New Film Reminds us that Facebook is THE “Social Network” (Oct. 4, 2010)

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

By this point, we all have become quite familiar with the notion of social media. In fact, if you are reading this blog post, then perhaps you are even more savvy than the average person. In only a few short years, major social media platforms have emerged as players in the realm of popular culture, business, and even politics. Yet experts (many of whom are self-proclaimed –  can there be an expert of such a new phenomenon?) still argue about whether or not social media is a fad. Or at least they argue about the viability of each individual platform. Before the comment section is blown up with criticism, let me qualify that statement by saying I am not a social media naysayer. If I were, a blog would not be the most appropriate place to voice my opinions.

Facebook Icon - Google Images.I think it is safe to say that if the world of social media was comprised of fast food chains, Facebook would be the McDonald’s (You know… the best!) Still, I have heard the argument over and over again that it is not wise to invest resources in a single platform like Facebook, because it will become outmoded soon enough (SeeMyspaceFriendster, etc.) However, a new film is doing its best to prove otherwise.

“The Social Network,” a film written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher (Benjamin Button, Fight Club, etc.), and starring an ensemble cast led by pop singer Justin Timberlake, (I know, sounds interesting already doesn’t it?) was just released by Columbia Pictures on October 1st. It is the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, and how the juggernaut of a concept came to be formed.

It is being billed as a blockbuster film with the tagline, “You don’t get to 500 Million Friends without making a few enemies.” Catchy? Yes. A little dramatic/cinematic? Maybe. I’m not going to give a review of the movie because I’m not qualified to do so. Here is the trailer – I’ll let you make your own judgement.

What I do want to point out here is the cultural significance illustrated by the film.

For all those who have questioned the potential staying-power of Facebook, I want to tell you that you still may be right. After all, no one can say for sure where we will be in 5 or 10 years from now. However, one thing is certain. Columbia Pictures never green-lit a $50 million movie about MySpace, or about Friendster, or about any of the other versions of social media that we have seen over the past decade.

There is something unique about Facebook, something that places it in a category all by itself. It has penetrated not only our social structure, but also our professional, political, and in many ways, personal structures as well. Facebook has become completely integrated with everyday life, and in my generation, relationships are only considered real if they are “Facebook official” (I’m only half-joking). We can argue how ridiculous this reality is for as long as we like, but it does not change the fact that it is a reality. What’s most exciting (or terrifying, depending on how you look at it) is that Facebook is increasing its traffic almost exponentially. In the week ending March 13th, 2010, Facebook had more visitors than Google for the first time. It has continued to evolve with the changing tastes and needs of consumers, managing to stay both relevant and dominant in a world of constant change. Facebook isn’t a brand of social media, Facebook IS social media. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

What do you think? Am I giving Facebook too much credit or is it really as powerful as it appears? Where do you think Facebook will be 5 years from now?

ORIGINAL POST: Oct. 4, 2010 on InsightIQ

 

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