Tag Archives: Mark Zuckerberg

Baby You’re a Rich Man {David Fincher’s The Social Network}

How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be?
And have you travelled very far?
Far as the eye can see.
How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
How often have you been there?
Often enough to know.
What did you see, when you were there?
Nothing that doesn’t show.
Baby you’re a rich man,
Baby you’re a rich man,
Baby you’re a rich man too.
You keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo.
What a thing to do.

This classic ‘67 song by the Beatles plays over the last shots and rolls up for the final credits of The Social Network (2010). Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg dreamily, desperately, maybe even stalkishly ‘refreshes’ his browser over and over again, waiting for his friend request to be accepted by a friendly lawyer lady. And why not I guess after a couple of gruelling court settlements. And I gauge that the Facebook stalker amongst most of us began with Zuckerberg himself.

Well, this unhealthy stalkish behaviour has made him a rich man, portion of which he also proposes to donate off late. Meanwhile, David Fincher’s The Social Network presents to us the figure of the founder of this network that governs our lives today in some way or the other as a super intelligent nerd in a sweatshirt and slippers but mean and unkind towards women, and sometimes, to borrow Bibek’s phrase –  an annoying turd. The film wants to tell us that some big ideas in networking happen because of a broken heart. It’s not just Zuckerberg, who gets the idea of Facebook after he is dumped by a girl, but also Sean Parker, the guy behind Napster and played by Justin Timberlake. I am wondering if it’s a male fantasy to conquer the business world after failing to ‘conquer’ a woman’s heart. Or vice versa – having successfully conquered the business world makes it easier to get attractive women by your side. Well, that is all that this film is about. And Ivy League snobbery dominates the discourse. (Not to miss a girl’s Stanford labelled undies!)

I remember logging onto Napster as a teenager. I downloaded and uploaded a lot of music there and I was sad when it was no more. It felt great to be just sharing music with a lot of people. And I remember the first time I used Orkut and Facebook. They were mostly a means to stay connected with friends while at work. To kill boredom at work. To see profiles of people you were curious about, or had a crush on. This social network brought social life to the web. But after watching the film I feel like a number, a commodity – that is saleable. I’m an account that can be marketed to. Just as we click ‘refresh’ on our news feed on the Facebook home page, the headquarters in San Fran refresh to see new hits, new members and more advertisers.

Nonetheless, The Social Network is a well-made watch (in a typical Hollywood classic-edit way) but for me it threw up many questions about how we look at our virtual lives on the internet, on Facebook. So much so, that things we do ordinarily in reality are dominated by how well they will be publicised on Facebook. Well, it’s made Zuckerberg the Time person of the year for 2010. What has it made us? A Facebook Profile.

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