Anti-Social Media -a Psychologist's Review of the Movie Social Network
Review of the Movie Social Network
Social Network is a movie about Mark Zuckerberg, (the founder of Facebook), and the story of how he became the world's youngest billionaire. The movie chronicles the success of this young Harvard geek as he constructs an online empire at the comparable expense of his one friend, and all of his foes alike.
The movie will disappoint you if you are used to enjoying action movies with chase scenes, or the usual psychological thrillers, where interpersonal tension is resolved in the end so you feel relief or happiness for the protagonist. These are not feelings this movie will engender.
Instead, the movie aptly describes how a bright young geek can make his first billion dollars by betraying his only friend and treating him even worse than he treated his adversaries. I think it is poignantly ironic that the most viewed social media site in the world, Facebook, is, if the movie is to be believed, the brainchild of someone with little concern for or compassion for the person he considers his only friend. I am not able to diagnose the real Mark Zuckerberg, as I have never met him, but the one in the movie, brilliantly played by Jesse Eisenberg, appears to have a personality that combines antisocial, narcisisstic, and possibly schizoid features.
Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker
Another central character of the film, Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) is an even more compelling depiction of an antisocial personality. Sean Parker founded and then bankrupted Napster, the most famous online peer-to-peer music sharing site.
If the movie's portrayal of these two characters is anything like the real people they depict, it would mean that the brave new world of social media that has taken over our culture comes, at least in these cases, from the most dysfunctional parents one could imagine. It makes me want to rethink my own facebook account. However I don't feel callous enough to cut off all my friends, like Zuckerberg could easily do, if the movie is to be believed.
The movie Social Network is worth seeing, but more as a character study. The script keeps it as interesting as possible, and acting by Eisenberg, and and Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Severin, the cofounder, is excellent, and likely to contribute to the success of the movie. I found Timberlake a little over the top, but that may just be typecasting.
Facebook and Privacy
Interestingly, FACEBOOK is somewhat notorious about not keeping your information private. Despite repeated assurances that they are improving this, it remains a problem. The movie depicts Zuckerberg's disdain for privacy in his initial shenanigans at Harvard. Just before he began FACEBOOK, he took private information and pictures from various sororities and such, and then posted them without permission, on the web. If this is any indication of their true philosophy, we need to be more careful with what we put on our Facebook accounts.