“The Social Network”, the story of Mark Zuckerberg as told through the eyes of David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, was released this weekend. I didn’t go see it, because frankly, a standard biopic is not what I wanted to see in a Facebook movie. I don’t want to know about the psychology of Facebook’s creator, I want to know about the psychology of Facebook itself.
My ideal movie on the subject would tell the story of Facebook as an insecure girl just starting her Freshman year in college. Even though she’s friends with many of the students and even some of the teachers, she still doesn’t feel quite happy. She sees her older sister, a goth singer named MySpace, is one of the most popular girls at school, and decides to try to be like her to become more popular. The problem is, MySpace is only popular because she’s a massive slut. So Facebook starts down a dark path, opening herself up to everybody–first just college students, but soon even high schoolers, and eventually anybody who asks regardless of age or affiliation. MySpace’s popularity bottoms out, and soon Facebook is the hot girl on campus. The power goes to her head, and she starts gossiping about her friends, broadcasting everything they tell her on a News Feed Bulletin Board on the door to her room. Her friends are upset about this invasion of privacy, but they tolerate this behavior because they still find themselves addicted to her.
To make her not completely unlikeable, the film would show her actually attempt to have real conversations with people, intimate one-on-one chats, but every one of them gets interrupted for some reason that the other person chatting can’t figure out.
Soon her younger sister Twitter comes to college, and despite being an even bigger gossip with a much shorter attention span, she becomes more popular than Facebook or MySpace ever did. This brings all of Facebook’s insecurities back to the forefront, and she gets increasingly stupid makeovers despite her friends telling her they liked her the way she was. She starts giving out comment cards, asking everybody to check if they “like” every innocuous action she does, even if the action is merely expressing her enjoyment of stepping on crunchy leaves.
As the film goes on, poor Facebook sinks deeper and deeper into despair, getting more and more desperate, until she eventually dies at the hands of those she’s spurned (unless the test audiences demand we change it to a heartwarming tale where she discovers she was beautiful all along).
The film would be slated to open on 6,000 screens, but then be banned from half of them for being a timewaster and a distraction to the employees.
(Thanks to Elizabeth Coon for helping inspire this idea!)