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October 12, 2010

The Social Network, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_social_network_facebook_and_mark_zuckerberg_20101012/

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Mark Zuckerberg

I went to see the new David Fincher movie “The Social Network” this past weekend.  It was brilliant.  Even if it were not based on a true story, it would still be brilliant.  It is a great film about compelling people.  The fact that it is “real”, only makes it better, but leaves you with a million questions about a group of young men.

I saw the movie with my 14 year old son, which was fascinating. He is a part of the Facebook generation and was a member of Facebook long before I was.  I had not heard of it when he wanted to join and to be honest, the only reason I joined was to be able to monitor him.  I am now addicted and not ashamed to admit it.

I don’t know how much of the movie was fact, but boy is it a great story.  It was interesting to see how differently my son and I viewed the players.  My kid thought Mark Zuckerberg was an asshole who screwed over his friends.  I looked at Mark as the good guy and Sean Parker as the villain.  My son focused on broken friendships and I went all mommy and focused on a young man who got caught up in something bigger than he could handle.

The movie is adapted by Aaron Sorkin from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 nonfiction book, “The Accidental Billionaires”. Nobody who works at Facebook, including Mark Zuckerberg, participated in the film.  Eduardo Saverin however, was a consultant on Mezrich’s book.

For me, Zuckerberg was a young kid, who got pissed off at a girlfriend, started something bigger than he could have imagined, and was jealous of his friend Saverin for getting invited to pledge at Harvard.  His immaturity led him to be sucked in by Parker, and he lost control.

I don’t think he was malicious, just naïve and by naive I don’t mean stupid.  This is a smart kid, but there are different kinds of smart.  He is a brilliant programmer, but not particularly savvy socially.  I’d like to think that Zuckerberg regrets how things went down in the end.

Sean Parker is the asshole of the movie.  He saw an opportunity and bounced on it.  He is a brilliant guy and you have to give him credit for taking Facebook to the level it is.  In the happy bubble where I live though, he could have done the exact same thing and still included Saverin.

I think the reason Parker manipulated Zuckerberg and ousted Saverin is because he is sleazy.  He had made enemies with Napster and was perhaps seeking redemption.  He was looking out for himself and Zuckerberg was so naïve he didn’t see it, and would not believe Saverin who did.

A sad moment in the movie is when Zuckerberg tries to friend Erica Albrecht on Facebook.  She is the girl that unwillingly started the entire thing, but according to her, he never friended her.  I don’t care that it’s made up.  At the end of the day I believe Zuckerberg is a good guy.

Is Sean Parker portrayed as a douchelord?  Yes.  Did Eduardo Saverin get screwed out of his rightful share and proper participation in Facebook?  Yes.  Did Mark Zuckerberg sell out his best friend?  Yes.  Was it all worth it for them to be billionaires and for all of us to have Facebook?  Yes.

I really loved this movie.  When we got home we Googled the players because we left the theater wanting more.  Their lives must be very interesting and rather complicated.  I wonder if any of what happened is why Zuckerberg, who was raised Jewish, now says he is an atheist.

Was he an atheist before all the Facebook madness?  Did him achieving this massive amount of financial and professional success make him lose his belief in God?  Does he think he sold his soul to the devil for Facebook and therefore feels he is not worthy of God?

The Social Network is a must see and it’s incredible that even now, after all these years, the key players are still kids. I wish them the best and hope they are happy in all the chaos.  My romantic and unrealistic heart prays they have forgiveness for each other.

It’s sad that what we think we know about these boys is based on a movie that is based on things that may or may not be true.  I’m thinking that they are all rather lovely and we’d be surprised to see that they are just really smart, good kids.

To Mark Zuckerberg, I hope you write a book one day.  I want so much to hear the story from your perspective.  At the end of the day it’s your history and you must tell it.  I believe you are a good person and regardless of whether you believe in God or not, you can still keep the faith.

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