Friday, November 12, 2010

"The Social Network" or how to get millions of other people to be friends online while you lose your own best friend and real relationships

Watched the movie "The Social Network" last night. First things first -- I'M NOT ON FACEBOOK. It's a badge I wear with a certain amount of pride and conceit, yes.

It was a movie that took me by the collar, gave me one hard hit below my chin as it opened, and had my rapt edge-of-seat attention the whole way. For starters, it's great movie making that did not involve action/sci-fi/computer graphics/animation.

Ok so enough has been written about how it's the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, how it's based on the non-fiction book "The Accidental Billionaires", how the whole thing is so much fiction and so little fact. "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies" says the film's tagline and it just about sums up the essence of the film stupendously.

I'm looking at it as the Facebook movie. I've always resisted being on Facebook. I've refused to be Facebooked as many times as I've refused to eat okra/ladies finger. That's a LOT number of times.
I'm sick of all my friends who ask me, as if it were so inevitable that I, like everyone else, should be on Facebook. I don't want to, thank you.

 I don't want my life to be one big open book. I like to live secretively. As much as I can, though I am a blabbermouth. But blabbering in office when five are listening is hopefully, very different from blabbering to 500 on Facebook.
I was once on Orkut. And it skewed my life so bad. I got off it and swore I'll never be on anything like that again. I was ADDICTED. In office, I would come running in every morning to check what "scraps" had come my way. In office I would have barely logged out from it to do some work when I would sign in again -- just to see if anyone had said anything inane to me. I didn't have an Internet connection at home. On my off days, I would go to a cybercafe to check my Orkut profile....jeez, I'm glad I'm past those days of "want to be friends" requests from wierdos.

And yet I see myself all over the office  all over again -- in the form of the younger lot that is now on Facebook, and is constantly on it at the workplace. Yes, sometimes I do feel left out. I regularly ask the best friend (a college classmate who's been "friends" in real life for over 11 years now) when I chat with her on the phone once a week -- "So what's up on Facebook? Anyone else in the batch had babies?"

I have asked colleagues to login to their account to show me pictures of other colleagues at wild parties -- I have had my share of voyeurism.  But I'd hate to think what would happen to me if I had my own Facebook. My life would have been messier than it already is. I even read a piece in The Guardian on a guy who was contemplating "Facebook Suicide" -- a desire to kill his account on Facebook. Wish I could find it and link with it here...

Anyways, I went to the movie, because I know what the phenomenon of Facebook is about, to a certain extent, from what I've heard/read up on/seen. I wanted to see the face behind Facebook -- the guys who created it all. The debate of how authentic the facts are may be being thrashed out all the time, but it's a story well-told.

It's about a young guy's wanting to belong when feeling left out and rejected, of grabbing attention with his code-building skills, of the brilliance of wanting to connect young people seamlessly on the Internet (I don't think Zuckerberg really expected everyone's dads and moms to be on Facebook to keep track of their kids notoriety!). It's about his Eureka moments when he suddenly gets an idea for one more distinctive feature for Facebook -- the status message! It's about a student's vulnerability in the big bad world of money, of prioritising friends, of letting go of them, of deceit, of ambition, of wanting to make it big.

The lawsuits that followed the founder of Facebook form the crux of the film, from where the story spreads out its tentacles. I don't want to tell the story here, because, whet the hell, you'll find the synopsis on the Internet and perhaps Facebook! The whole point is to see the film to get an idea of went on in the lives of these guys, what they created as against their own lonely quiet code-engulfed lives. I loved the end -- it's such a picture of loneliness, isolation and desolation of a guy who helped a million people become friends.

The film is young, fact, racy, has you laughing so very often, and listening in with a knowing look. Facebookers will probably enjoy it a lot more than I did. But at the end of all the suing, all the money, all the success and all the disaster, you definitely are left feeling for Zuckerberg.


Aparna said...

sounds as interesting as i thought it would be. going to see it this weekend with husband and a longtime school friend, who are also facebook friends :)

Garima said...

WHAT!@!!@! You are not on facebook ;-)

I got on it a while ago.. and now am addicted!