This is a bit off the beaten path for the Tech Business Today blog, but it's too interesting (for me) to ignore.
In an interview with Drowned in Sound, a U.K.-based music webzine, Nine Inch Nails founder, "The Social Network" co-composer (with Atticus Ross) and generally acknowledged tech-savvy Trent Reznor offers some pointed opinions on social networking in general and Facebook in particular. He also dismisses talk of Mark Zuckberberg's status as a tech giant.
"Facebook is a good idea, I guess. Certainly, I don’t really use it that much, but it has got me closer to people that I hadn’t been in contact with that I actually know as real human beings, so that’s good. "As far as the concept goes, I don’t think it’s actually executed that well. The layout's kind of foolish and the processing is terrible, as a tool."
And around the world, millions of Facebook fanboys and fangirls say they "don't like it."
"When I see the media heralding Zuckerberg, putting him up on a pedestal of genius and mentioned in the same breath as Steve Jobs, I highly disagree with that. He was in the right place, at the right time, with a functional tool."
On the shallowness of social networking in general:
"If you’re presenting yourself as false and you’re meeting people through the internet who are also portraying themselves not as they really are... I guess I’m just coming from an older school of: when you met people you met them. Whether you spoke to them in person or talked on the phone, when you interact with them it would be a real person and not some avatar of themselves."
It's hard to disagree with Reznor's criticism of Facebook's design, which is a mess. And I think he's right about Zuckerberg being in the right place at the right time. That being said, Zuckerberg still had to make it a reality. Which he did.
As far as the falseness and shallowness of social networking...well, yeah, there's certainly plenty of that. On the other hand, I've had plenty of people look me in the eye and lie through their teeth. Some of them weren't even CEOs or politicians.
People choose how honest they want to be in person or on a social network. There's no doubt, though, that deception is a lot easier to pull off online, and probably particularly on a social network where's there's an inherent (not to mention irrational) level of trust.