Like most of the people who work in social media, I went to an early showing of The Social Network, an Aaron Sorkin film about the founding of Facebook. Dave and I were so excited to go, in fact, we took our entire staff to an outing. As huge fans of both Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, we anticipated some conflicted feelings about the film. I actually enjoyed the film quite a bit—it was very “big picture Hollywood”, and well acted, even if I didn’t agree with the interpretation of what happened or how. But what I was really surprised about was some of what I saw afterward, particularly from the uber-successful Mr. Aaron Sorkin.
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Here’s a clip of the very prestigious Mr. Sorkin speaking on my favorite program, The Colbert Report. Mr. Sorkin does not have a Facebook account, and, in what I find to be both interesting and jaw-droppingly ironic, feels that “socializing on the internet is to socializing as reality television is to reality”. In other words, it’s simply not real.
Mr. Sorkin, you just made an undoubtedly award winning film about a network that has transformed the way people connect to one another– and your evaluation of that transformation is that it’s all people bullshitting each other? You’re a Hollywood guy, living in the LAND of all things produced, creating films from great storytellers, who are telling docudramas that are not real.
I expected to feel that the film was flawed in its interpretation of the funding of Facebook, and the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg as a monster. Instead, I found myself thinking the filmmaker was flawed because of his lack of understanding of the transformational nature of the creation on which his film was based. Social media is more than just connecting with people to let them know you’re “having a cupcake”. Social media has saved lives, influenced election outcomes, and has given everyone in the world the potential to be an overnight sensation, through the use of a flipcam and some smart thinking. It’s also destroyed lives.
The film The Social Network is a fabulous film that dramatizes a business transaction. But if you’re looking to see a movie about Facebook, one of the most transformative inventions of our time, look elsewhere. And will someone please let me know when Aaron Sorkin joins Facebook? I’ve got a thing or two to write on his wall