Friday, October 8, 2010
Mark Zuckerberg Needs Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg is quite an interesting character. The youngest person to ever become a billionaire. He's smart, witty, but totally unaware of other people's feelings and emotions, and this is what we see in The Social Network. A young genius that simply wants to work and build on his creation, but at some point will have to deal with the problems he has created along the way.
Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard in the Fall of 2003, quickly shows off his computer programming ability when one night, after his girlfriend breaks up with him, he hacks into the Harvard network and creates a site that receives enough hits to crash the system. From this Mark soon gains notoriety from many of his fellow students and what Mark has wanted all along, popularity. Popularity, for Mark, is a driving force behind many of his actions.
Because of his expertise with programming, three students ask him to help them build a website for Harvard students to connect with one another. Months later the website Facebook is born with Mark and his best friend Eduardo as the creators. The site quickly becomes a success, spreading rapidly throughout college campuses and soon the entire world, but this success does not come easy as Mark is hit with two lawsuits one even being his best friend and cofounder Eduardo.
The major irony of the film is Mark Zuckerberg's ambition is to create a site that will help people connect with each other while Mark seems incapable of connecting to anyone himself. He is so focused on the task that his friends are thrown by the wayside. As brilliant of a human being as he is, many times he doesn't stop to think about the consequences of his actions. We see at the end of the film, the inventor of Facebook still having to worry over a friend request to his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he is not so different than us.
The Social Network feels like the 21st century. Information in the film is given at a fast-pace just like it is on an everyday basis in the world today. It has a great understanding of what is it like to live in a society where information, creativity, and popular culture are always right at our fingertips. Because it does this we easily feel as if we are a part of the film, but really, in many ways, we are.
Mark Zuckerberg is not simply the inventor of Facebook, he is an inventor of a new way of life, which is social media. Is he an ambitious jerk that pushed everyone close to him away? That is for each individual to answer. But without question Zuckerberg has changed the way we connect with people, and for that he deserves recognition.
As a story, The Social Network is about creation and invention, but as a film it is a work of history. The Social Network encapsulates the times we live in. It is a piece of art much like a time capsule, that when viewed many years from now, will give a picture of what life was like at the beginning of the 21st century.