Monday, October 04, 2010

The Social Network

Thursday I got a phone call from the Most Awesome Person I Know. At first I thought this was odd, because usually she just texts unless something is wrong. Turns out nothing was wrong. She was just inviting me along to a free movie on Saturday.

A little background: the Most Awesome Person I Know has recently taken on the role of "Mystery Shopper." She's one of those people who goes around to assigned stores, makes particular purchases, writes reports about her experiences, and then gets paid for doing it. Her assignment for Saturday was to go and see The Social Network while keeping an accurate count of how many people were in the theater with her. The deal was that she was only required to view the movie once, but she had to get a head count for four consecutive showings.

So I was invited to tag along on one of these viewings, and I'm glad that I was. I had seen a few trailers for the movie and was interested in seeing it. After all, I think anyone who has a Facebook account would be at least somewhat interested in seeing the origin story. Unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware that Facebook has completely revolutionized the way that people keep in touch and make friends on a day-to-day basis.

The story follows Mark Zuckerburg from his less-than-humble beginnings as a Harvard undergrad who had just been dumped by his Boston University girlfriend. In a slightly drunken rage, he begins to rant and ramble about her, and women in general, on his blog. During a night of hacking and programming, he creates a website dubbed Facemash, on which people could compare girls from the various Harvard dorm face books, determining who was more attractive. Of course it's something that gets him into trouble.

Enter the Winklevoss twins. They read the article in the school paper about Zuckerburg's exploits and decide that he's the kind of brilliant mind they need to program the website that they've come up with. Their idea is to build a social network, similar to MySpace, but exclusive to Harvard students. Zuckerburg tells them that he's in, but instead goes to his best friend Eduardo, to pitch an idea that stands on the shoulders of the Winklevoss' idea. This is the idea that would lead him to The Facebook.

The rest of the film explores what happens when an idea is turned into reality and becomes so enormous that it cannot be controlled. It's a story of a rise to power, a few acts of betrayal, and some pretty intense scheming. Zuckerburg is portrayed as a fairly unlikable kind of guy. And he pretty much screws over his best friend. But I have to wonder, is that how it all really went down in real life?

Obviously there were lawsuits for control of Facebook and for whose idea it really was. But was it all really as cut and dry as Zuckerburg stealing and improving upon one idea and then selling out his best friend who had originally financed the genesis of the website that would go on to change the world? And what does the real Mark Zuckerburg have to say about the movie? Or the book upon which the movie is based? How much of his life was fictionalized for the purposes of telling a story?

Whatever the case may be, I enjoyed the movie. It was very entertaining. And it was an interesting lesson in pseudo-history. I told the Most Awesome Person I Know that if she ever had to do any more of these movie assignments and needs someone to go along with, I'm more than willing to volunteer. I'll go see anything for free, even if the trailer looks like the movie will be a bomb. Also, if she is ever tasked with testing the latest roller coasters at Kings Dominion, I'll take one for the team.


  1. Possibly Carowinds but nothing for Kings Dominion at the moment.


  2. Just say the word. I'm there.