Facebook is a ‘beloved interface with reality’ for its users and the previous generation doesn’t get that, Zadie Smith has written
In the early 90s, before Google (founded 1998) and Facebook (2004), the Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland popularised a term that described the post-baby boom generation: Generation X. But kids today aren’t slackers, they’re geeks, and it’s clear that new terminology is needed for a new generation.
So it is that Zadie Smith, writing in the New York Review of Books, describes “2.0 people”. These are the children of the internet who came of age with the social web and to whom concepts such as “privacy” are just plain alien. But credit where credit’s due.
“You can’t help feel a little swell of pride in this 2.0 generation,” writes the novelist. “They’ve spent a decade being berated for not making the right sorts of paintings or novels or music or politics. Turns out the brightest 2.0 kids have been doing something else extraordinary. They’ve been making a world.”
Chief architect of this world could well be Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year old founder of Facebook and hero, or anti-hero, of a new movie, The Social Network. It’s this film, its qualities, but also its truthfulness to its subject, that Smith explores. The problem is that “this is a movie about 2.0 people made by 1.0 people (Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, 49 and 48 respectively)”.