Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Social Network: 500 Million Friends & Counting

Did you know that one out of every 14 people in the world is on Facebook?  If you haven't heard about the social networking website, hope the rock that you're under is keeping you warm at night.  With more than 500 million active users worldwide, Facebook is one of the biggest communication tools commonly used today.  It unites more than 200 countries using 70 languages.  After all,  how in the world did we stalk our exes, remember everyone's birthdays or play Farmville before Facebook?  And just what were we doing with all of our time before this??

Better than a Friend Request!
When we had the chance to snag tickets to an advanced screening of The Social Network we jumped.  With cell phones in paper bags, purses checked and security wands searching for something, we were able to get a seat three rows from the front.  Before the film started, promoters threw out mini movie posters and Social Network t-shirts.  Sadly, we weren't able to snag any flying prizes.

The Social Network is the unauthorized biography of Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenber), the creator of Facebook, and the rise of the website.  Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires, the script portrays Zuckerberg as almost a Shakespearean protagonist character, blending fact and drama to illustrate this mesmerizing story.  In a recent interview with Oprah last week, the world's youngest self-made billionaire admitted that his life really wasn't that dramatic.

Andrew Garfield play Zuckerberg's FB partner/CFO Eduardo Saverin while Justin Timberlake shines as Napster creator Sean Parker.  But would you believe that it was actually a girl that was the catalyst for the creation of Facebook?  After facing rejection, Zuckerberg manages to crash the Harvard server with a website ranking the female student population as hot-or-not.  Zuckerman garners attention from some super BMOC for the help of another website, Harvard Connection, but that just doesn't seem to pan out.  (FYI:  The Winklevoss twins are played by two unrelated actors.)  Great editing flashes the movie back and forward between events that led up to Facebook's creation and the legal battles that ensued afterwards.  The question of exactly how Facebook came to be is posed, who the idea 'belongs' to and just what is at stake.

Two thumbs up!
This movie is really a sign of the times.  Facebook was invented in February 2004 and nearly everyone we know has an account.  It's amazing that a single website has been able to reconnect long lost friends, class mates, sorority sisters and family members.  But it's a double edge sword as well.  Information on Facebook has torn apart families, destroyed reputations, ruined relationships, prompted changes in legislation and even been responsible for heinous crimes.  Was it Spiderman that said "with great power comes great responsibility"?  Turns out Andrew Garfield is going to play him in Spiderman 4.  Small world.

The cool kids might be asking is The Social Network just going to be a movie for nerds?  We're thinking if one out of 14 people has a FB account, that "cool" kid is probably still on MySpace.

Here's the trailer for The Social Network: