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Please Read Dave Eggers: The Circle

with 3 comments

In a world where everyone sees everything…

If you’ve ever wondered where complete transparency might lead—as I have—consider reading Dave Eggers’ excellent novel The Circle.

Don't worry--no one's watching.

Don’t worry–no one’s watching.

Mr. Eggers has created a very comfortable world (for some) of deep collaboration, where everything is provided to those lucky enough to work for the Circle. The Circle, the corporation at the center of the story, looks more than a bit like our most celebrated high-tech companies brimming with smarts, cash and outsized ambition. Think Google or Apple or what Microsoft once was—and then add in a cast of characters each with an overweening and boundary-less high EQ—and you’ve got a world that is totally supportive—as long as you move in the same direction. The novel traces the story of Mae Holland as she “zings” (tweets) and “smiles” (likes) her way from outsider to the inner circle.05212014-TheCircle-9780345807298_p0_v2_s260x420

The story gets uncomfortable at times, especially when it shows the intent behind the use of social media and the social pressures applied. Especially when you start to recognize product placement on a very, very personal level.

Mr. Eggers has me rethinking my eagerness for employees up and down the corporate ladder to use their outside voice. I’ve been advocating, among my clients and when teaching Social Media Marketing, that helping employees reveal their work to interested outsiders is a move toward a new kind of marketing that looks less like selling and more like a conversation among interested parties. I still think that is a good move, but Mr. Eggers has explored the boundaries of that notion, and it is a bit, well, totalitarian.

I will consider using The Circle as a supplemental text for my next class on Social Media marketing. Well-written and consistently engaging, Mr. Eggers’ book is well worth your time.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston, just before a recitation of photography rules within a non-public spaceWatching-3-05212014

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3 Responses

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  1. great insight. Really enjoyed reading this blog. Keep up the good work and
    to everyone keep on learning!

    Indira

    August 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm

  2. great insight. Really enjoyed looking over this blog.
    Keep up the good work and to everyone keep on learning!

    Valerie

    September 3, 2014 at 2:23 am


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