Facebook, The Social Network, and The Public Sphere

By: Ross Holtry

Facebook has dominated the internet in the last five years, but it was only this year that “The Social Network” came to theaters and earned popularity in another form of media.  Critics loved the movie, and with a script written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by David Flincher, it’s not hard to see how this movie won Best Drama at the 2011 Golden Globes.  Amid the critical praise and Hollywood self-appreciation, there was controversy over how much the movie was a work of fiction, and how the movie depicted the characters who are grounded in the real world.

What interested me about the movie was seeing how the popularity of a website could enable it to cross so many different types of media platforms and make it such a widely known commodity.  Facebook  had successfully crossed into the public sphere in the early 2000s, coming off our computer screens and into our everyday lives.  It’s something that is talked about by our friends and families, and is becoming unavoidable in our daily lives.  Yet, the one of the main attractions to media forms like movies and television is that it offers us an escape from our public life, which makes Facebook and “The Social Network” even more interesting.  We find comfort in the narrative of Facebook, because it’s something that is so common with our everyday lives, regardless of wither or not it’s true.

Last weekend, the cross media success of Facebook could be easily seen in this clip of Saturday Night Live, in which Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who portrayed Mark Zuckerburg in the movie The Social Network, Andy Samberg, the comedian who portrays him on Saturday Night Live, and the real life Mark Zuckerburg coalesced and met on stage to perform the opening monologue of the show.  It almost makes me wonder at what point will there be a reaction to the over-saturation of Facebook in almost every media sphere in our lives.

This entry was posted in Section 2, Student Posts, Winter 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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