9/30/2010 The Social Network

September 30, 2010 at 3:00 am 2 comments

When I saw my blog post falling this week I could not pass up the opportunity to discuss the dangerous combination of computer science, money, and the most popular social networking site.  On Friday, October 1st this will happen when The Social Network hits theatres.  Created by Aaron Sorkin (familiar to our parents as the creator of West Wing and to many college students by his role in Entourage), The Social Network tells the story of Facebook.  The story of Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard nerd rarely seen outside his dorm room, creating a website is now a Hollywood bread winner.  Disregarding the debates about the accuracy of the film, Zuckerberg’s true intentions for Facebook, and all other advertisement garbage it most importantly represents the changing face of computer sciences today.

“Moviemakers love hackers…fictional tech-heads always come in handy whenever the hero needs to pop open a locked door or drain a bank account”, explains author Scott Brown in a six paged spread on The Social Network in Wired magazine.  The media portrays any computer specialist as basically a magician.  This has positives and negatives.  In my first programming class at ISU we were able to create a program that sent a text message.  A user could type in a real phone number and a brief message that would be received by the intended recipient within a couple minutes.  I actually did feel like a magician when all my friends received weird messages from a creepy, unexplainable number.  But the media represents computer skills as something so foreign and complex it scares many away.  My guess is The Social Network will focus on the betrayal of friendships, lawsuits, and social chaos of Zuckerberg and limit the technical aspects as much as possible without hurting the plot.

Brown argues “computer guys have never had a this-is-our-moment movie”, and The Social Network is going to be it regardless of its accuracy.  Mark Zuckerberg is the “first tech nerd to be granted Hollywood celebrity” and many are questioning its impact on future students.  The movie version of Zuckerberg is “frankly, way cooler” than the actual man.  They surround him with parties, girls, and money but they are missing the point.  He created the most trafficked networking site ever to be created.  He is cool without the social norms.  A CEO of a $800 million company with 1,400 employees.  I was proud to show my roommates a simple program that was able to tell local movie times and Zuckerberg had changed the world.

Facebook is unique to our generation.  The Social Network represents this along with the close link between advancements in technology and moral guidelines.  Conflicts involving stealing code, hacking, and intellectual property theft did not apply in the past but are now current issues.  How these issues are portrayed in The Social Network will surely be critiqued.  The growing awareness of technology is obvious in mainstream society.  While the “handy-techie” stereotype still exists, the field is expanding in every direction including Hollywood.  This continues to surface new issues.

Don’t forget to take the quiz. Also, Justin Timberlake is playing Sean Parker the Napster cofounder and former Facebook president.  Interesting casting…wonder how this movie will be. Cheers!

Our Main Man: http://www.facebook.com/markzuckerberg?ref=ts

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Emily  |  October 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I saw this movie and I LOVED IT! I recently just changed my major from ITK to BIS and it made me start thinking about why I did change it but it was amazing to see how many hours programmers actually spend on coding and ITK 177 with Shirley White was the class that threw me for a loop and made me change my major but I must say that watching that movie made me love technology even more.

    Reply
  • 2. mgtetzl  |  October 5, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “threw you for a “loop”” —haha. I’ve also had doubts because it is difficult and I am only a IS minor! You could get a minor which would be a nice complement to a BIS degree.

    Reply

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