In the new issue of GQ (not online), Devin Friedman travels to Silicon Valley to take the pulse of various recent M.I.T. grads who are busy determining our technological future and trying to get rich in the process. Apparently, Facebook has now grown so big and powerful that nominally rational people are saying outlandishly silly things to reporters, on the record, like this, from the inventor of a widget that lets you click on the name of whoever just sent you an email and see their entire social media profile up to and including what they had for dinner last night. Or something like that:
I ask him why one would want all that information about whoever happens to email you. “Lots of reasons,” he says. “Imagine you want to hire someone: I’ve had a number of e-mails from people saying, ‘It’s very interesting looking at the social lives of people who are applying for jobs.’ Because seeing someone’s recent tweets is actually more valuable than reading someone’s resume. So that’s the new economy. That’s the new world of personal interactions.
I’m not sure if this quite rises to the level of Joseph Kennedy’s stock-touting shoeshine boy or basic cable television shows about real estate speculation called “Flipping Out,” i.e. “There is a Real Estate Bubble! Right Now!” but it’s straight-up nonsense at the very least. Speaking as someone who regularly hires people in a competitive job market, I personally hope that other think tanks take this advice. Advanced degrees from top-notch programs, evidence of sustained hard work in pursuit of complex long-term goals–ignore all that! The important thing is whether your job candidates can be clever in less than 140 characters five to 10 times per day. That and their social life.
Zadie Smith’s recent New York Review of Books piece on the subject is worth your while.