The Circle by Dave Eggers
The Circle, by Dave Eggers, opens with Mae's first day at her new job at the largest and most powerful company in the world. Mae is twenty-four, and agog at the surroundings and possibilities at The Circle. Her first eighteen months out of college were in a dreary cubicle in the utility company in her dreary hometown. Desperate to escape, she had asked her college friend, Annie, who is already a prominent employee in The Circle, to get her a job there.
Mae is energized by her new work environment, but initially struggles to learn not only her duties in Client Experience, but the requirement to "participate" in The Circle community. She is lightly reprimanded for not sending enough messages and comments online, before she catches on. Soon she is frenetically messaging ("zinging") and commenting everywhere to achieve the participation ranking ("PartiRank," yes, "PartiRank") required.
By the end of the book, she has six screens on her desk, two bracelets (one which monitors her health and statistics, one to monitor messages), and a camera hanging on her neck. Her trust in the values and wisdom of her employer's "Wise Men," the three (yes, three Wise Men) top leaders at the Circle over any of her misgivings.
As Mae becomes more and more connected, she becomes the public face of the company. The Circle is taking its original idea to combine all of a person's accounts with one user name and password, under the person's real name and tied to their credit cards and bank accounts, many steps further.
Privacy is disappearing.
Will Mae help push everyone into constant monitoring and connection, or will she heed the few dissenting voices she hears? Would you make the same decision Mae does?
This is a good read for those who follow current events and wonder where we are headed.
~ Shana H.