Here is the trailer for The Social Network, which has been out for a while. You should see it while the chance is still available.
I do, it’s weird, but I can’t help but feel privileged, because I do.
I did not grow up in the generation that bore witness to the first Star Wars, but I did grow up in the generation that bore witness to the first live-action Lord of the Rings films, innocent and completely unaware of the cultural phenomenon we were about to bear witness to. I remember that very instance. I saw Fellowship of the Ring on Christmas with my then-unmarried cousin. Careful, spoilers (it was pretty f-kin important, culturally speaking).
It’s weird, looking back on a movie like that, because you can genuinely say that you bore witness to a cultural milestone, to people changing the way they thought about filmmaking. In a way, that was how I felt about The Social Network, but not for the bearing it had on filmmaking, but on the culture as a whole.
On my 26th birthday, a couple weeks ago, I watched The Social Network, and it felt even more oddly defining to me as a participant to a generation, not to the film itself, but to the event that inspired it. A passive, nosy little inspiration was I. To the first whole half of the movie, I heard myself saying, I remember that. I remember that!
I was a freshman at NYU when thefacebook.com became fuckin’ thefacebook.com. I remember Mark Zuckerberg’s little image of himself that represented Facebook for so long, and more than that, I remember the gated community feeling it gave to the young elite of New York University. At that point, facebook had been opened to the Ivies, Stanford, and a very few other universities, in our cases Boston University and New York University. After that, what did you need to know? We were a part of a very unique little club, and you on the outside, that was all you wanted; your friends were too, and that made you special.
And the thing I remember most vividly about The Facebook back when it was “thefacebook”, back when we as little peons of a massive university back in 2003, was the ‘poking’ feature. Yes, the thing what distinguished Facebook from MySpace and what have you was not only its elitism (and, believe you me, that was very alluring) and its relationship status feature, but its poking feature.
I poked. Oh, how I poked. Nella and I poked each other. From six feet away from each other, we poked our fellows from NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and what have you; and we did indeed feel very, very special.
It’s been almost seven years since Facebook was launched. Fuck me, I feel old. I haven’t poked anyone since before I got my f@&#king useless bachelor’s degree. As I mentioned several posts down, I don’t even look at people who try to friend me on facebook unless I immediately recognize their names. I get poked all the damn time and I don’t even feel the slightest inclination to reply. When we look at movie marketing, in a greatear, macrouniversal appeal type of way, I can’t help but think that this is how we’ve become inevatably. We’re a machine now, aye? As the film points out, when the site first started, it had neither marketing nor ads, and that was what made it cool. I remember that, too.
I’m not sure how true this is, because I feel like an idea such as this is wholly subjective. As for myself, I don’t think I’ll ever really come to terms with how much thefacebook has changed us as a culture, because I remember being there from the very, very beginning. I remember how cool it was, I remember the hype so accurately and truthfully portrayed in the movie, and I remember how it slowly turned into a monster that quickly changed the way people thought, the way people communicate with each other. That last bit is the part that scares me, and the part I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with, or be able to relate with. I remember the way people communicated with each other before facebook, and I live the way people communicate with each other now.
The movie was good. It was not great, because it was scary, and for me, it hit way too close to home. And maybe it’s just me, but when something hits that close to home, its almost impossible to give a real, empirical, thought-based judgement on the goddamn thing. I know
it’s true, but that doesn’t mean I feel anything for it. The only guys that ask for my number nowadays are almost ten years older than me. What does that say, culture? What does that say for those of use who have learned to communicate in this new, non-commital way?
Everyone should see The Social Network, obviously. It is very, very well written, tightly directed, and impeccably marketed. But next time you ask for a girl’s ‘facebook’, my suggestion, as one of those girls? Ask for her goddamn number, instead.
In my case, I’m still waiting for the guy who goes beyond ‘friending’.