.

 

Woods+

People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.

I know it's confusing. But this is their competitor to Facebook basically. Except you can list your friends. That's the circles. But it's easier to remember if you call them holes. Like I could have a friend hole and an acquaintance hole and a K-hole. And they give you a list of friends and you stuff them in the hole, like Silence of the Lambs, except you are sending them images and text messages and hanging out with them on video chats. One of the things that can happen, according to the press, is that you can, if you are very lucky, talk with one of the founders of Google, because he's hanging out using the service too. And you can ask him about user experience, and show him your cat. Which sounds horrifying, like having to pee next to Steve Jobs or playing touch football with Arnold Schwarzenegger. People rich enough to place phone calls to order body organs, people who can afford to hide families, make me nervous. The only thing they could want me for is harvesting.

Anyway, the new thing from the Gootch makes it really easy to sort people into the holes, which is good, because this lets you divide people into clusters and lie to each group in different ways, which makes it easier to preserve the fictions that make up our polite racist society. And it looks pretty sweet and works well so far, which probably means that there will be a huge battle-in-earnest between the Gootch and the Books, between Circles and Friends. For example, I don't know if you saw this but according to the New York Times Mark Zuckerberg is taking walks in the woods with people he'd like to hire. If he really wants you to work for him he takes you for a walk in the woods. It's gotten that serious. And this is a responsibility of a well-educated American, to think about Mark Zuckerberg taking walks in the woods with multiple unnamed sources.

First, this means that there is a class of employees who were taken for walks in the woods and class that wasn't. That's how that stuff shakes out. “Haha,” someone texts or comments, “sure we went for a walk in the woods, it's amazing that someone is thinking to talk about that in a national newspaper,” but in their secret heart they are thinking, “I am woodsworthy.”

No one has yet come forth and said that they have not taken a walk with Mark Zuckerberg, perhaps because they are ashamed--but there is also the distinct possibility that it is Zuckerberg's goal in life to take a walk with absolutely everyone on earth, and that's all that Facebook (which now has nearly 43 times as many users as there are unemployed people in the USA) is actually for.

Now that this article has appeared there will have to be even more thought given at Facebook HQ as to who gets a walk in the woods, because now everyone knows that a walk in the woods is a thing. I plugged the current scenario into the spreadsheet I use to determine things and came up with two likely outcomes: (1) People will go back in the woods and build a cave just out of phone reception range and install a hermit, and everyone will go back and look at the hermit, who is not connected to anything, from time to time, and say, “Makes you think, doesn't it?” Or (2) Most Dangerous Game. In this scenario one sunny day you're working on low-level NoSQL projects at the Gootch or wherever, and you get an email from Facebook and you go for the interview and Zuckerberg is talking about scaling PHP and suddenly pauses, gets this look in his eye, pulls his hoodie over his head and says “You have sixty seconds. You should be running.” Because engineers, as we are often reminded, are the ultimate prey.

In conclusion, Groupon.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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