And So The Epic Went



Watching The Social Network while keeping in mind that essentially every character whom lines and screen time were given to is a person presently walking this Earth as I am, was peculiar. That knowledge slipped from my cerebellum at times, and I would videe the picture momentarily as a work of fiction. As such, it was, for the most part, compellingly engaging, and dramatically paced. When the on-screen personas held no responsibilities to real people, I had no qualms with them. When, though, the question of faithful depiction is considered, concerns must be raised.

Mark Zuckerberg himself, for example, I took an initial liking too. Not for charisma, charm, or even astounding intellect, but simply through his passion. Writing computer code while drunk, and blogging about it simultaneously, is admirable in my opinion. Such immense enjoyment of any act, I always appreciate. Who would deny a creator their elements? However, in the later acts of the film, his character seems to take a drastic turn. He....betrays, in a specific understanding, close friends. He undertakes at very least unsavoury business maneuvers to emerge ahead of potential competitors. He seems cold, unfeeling, unlamenting. I know not this man, he may very well be like that. However, I feel it is likely that important idiosyncrasies and subtle nuances of Zuckerberg's personality must have been foregone for the purpose of making an understandable plot fit into the allotted time. Overall, I don't think the depiction of Zuckerberg was positive or negative, simply stuttered, faintly fragmented.

As to the effects the film will have on the Internet entity known as Facebook, I'm sure they'll be positive. Even if the film had been distinctly critical of every person involved in the site's creation, it still depicts the secret societies of exclusive universities as integral to the concept. Access is privileged. That is the point, more than the 'creeping' as it has been colloquially termed. More than the perpetual connectivity. More than the online identity meticulously tailored to represent you favourably (which of course is immediately corrupted by a tag in a picture of you ****** your ****** with ****** all over your ****). Above all that, access is privileged. Others entreat you to befriend them, and the choice is yours to accept or deny. You either accept them into the fold or cast them aside contemptibly. I feel that is the selling point, and that won't change.

Zuckerberg's responses to the film, as observed on The PR Post, are considerably tangential. He commented on Oprah that the movie dramatized the creation of Facebook rather liberally, and was essentially a work of fiction. "The last six years have been a lot of coding and focus and hard work, but maybe it would be fun to remember it as partying and all this crazy drama," he said. However, on the day of the film's release, Zuckerberg announced, again on Oprah, the establishment of his foundation, Startup: Education, and its gift of $100 million to the Newark school system. Zuckerberg unwisely claimed that the timing of this announcement and the film's release was coincidental. Even if he hadn't mentioned the film's release at all, I'd face that notion skeptically.

Zuckerberg also effectively illustrated the scope of The Social Network vs. that of the website Facebook. "We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much." This is undeniably true. Facebook has more users now than will likely ever see The Social Network. And it is unlikely any users will be turned off the site due solely to the film. This comment rings true, but it wasn't completely necessary. I'm certain the public en masse already understood this. The point of contention was not that the film would portray the site unfairly to those who hadn't ever heard of it.

In the same position as Zuckerberg, I'd have acted similarly, with a few key alterations. I would have combined the film's launch with the launch of Startup: Education, and found a way to include a portion of the film's revenue in the donation to the Newark school system. I would have complimented the filmmakers in their "engaging, imaginative dramatization" (would-be quote) of what was in reality a long, arduous, and uninteresting process. I would have purchased a ticket for the premier, shown great appreciation for the interest in the site. I would have been cordial, genial, and would have genuinely applauded their artistic efforts.
The risk incited by the film, if in fact there is any, is to the public's opinion of the site's creators. People may leave The Social Network with disdain directed towards Mark Zuckerberg. They walk out of the theatre denouncing the business doings of Sean Parker. The film doesn't place the site in jeopardy, only, potentially, its creators. But, it's not as if they'd ever know. The site's revenue isn't generated by users, they've nothing worry about.

Final word, definitely check it out. It's an interesting watch, great plot layout, some really clever dialogue, and one specific shot I'm certain I won't soon forget.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since seeing the movie I've often wondered what it would be like if it wasn't dramatized at all.

Nice "would be quote" by the way. You should go into PR haha

TerrynS said...

I felt the same way about Zuckerberg at first too. Succesful drunken coding is admirable! In the end though I didn't hate him, I thought he was a self-centered asshole.

Hayley Brigg said...

I agree with you about the cinematics. Definitley wasn't expecting that kind of classy filmmaking in a movie about Facebook.

Adam said...

I agree that it's kinda weird watching a movie about such recent history.

littlebluerobot said...

Your intelligence is intimidating, Chuka. Amazing post.

Richard Baschak said...

Ditto of Albertine's comment. Thanks for the articulate and provoking post Chuka.

Kenton Larsen said...

Good post! Just wait until the Twitter movie comes out...

Post a Comment