Yes, it’s true, I paid $10.50 on a good Denver Saturday night, on it’s second day of release, to sit in a movie theater and watch “The Social Network”, which I and I’m sure many others like to refer to as “The Facebook Movie”. Was it worth it? Eh – the movie wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t really boring, either, but I wouldn’t quite say it was “awesome” or anything. I guess you can’t expect too much from a movie specifically about the origins of the site everybody loves to hate on – “Facebook”.
Perhaps some techies would disagree, but I say the story line was not thrilling, climatic or incredibly interesting. My movie companion brought up the good point that there really aren’t any characters in the movie you feel affection or a genuine liking for. I will, however, say it was portrayed well and featured adept actors, including Justin Timberlake (I thought that looked like him!). The movie held my mind’s captivity for the full two hours, which is more than I can say about the guy sleeping in the chair next to me.
The film is directed by David Fincher, who directed “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and is currently working on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Through the talent of the main star Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network” re-caps the night the social networking site “Facebook” was born, which, it turns out, was an event that occurred after a few beers and a boy/girl conflict.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. The website that was produced that night was the beginning of what would become “Facebook”, but was actually a completely different concept – kind of like the tadpole that becomes a frog. Mark Zuckerberg, President, CEO and co-founder of “Facebook”, first created “Facemash”, a site that allowed his colleagues at Harvard to view pictures of enrolled females and vote on which they thought was better looking. The site gained quick popularity around campus and immediately following its initial launch “Fashmash” received so many visitors the campus’s server crashed.
The popularity and brilliancy behind “Facemash” gained Zuckerberg some attention and he was invited by colleagues to collaborate and write code for an idea they had for a Harvard social networking site. Basically what happened was, Zuckerberg used ideas the colleagues presented to him to change and expand his own site “Facemash”, which was soon re-named “The Facebook”.
“The Facebook” was introduced in February 2004 and started off solely on Harvard campus, but then spread to a few other Ivy League schools, and eventually to college campuses across the county. I personally remember joining “Facebook” in 2005 and it required a college e-mail address. I also personally remember when the website was “thefacebook.com” and that is still the site name I always type in to this day (it automatically re-directs you to facebook.com).
When “Facebook” reached Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA it gained special attention by a young entrepreneur named Sean Parker, co-founder of the free file-sharing service “Napster”. Parker sought out Zuckerberg, suggested he change the site from “The Facebook” to just “Facebook”, and also advised Zuckerberg to move to CA to expand the website, and ultimately business. Zuckerberg took Parker’s advice, moved to CA and then used some of Parker’s business networks to secure investors for the website.
The website boomed and grew more rapidly than anyone may have ever imagined. As current statistics point out, there are currently over 500 million users on “Facebook” that spend over a collective 700 billion minutes per month on the site. CEO, President and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, born May 14, 1984, is currently the youngest billionaire in the world.
The movie is sure to point out that Zuckerberg was not a very popular guy before, during or after the creation of the site. He is displayed as speaking condescendingly to and of females, he never once in the film made an attempt to “dress to impress” (in one scene he showed up to a business meeting in flannel pajama pants with an untied bathrobe flailing in the wind), and he appears to be out of tune with mainstream society, though that does not seem very uncharacteristic to me of someone with his intelligence.
Granted, the timeline of the film represents a rough patch in Zuckerberg’s life – a time when he was ultimately friendless, going through a lawsuit over the website, and had to settle to pay many millions of dollars. Maybe now he’s doing better – sailing in yachts with hot b*tches and posting status updates from remote islands around the world. Maybe not. Who knows? But we do know one thing – he most likely just got even richer than he was because “The Social Network” topped box office sales, earning somewhere around $23 million the weekend it was released (including my $10.50).
So, what do I get out of having seen “The Social Network”? Well, for one thing, a blog, and I guess maybe a conversation piece. I would not suggest running out to the theater to catch this flick on the big screen, but I reckon it is a slightly engaging story about how another asshole made a shit ton of money.