Top 10 Film Industry Stories of 2010: #9

People 'Like' The Social Network

By David Mumpower

January 27, 2011

All these guys unzip their flies for porn, porn, porn.

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In many ways, the story of The Social Network has only begun. Facebook recently overtook Google to become the most trafficked web site, a logical turn of events. After all, Google is at its heart a gateway while Facebook is a destination. Due to the clever incorporation of almost every time wasting idea possible, Facebook has become at least temporarily the first and last place many Internet users need to go during a given day. It is a clubhouse of sorts where friends across the world can hang out together and catch up on their daily lives, an online gathering place for everyone we know. What was revealed in 2010 is that this very place was created by one of the most socially awkward people in the world. Audiences were captivated by his story.

As the founder of this website, the aspect of Facebook that fascinates me is that it was created only six years ago, in February of 2004. I don’t know about you, but I get a lot more embarrassed about my professional accomplishments when I think about this story. An obnoxious college kid goes from needing to borrow a few hundred bucks from his only friend to start a website to being a billionaire in the time it takes for a sixth grader to graduate from high school. So, what have you done since 2004? Okay, for both of our sanity, I’ll leave the self-introspection out of the conversation.


When Aaron Sorkin announced a couple of years ago that he would be writing a movie about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, I don’t believe that even he realized just how much this story would tap into the zeitgeist. After all, Sorkin was self-described as intentionally Internet illiterate. To his credit, Sorkin took the time to create a (possibly recursive) Facebook group to evoke conversation from its users about why they are so obsessed with it. Simultaneously, Sorkin and scribe Ben Mezrich, author of Bringing Down the House (the basis for the movie 21), communicated with one another about their not-quite-joint project. Mezrich would write the book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. And while you probably agree with me that this is a too long title that is a bit too close in theme to Romeo and Ethel the Pirate in terms of desperately attempting to grab attention, the book jumped to the top of the bestseller list anyway. Meanwhile, Sorkin did what he always manages to do. He found the story within the story.

Universality is the key to great storytelling. No matter what you think of Zuckerberg as a person, as a guy who determines ever-changing privacy settings, or as a character in a movie, you should agree with me on this point. There is something all of us find relatable in Zuckerberg’s constant awkwardness. As a teenager, he oftentimes found himself on the outside looking in, wanting to join the cool club in order to get invited to the cool parties and hang out with all of the beautiful people. There isn’t a person among us who hasn’t felt that sense of isolation at some point in our lives. Sorkin’s ability to identify and draw attention to this is what separates the movie from Mezrich’s novel. It is also what has made The Social Network such a curiosity, albeit at the cost of infuriating Zuckerberg himself.

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