Friday, October 29, 2010

The Social Network Movie

 Earlier this week, I wen to see The Social Network movie. This is a movie I had really being looking forward to, but I must admit that I was disappointed by what I saw.
At one level it was interesting to learn the story behind the birth of such an influential web site as Facebook. Facebook has become such an important cultural phenomenon that it is amazing to reflect upon the fact that it was created very recently by a group of very young people who had very little prior experience of establishing a busines (or experience of life in general).
I assume that the fundamental facts behind the movie are accurate because none of the individuals portrayed would hesitate to sue the creators of the movie if they felt that the facts were incorrect. However, the medium allows quite a bit of latitude for how the facts can be portrayed. The movie was particularly hash in the way that Mark Zuckerberg was portrayed. I don't know Mark personally and so I can't say for certain that this was an unfair portrayal, but at the same time I find it hard to believe that a site could be as successful as Facebook it was managed by a person so lacking in social skills as Mark was portrayed in the movie.
I also think that the movie perpetuated a number of unhelpful stereotypes:
  • According to the movie Harvard students are obsessed with sex, drunk most of the time and spend very little time studying. I know students do like to party a lot, but it is also true that you don't get into and remain in a college like Harvard without having more than a passing interest in the subject you enrolled to study.
  • According to the movie, women have no interest in technology.  I never saw a female character writing code at any stage and it would seem from the movie that the only female employees in Facebook are receptionists. The only role women seemed to play in the story was as girlfriends to the main characters.

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