Archive for the ‘The Social Network’ Category


The Social (ly Inept) Network

August 23, 2011

********Original blog dated October 19 2010*********

The Social Network earned 22 million dollars in it’s opening weekend and it comes to no surprise considering Facebook to date has 750 million “followers”, err..users and is unquestionably the behemoth of the major social networking sites.  With David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) at the helm as the director and Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men) as writer, movie goers are sure to see a  powerful drama about about corruption, connivery (yes, I made that a word) and the allure of sex and fame.  Who doesn’t want to see that?  The cool factor however comes from placing these ills onto the shoulders of your average socially awkward Harvard techie who can’t seem to land the girl and thus whines his way to becoming the world’s youngest billionaire.  Great film- well written and directed.  Facebook is the bees knees of youth-driven movements in my generation and you will find no qualms about this in my book…

…But here’s my beef.  Everyone knows that Facebook (and even MySpace in its heyday) is like crack.  You log on and like a flasher in his skivvies and a trench coat, you’re voyeuring your way into the lives of coworkers, friends, acquaintances, and people that you knew once upon a time.  They like the same songs you do.  Awesome.  They have the same political ideals.  Who knew?!?  Maybe they even ate the same brand of peanut butter that you did whilst watching a rerun of “Good Times” on Saturday morning.  DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!!  But so what?   As one of the hundred millions of cracked-out users I left the theater that brisk night in October feeling a tad uneasy.  It was hard to swallow being an avid user of a company built on lies and backstabbing as the film suggests but alas, I got over it and chalked it up to dramatic interpretation of Hollywood.  Much of my cognitive dissonance however was raised as a reaction to how social networking sites continue to make people cold, impersonal, and dumbed down.

Case in point.  2 months ago at a concert I ran into a girl I went to high school with.  We were pretty tight back in those days.  I hadn’t seen her in approximately 11 months since our high school reunion and 10 years prior to that.  Over time we kept in touch through Myspace and Facebook, commenting regularly on each others’ posts.  During the concert we instantly recognized one another and greeted with the obligatory hug and “heeeey girl”-  you know, that statement that asks “what’s been going on with you over the years”.  After less than 20 seconds (no, seriously.  you read that right)  of chit chat, my “friend” made a beeline to go off in another direction with her friends and stated “I’ll see you on Facebook”.  What the hell?  Point number two.  Last week I ran into a Facebook “friend” at Jamba Juice and instantly recognized her.  This friend and I knew each other in high school and were counselors at the same summer camp for 5 years.  In high school I was invited over to her house and broke bread with her family.  I approached her and she didn’t recognize who I was.  Ok sure, I’m 50 pounds lighter since high school and  and maybe she didn’t recongnize me but just a few weeks prior to our run-in I made a comment on and “liked” one of her posts on Facebook.  Awkward much?

The problem with social networking sites is that they create pseudo friendships and emotional bonds to people that you might not otherwise keep in touch with in person.  Seriously.  Who can keep up with the lives of the average 130 friends that each user reportedly has?  What’s even scarier is that according to recent Facebook statistics  “people  spend 700 billion minutes a month” on the site.  Much like texting, social networking has crossed cultural divides and woven its way into the global fabric of this new technological wave- you know, the one that has Betty White making a reference to “The Twitter” in You Again.  It’s why people text at the dinner table.  It’s why people speak in shorthand.  Speak!!!!  Thanks, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg!  Because of you and your nerdy ilk, not only have “sexting”, “lol”, and “OMG” officially become words in the Oxford Dictionary but my supervisor is trying to friend me on Facebook.  Tres uncouth!

Now, I ain’t saying that I’m not one of those flashers in her skivvies when it comes to Facebook.  Now off to the site to shamelessly promote this post….