Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Social Network Movie Review

Last night I saw the new movie “The Social Network”, which is about Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and how Facebook got started. WARNING: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this may spoil a few points! However, I will try not to spoil it too bad. I still highly recommend watching the movie! Apparently, with a 97% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it might be kind of hard to spoil!

What’s it like starting a small business and having it grow to over a billion-dollar valuation with over 500 million users within a few years? Well, apparently it’s pretty dramatic! I personally wasn’t aware of the major two lawsuits involved around Facebook. When I heard the movie was going to involve a lawsuit, I thought maybe it would be about personal privacy issues… not even close! Well, ok, maybe close, but in a completely different way. Is it just me or did both of these law suits not get very much press coverage? Or, maybe they happened before I joined Facebook, which was in 2006. To be fair to myself, I was living outside of the U.S. during 04 and 05, so maybe that’s when the lawsuits got press coverage. Maybe I will have to look it up on Wikipedia.

Facebook started out just like any other small business these days; with a few kids playing around on their computers. I like to think that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t as socially awkward as “The Social Network” portrays him. I think this is just Hollywood getting away with itself again. I thought Jesse Eisenberg played a pretty good Mark. Great casting job! But, if you are used to Jesse’s normal roles, this one is different and he doesn’t show much personality.

I had heard a while back that Sean Parker (founder of Napster) was involved somewhat in Facebook (or TheFacebook, as it was before Sean came along), but I had no idea he was THAT involved. However, it can’t be true that after already meeting up in Massachusetts, Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker just happened to be in houses right across the street from each other in Palo Alto. Don’t you think they would’ve stayed in contact and known about each other’s plans a little more?

Until the movie came out, I hadn’t really heard the Eduardo Saverin or Erica Albright stories. Although, it is cool to see that even Mark Zuckerberg uses Facebook to stalk just like everyone else! It seems like Eduardo was trying to help out with the business but naturally got carved out. I won’t say more than that but I though Andrew Garfield did an outstanding job! In fact, all around the acting in “The Social Network” was great!
I thought the movie would portray more of the history of Facebook and the actually business once it really became a business. But in the movie, once the business started growing, the movie came to a pretty abrupt stop. :( I wanted it to talk about the good old days of Facebook! Back before there were any applications or Farmville games. Back when poking people was the funniest thing to do and when everyone was related to each other by multiple, obscure ways! Do you remember that? When you added a new friend on Facebook and it would say “How do you know this person?” Then you would choose from about a hundred different options or make up one of your own? So you would look through people’s friends’ lists just to see the hilarious commentary people put there. Like, “We met on a road trip in 1999 and we also met in college and we have a child together and we are cousins!”

One other thing about old Facebook that is portrayed in the movie that I remember is that you had to be a part of a specific group to join and you could only see the other people in your group. It started out that you had to have a email address and then as Facebook expanded to other colleges, you had to have that college’s .edu email address to join that network. Somewhere along the way that was all lost. But, I think it was a smart move for a small business-start with a small “love group” and once you meet their expectation, grow out and expand. Also, the movie talked briefly how Facebook used the little-big horn tactic to capture Baylor University.

Anyway, I won’t spoil the “The Social Network” movie any more than I already have. I totally recommend seeing it and if you use Facebook-And I know you do because there are more people on Facebook than live in the United States-then it’s a must!!

(Image: Some rights reserved,  Franco Bouly.)

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