Normally, before I have had my first cup of tea, I would have done five dailies, farmed justice points and collected 3 stacks of ore from Northerend. How could I even contemplate starting that sentence with the word “normally”?
The Social Network is not a movie – it is a visual book. Save your money instead – there is nothing in the movie that you cannot read about. Strangely enough, a few days ago I had randomly rented a movie through iTunes – The Squid and the Whale in which Jesse Eisenberg played a teenager so affected by his father’s legacy as an academic, that he resorted to cheating in order to impress him only to find that his father was, in fact, living a total lie himself. Here he is again, 5 years later playing a similar role yet with a lot of new moral, ethical and personal questions being raised. This is a movie not about Facebook, but about one blog entry published on the internet in a moment of rejection and anger, fuelled by copious amount of beer. A moment that was to change that one person’s life for ever. Everything else is built around it.
Mark Zuckerberg epitomised contemporary youth – seeking acceptance, wanting to ‘belong’ and angered by his exclusion from all the things that were ‘normal’. Facebook was not the idea of a couple of jocks who already had that social acceptance – it was the result of a leader who translated the idea into his own language to create something so big that it is forever embedded into this historical culture.
It’s the living behind the screen that draws me most to the events in this story rather than the success of Facebook. Rejected by his girlfriend, Mark angrily posts defamatory remarks about her and her family in his blog. This is instantly proceeded by the setting up of a website to compare the female students at Harvard in a voting system that brings down the entire network. Brilliant! Brilliant because he was able to do it with such ease and brilliant because he knew that the site would instantly get the attention of his fellow students. Disrespecting others from the comfort of the screen is common place. On this occasion, the rejection by his girlfriend face to face was the catalyst to what has turned out to be one of the most successful innovations of this century. That was a key factor in this story.
The legacy of instantaneous posts is growing – the effect on careers and personal lives often takes centre stage in the media. Mark humiliates his ex-girlfriend on the internet and the emphasis that he did it ‘on the internet’ was far more powerful than if he had done it in ‘public’. To Mark, the humiliation of the private rejection was retaliated in force by his blog. That was Mark’s justice.
So before I have even finished that cup of tea, I have read 50 tweets, checked who is drinking a cup of tea on Facebook, and ploughed my way through 20 offers to turn me into a millionaire. Tempting, then I could but that new airbook. Why does this all feel so ‘normal’.