My husband and I watched The Social Network on the weekend. I’ve wanted to see it since it came out (in part because of Julianne Harvey’s glowing review). I found it interesting to learn more about the birth and growth of Facebook and amazing to consider how quickly Facebook has become a household word. This thing that takes up so much of our time and almost forms the bulk of communication now is less than a decade old.
I remember when I signed up for Facebook. It was about five years ago, because I sat in the corner of my first apartment—khaki green carpet under my chair, big sunny window on my left, bookshelves dominating the wall to my right. My best friend sent me the invite. I’d never heard of Facebook, but if she recommended it, then sure. When my husband asked me about it a few days later, I couldn’t even explain what Facebook was other than something my best friend had gotten me into.
The Social Network shows the birth of the idea, how Mark Zuckerberg saw its potential and pushed it into being. The script flashes back and forth between the lawsuits he faced in 2007 and the development of Facebook in 2003-2004. We see Mark’s computer prowess, which made me realize how little I know about what it takes to run a website. Mark also talks about Facebook’s “cool” factor, how he doesn’t want to spoil that with ads, and how Facebook must never go down (and while Blogger and other websites sometimes shut down for “server repairs” or other things, I’ve never seen Facebook do that).
Apparently screenwriter Aaron Sorkin told New York magazine, “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling … What is the big deal about accuracy purely for accuracy’s sake, and can we not have the true be the enemy of the good?” And upon winning a Golden Globe award in 2011, producer Scott Rudin thanked Facebook and Zuckerberg “for his willingness to allow us to use his life and work as a metaphor through which to tell a story about communication and the way we relate to each other.” (Wikipedia)
The Social Network is a story about friendships and communication. It was a thought-provoking movie. At bottom, I think Facebook’s amazing success points to our hunger for relationships—our desires to connect with other people, as is shown so poignantly in the last scene of the movie where Mark sits alone with his laptop, waiting for a response to a friend request. Yet Facebook also provides a false sense of connection in the way that we know what our friends are doing by their status updates rather than a real conversation.
Do you remember the day you joined Facebook? Do you think Facebook is a useful tool for connecting with friends or a way to waste time when you are bored?
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