A subjective sneak peek: The Social Network (Don’t read the spoiler parts if you are planning to watch it and don’t want to ruin it!)

23 October, 2010

I just watched the Social Network with some friends. I really enjoyed it, although I feel a little guilty as I was hoping to watch it with my friend Kai – Kai is/was a scholar + computer programmer + entrepreneur. He is creative and passionate, lived in Silicon Valley for a while where he made some great contacts, and is now in the midst of developing some really great ideas and applications that I believe in. He hopes to change the world. Any like-minded people, please feel free to get in touch through my email: Thank you.

So what IS the/a social network? (My thoughts on the production and plot)

I gather it is taking social experiences, digitizing it (whether through the form of status updates, comments, or photos) and moving it into a virtual experience.

What does this mean? In the bigger scheme of things, I simply see it as this is our generation… this is a new generation. The Social Network is partly the behind-the-scenes peek at the world’s present, biggest social networking site, but most of it – an inspirational story of entrepreneurship, pure spirit and something that came from $8000 dollars and a college dorm room. How humbling.

The brilliant yet socially inept Mark Zuckerberg is convincingly portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg (not to be confused with Michael Cera from Juno – yes yes, I was confused too, they look very alike). An average-looking college kid, his sharp ideas and self-assured ways already make for an interesting movie character and plot potential. Jilted and drunk, he blogs mean comments about his ex while creating (somewhat similar to, a platform to rate the attractiveness of girls that he goes to school with. So much male chauvinism in one setting!

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, two athletic, entrepreneurial-minded twins and fellow college students at Harvard, approach Zuckerberg with an idea following his success with (apparently, crashing the school server because of an unexpected influx of server traffic – and perhaps even – a less than capable automation or monitoring software which would/should have otherwise anticipated the outage before it occurred, is the student’s version of ‘success’? Never mind.). Zuckerberg first accepts the proposed collaborative project, but later ditches the agreement to refine and re-create his own platform – The Facebook. Anyway, did I mention that the Winklevoss brothers are rich and handsome? Right, moving on.

Ousted Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield) and also Zuckerberg’s best friend, demonstrates ridiculous patience towards him and his shenanigans throughout the entire movie. His character is trusting and encouraging, and they have several disagreements (most of which Saverin gives in to) until villain Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) stalks and slimes his way into the business and into the partnership that he did not deserve. The drama culminates in a tiring legal battle which flashes back and forth, with Zuckerberg’s best friend suing him for 600 million dollars.

Online social value translates into real-life social value, seen where Zuckerberg and Saverin enjoy ‘groupies’ in the form of sexy college girls, and where their success in inventing a viral online website platform morphs them into over-night rockstars (hence, the groupies…). Now, that’s powerful social media.

What makes Facebook so special, different or exceedingly better than Friendster or MySpace?

It was supposed to be its exclusivity, now diluted, yet highly valued for its strength in numbers (to date, there are approximately 500 million members around the world).

Mentioned in the movie, Facebook started off as a network for Harvard students to preferentially connect with other Harvard students (rather aristocratic…). Its exclusivity was key, although it later expanded to equally prestigious colleges such as Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford and so on, and inevitably to take over the rest of the world.

Is this a true story?

Well, it is seemingly based on a true story, and as with every tale told, only the characters involved can be sure of the veracity of the details. If you ask me, there are always two sides to a story… this movie chronicles the side most had not seen, the involved who were not heard.

Hollywood’s version of an expose – if you really want to stick a label on it. Take it with a pinch of salt.

Have you noticed? (Facebook features we love! Or hate to love.)

Facebook is constantly improving its features, and with its recent notable addition of ‘Photo Memories’, you just simply can’t run away from your past.

BBQ photos from last week, Halloween pictures from when you were 16… So long as you have uploaded a picture, it is indeed worth a thousand words.

However, did you know that there is an algorithm installed in the program codes that intuitively blocks any pictures related to an ‘ex’, so long as the (your) relationship has been officially terminated on Facebook?

Or so I have heard… And if so, how very thoughtful.

Step aside, IQ – this is all EQ (emotional intelligence). And that’s what i call SMART technology. Thanks for sparing us the agony!

To reiterate, I love Facebook and the way it has revolutionized lifestyle. Observing public behaviour and status updates on the Ego Page (Do u know that the programming codes actually name the ‘News Feed’ page an ‘Ego Page’? Because it is!), I feel like a monkey outside the cage watching other monkeys at the zoo. Our parents would never understand… they would only shake their heads and resign their interest in my social media interest with a sigh.

By the way and in addition, the addiction to Facebook is made even more intense by the evolving popularity of 3G/4G capable mobile phones, on-the-go web access, combined with iPhone/android apps. Deadly! Okay, I sidetracked for a moment. I get excited like that.

Right, back to the movie.

A Facebook Finale *Spoiler alert!*

The sad irony (almost sympathetic) and also the end point of the movie was when Mark Zuckerberg searches for his ex girlfriend Erica Albright on Facebook and ‘adds her as a friend‘. They had had several misunderstandings (Zuckerberg behaved like an asshole) and were not on good terms. Zuckerberg persistently refreshes the web page over and over again until the film cuts away – hoping she would accept his ‘friend request‘ and ultimately, the way I see it, trying to create a social experience that he cannot have in real life.

That’s it for now, I have to go check my Facebook account, upload some photos and write on someone’s Wall.


Love Blog Rating

FYI Rotten Tomatoes has a current audience rating of 94% in favour of this movie. Not bad!

I give it 8 out of 10, with the majority of its credit leaning on the fresh interest surrounding the social media platform, combined with the script’s witty dialogue.

Stars: 8/10


If you are not completely bored out of your mind yet and have another 5 minutes to kill, you can read my teaser that I wrote for this movie. God bless!