Pacific, and even a shooting star.’

‘A shooting star! Lucky you.’

‘I was very lucky.’

‘But you didn’t take a picture.’


‘Not any video?’


‘So there’s no record of any of this.’

‘No. Not outside my own memory.”]

I've been thinking about social media - present moment and privacy for years; how my actions seem that I'm all because I love to write; social media can be fun and funny, 'I will document as much as possible for special memories for my kids!', laugh, enjoy, 'take it easy', etc. - But how often I question it. The whole thing. And feel that (not a dystopia, like some may allude) but a future privacy crisis isn't far-fetched. And even more mind-blowing, is the loss of presence and time with those around us in the real world.

So why am I still all in?

It’s a question we ask ourselves (hopefully) quite frequently. We know our time is precious. Is this the best way to be investing our time? I wrote an essay about this topic a year ago and only shared with a few friends because it felt too heavy and introspective. But they’re questions I still have - questions I’m sure many of us have but just keep on going with the flow without much thought.

Facebook and Messenger and connecting all apps through them - I don't know. I think it's good to walk the line on using technology and being on guard. Did you know that you can’t “log out” of Messenger? You can turn off notifications, but only for up to 24 hours. That’s weird. Why can’t you just log out?

You can’t.

Good practices sometimes involve questioning things that get a little too powerful - especially when they affect your own daily life. You might be a quiet scroller...if it's affecting your life in a big way, it's up to you to decide what kind of value it's bringing - or not.

Watch The Circle. See if it makes you think...

(Now may the FB algorithms sniff out this humble piece and cast it to the dungeon forEVAHHH!)

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