Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Looking at The Social Network

I saw The Social Network early last week. It is definitely worth seeing, both for the fast paced, intriguing plot line as well as for the deeper messages being conveyed. I won't ruin anything, but it's amazing to watch how utterly inept Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerburg is at connecting with real people. He is so consumed with being part of exclusive groups and being successful that he is unable to make and keep real friends.

There is so much in the film that should cause us all to reflect on the ways we engage in community today. With the world of Facebook and social media only growing stronger, we ought to be considering how to keep fostering face to face interactions with our friends, as opposed to merely scanning statuses and pictures with an occasional note or comment.

I like the way Brett McCracken said it in the conclusion of his recent review of the film. He basically gives a summary of why Facebook is so dominant:
In this new age, punk geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg come out on top because they’ve learned how to use technology to break down the previously impenetrable boundaries of class and power. They’ve learned how to take the aristocrat’s most prized possession–networking, exclusive connections–and make it an accessible, populist pastime for the masses. Facebook is a revolution because it harnesses the universal human longing to know and be known, while slowly eroding the old guard’s stratified systems of cultural hierarchy and power. Facebook is about leveling. Ironically, anyone can be a part of it, even while it feeds on our desire for exclusive membership and the performance/proclamation of unique identity. The paradox of this is why 600 million people are on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest billionaire.

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