Posts Tagged ‘social network’

On The Social Network

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Saw The Social Network and for some weird reason felt compelled to check out some of the founders’ own fb pages. Bizarre! On Eduardo Saverin’s homepage there was a discussion on the movie itself, which I dove into. Below is my comment.

How strange it all is. An excellent, if rather cavalier-with-the-facts movie about the creation of the one of the pillars of our wired world..along with Google, Wikipedia and YouTube. About Mr. Zuckerberg’s behavior, don’t you think that most real innovators and paradigm-changers in all areas of human endeavor aren’t the kind of person you want to have a relaxing beer with. Whether it’s their single-minded pursuit of their vision or a sublime egotism, or some combination of both, they tend to be less than kind to those around them. I think it just comes with the territory. A few other thoughts:
1) It’s a oddity of our present age that logical Wunderkinder like Zuckerberg are thrust into the limelight, made wealthy,expected to comment on social issues, etc. Their predecessors would have been scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, people not always known for being warm and cuddly. A stereotype, but a useful one! So technology lets genius geeks become more mainstream. A side note: from my reading of history the most terrifying and dangerous people are idealists with strong organizational and/or logical skills. They can imagine a utopia, or a hell, and actually build the thing.
2) Too many ironies and paradoxes to count in the gooey matrix that is the web, the movie, facebook and its founders and you and I. The architects of the dominant social hub of our time depicted as isolated and alienated. Mr. Saverin and Mr. Zuckerbergs’ own facebook pages are surreal. Mine has grainy pix and videos of my kid, my drunken friends’ party shots; theirs are–sleek, corporate, the complete antithesis of what I do believe the founder did wish to make. He is not able to participate in his own creation. It’s as if Henry Ford weren’t allowed to drive.
3) I must confess to some schadenfreude when these big systems gnaw on each other, even if it’s only for short-term or opportunistic reasons. The corporation that is facebook, like all business entities, is selling something; to help it do that it presents itself in a certain light and tries to prevent being protrayed in ways that are less than favorable. The movie industry, for its part, makes money by telling stories skillfully. If a plot line can be made more effective by altering inconvenient facts about living people, then that is what is usually done. For example, the contrast in the film between Zuckerberg’s masterful feel for what people, lots and lots of people, want, and his own miserable social skills. It’s enough to drive the film, and I bet it’s much closer to being wrong than right. Sorkin the screenwriter knew exactly what he had to do: make Zuckerberg out to be Howard Hughes. And that’s what he did. I feel sorry for you, Mr. Facebook. Nowhere to hide in your hall of mirrors.
4) You know what’s bad? Addiction. I appreciate these social and informational hubs, I really do. And sites like Wikipedia and Facebook have increased my freedom: they allow me to share and learn from others. In return, they just want to get paid. Fair enough. Perhaps the problem isn’t them; it’s us. We just don’t seem to be ready for all this connectivity and access to knowledge, especially as it’s filtered by the big players. The news portal I looked at tonight had a serious article about foreclosures and a salacious story about Kim Kardashian right below it. I for one would accept a bit less knowledge democracy in exchange for some identifiable standards of quality and relevance.
Sorry, went on for a bit, thanks if you plowed through it all.