Facebook is the “Thriller” of social networking sites. Even the astronomical sales of Michael Jackson’s masterpiece pale in comparison to the membership numbers of the pop culture wanderlust that is Facebook. The social networking phenomenon has over 500 million users, making the site’s creator Mark Zuckerberg the world’s youngest billionaire.
Monday I saw the critically lauded and Oscar buzzed The Social Network. Guess what? It was just okay. The screen play was awesome and some of the performances were good money but my mind wasn’t blown. I did learn a lot about the creation of the biggest social networking site of all time though. The biggest lesson I learned was: The kid who created a worldwide network based on "friendship" never seemed to understand the word’s original definition.
The movie (based in part on depositions and lawsuits against Zuckerberg and Facebook), give the impression that frustration and isolation (He was painfully, socially awkward and had an obsessive need of acceptance) were at the root of the creation of Zuckerberg’s virtual Frankenstein and that betrayal and revenge (He alledgedly stole the idea from fellow students and decieved his best friend and the co-creator of FB out of the profits.) were at the root of its success. In the movie, Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, says that Facebook is valuable because it’s cool. The kid just wanted to be cool, which makes The Social Network, a kind of Revenge of the Nerds for the new millennium.
I no longer have a Facebook account after having one for about two years; I lost interest and ultimately, viewed most of the social networking sites as a form of false intimacy. These virtual communities have definitely redefined the way we interact with one another and I’m not sure if that is a good thing. When I tell folks that I don’t have a Facebook, they look at me incredulously like I have three eyes. Which makes me think, pretty soon, children will have Facebook accounts created at birth, it will be as necessary as having a social security card and birth certificate, and I’m kidding of course, but what if?
Are you a social networking fanatic? Do you think social networking sites affect communication skills?