A 360-degree perspective on the dot that is the dot-com era is hard to come by—the digital is terrifically vast. Which may explain why books aiming to be how-to guides for the digital age inspire advice of religious proportions: recall the Ten Commands For A Digital Age that Douglass Rushkoff inscribed in his 2010 book Program or Be Programmed. And now Randi Zuckerberg in Dot Complicated, a memoir-esque title on “tech-life balance,” offers up guidelines such as, “Repost unto others as you would have them repost unto you.”
Opiate of the masses aside, Randi’s view of the wired media space is panoramic. Having been Facebook’s first marketing lead, now CEO of the Zuckerberg Media production company and all the while coming of age, establishing a career, and having a family in the dot-com era, she’s a consummate professional shaping and parenting the future of tech. And, she’s giving us a 360-degree tour. Dot Complicated has something for readers at every level of social media savvy.
For those newly enchanted or simply curious, Randi recommends waiting no longer: “If you haven’t yet learned to tweet, blog, or upload photos to Instagram on your own, get on that.”
Dot Complicated isn’t a user’s guide to any platform, but once you’ve read it, you’ll be reassured to know that common sense is virtually all that’s necessary to participate effectively in social media communities.
If you prefer looking at the big picture of digital media, Randi’s ideas about the potential for media content to extend well beyond the medium will be inspiring. She gives us a glimpse of her vision for creating live social TV events that are not defined by any platform. And, social media experts will enjoy a behind the scenes look at silicon valley, the beginnings of Facebook and plenty of diverting celebrity encounters.
Randi’s advice for living well in a digital world centers on the social and the human behind all things tech, addressing etiquette and lifestyle issues, as well as spotlighting the social good that can come of modern media. Given the space Randi devotes to family and relationships topics in Dot Complicated, it’s no surprise that this project, which began as an online lifestyle community and blog, has also led to the children’s book Dot.
But perhaps the most valuable contribution Dot Complicated makes is an analysis of the “public, private, personal” boundaries that social media has rendered delightfully permeable. Randi defines each of these concepts as they exist in contemporary culture and offers useful guidance for navigating a world where “today, everyone is a broadcaster as well as a receiver.”
Randi seems to be every bit a brainchild of the Internet age, and as a result says she is “a passionate believer in the power of authentic identity….We are both the artists and the curators of our online one-person shows. Our digital selves are quickly becoming reflections of our actual selves.”
In Dot Complicated, she describes how to find tech-life balance as much as she models for the reader what it looks like to share faithfully and exercise discretion. The text is an old media template for a life well lived in the new media landscape. In the telling of Dot Complicated, Randi Zuckerberg demonstrates the very authenticity that she advises us to embrace.
Deanna Utroske is the Social Media Brand Director for New York Women in Communications and writes on women’s career issues, lifestyle topics and more. Follow her on Twitter @DeannaUtroske.