Why I Enjoyed “The Social Network”

The Social Network poster

Had he paid to have The Social Network produced and marketed, Mark Zuckerberg could consider it a wise and fruitful investment.

In two hours, it altered my perception of a driven and greedy capitalist who stole a great idea while stiffing his best friend en route to billionaredom, and turned it into one of a smart, savvy businessman who trusted his instincts and leveraged his judgment about the inadequacy of his partners as hopeless dreamers, to create a behemoth social network… that has since touched and revolutionized the lives of hundreds of millions of people – in less than a decade!

And if that were all that the movie did, it would still be worth shooting. Except that it does a lot more.

So much more, that I consider “The Social Network” among one of the more enjoyable films I’ve watched this year.

Some favorite scenes.

FaceMash has just been coded, and the first few emails go out to friends. The hero’s dorm mates ask, “How many people are you going to tell?” and he replies:

“The really important question is: How many people will they tell?

That’s how Facebook grew, if you come to think about it. Friends telling friends, who in turn told their friends!

Another one.

They’re seated at a table, with lawyers of both sides trading barbs. The twins burst out, “You stole our idea!”

Deadpan, Jesse Eisenberg who plays the uber-rich plaintiff quips:

“If Facebook was your idea, you’d have built Facebook.”

The final scene is poignant, too. It has the battle-weary CEO endlessly refreshing his Facebook page, seeking confirmation of a ‘friend’ request he sends his ex-girlfriend.

And in that subtle way, the director makes another point… no matter how much money you have, in the end we all crave recognition and affection from THAT special person. Without it, the rest doesn’t seem to matter all that much.

There were portions of the movie that were special to me in a more personal sense.

Watching the role of the maniacally focused young Zuckerberg brought back to mind my own youth – as a teenager, preparing for my pre-medical exams. Where the nerd in the movie stays glued to his computer screen, churning out thousands of lines of code, I would have my nose stuck in my textbooks for as long as 16 hours in a day as I fought to beat out the ‘competition’ for 1,000 medical school seats.

The difference lies only in WHAT we focus on as youngsters. The similarity is in the raw ambition, fierce determination and vast dreams we had about our future.

Surely that part will resonate with you, and everyone who watches the movie.

And finally, “The Social Network” got me to dream again.

Big dreams. Bold dreams. Daring dreams.

Because the undertone throughout is this…

ANYTHING is possible.

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