Isnin, 11 November 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Dot Complicated


A fun read that provides a lighthearted yet practical perspective on life online.

YOU can fully embrace technology, or avoid it like the plague, but you'd be much better off if you were to work at striking the right balance for it in your life instead.

This is what Randi Zuckerberg, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Zuckerberg Media, and older sister to Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, calls a tech-life balance, and it's precisely what she aims to help you achieve through her recently released book, Dot Complicated.

"Technology gives us the power to change the world," she writes. "Let's start by changing ourselves. Let's make our complicated wired lives a little bit easier, and a lot more wonderful."

Her six-year stint in Facebook lends her a great deal of credibility on the subject matter, and she shares at great length about her experiences in marketing the company's potential to the world, and the invaluable lessons she's learned along the way.

In her book, she candidly addresses seven areas of our lives that are often influenced by technology: self, friends, love, family, career, community and future (which refers to how the media landscape has changed in recent years and the fact that practically anyone can become a journalist or self-publicist nowadays).

The book is written in a simple-to-read, conversational style that makes it easy for anyone who's ever surfed the Web or owned a smart device to follow her line of reasoning.

However, having some prior exposure to social media (read: Facebook) may help you to better appreciate what she's getting at, since that is, after all, the bulk of what she addresses when she refers to technology.

But fear not, earthlings, for Zuckerberg makes it pretty clear right from the start that her book isn't meant for hard core techies anyway. In fact, she confesses that she's always been more interested in the human factor behind technology than merely getting lost in all the gadgetry and geekiness that Silicon Valley has to offer.

So if you're someone who feels a little lost when it comes to decisions like how often you ought to check messages on your smartphone or what information would be inappropriate to post on your Facebook or Twitter profile, then this is just the book for you.

A key message that Zuckerberg delivers through Dot Complicated is the fact that it's important to maintain an authentic identity both online and in real life. By doing so, many of the struggles we face with technology can be overcome.

For instance, she says, people are less likely to be mean to someone else if they realise that it's not something that they would have the guts to do had they been face-to-face with that person.

But at the same time, although it's good to think carefully before posting anything online, Zuckerberg also encourages her readers to be bold enough to speak up and share the good bits of their lives with others since "your opinions are as valuable as anyone else's, and more so to your friends".

Meanwhile, with regards to children and technology, she adopts a liberal view. Rather than denying kids the opportunity to explore technology in the early stages of their lives, she advises parents to give them ample chances to try it out, but with guided access, of course.

The eventual goal, Zuckerberg states, is to help each child reach the point where they are able to independently make wise choices of their own in cyberspace.

"At the end of the day, parenting your kids online is really just parenting, period. There's no one formula or correct solution to all our problems," she says.

Another interesting perspective that Zuckerberg brings up in her writing is that it's not necessarily a bad thing to merge your personal and professional identity. She believes that most people prefer working with someone they can relate to. So allowing your boss and co-workers to see the other sides of you can actually work to your advantage since it portrays you as a trustworthy person.

Furthermore, she points out that just because someone is doing something online, it doesn't mean they're not working. Indeed so, Ms Zuckerberg, as that's certainly the gospel truth for us here at Bytz!

There's also a healthy dose of humour packed into these pages. After describing an incident involving a mean boss, Zuckerberg offers a tip on how to stifle a cry in the restroom by flushing the toilet flush. Elsewhere, she muses over the fact that brunch can never be enjoyed these days without someone insisting on hashtagging their hash browns.

All in all, Dot Complicated makes for a fun read, and hopefully will help inject a more lighthearted yet practical perspective to help you curb your online misadventures. However, Gen Y haters, be warned: the book is obviously in favour of a Millennial's world view. It would not hurt for you to pick up this book, though, as you may find yourself gaining some interesting insights in the end.

After all, technology is in itself a neutral tool, meant for both young and old. And, as Zuckerberg aptly puts it, "whether it creates order or chaos in your life depends on how you use it."


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