The Social Network

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I saw the movie The Social Network tonight, here are my spoiler-free comments.

The movie was incredibly well made.  Aaron Sorkin's writing was as good as the best days of The West Wing, each member of the cast seemed to just nail their role, the editing was some of the best I've seen, and so on.

Perhaps most enjoyably, this is a mainstream movie that is at least in part about the culture and goings-on in the modern world of Internet entrepreneurship, I believe the first of its kind. It fully embraces the geekiness that was and is a part of building a web application like Facebook: in the first 30 minutes, the Apache webserver software project is mentioned at least twice, there are dramatic lines about needing more Linux webservers running MySQL, there are punchlines that involve the emacs text editor, and scenes of glorious code writing marathons - wow.

The Social Network also takes on the complex and sometimes dirty aspects of Internet start-ups, business partnerships that go sour, the role of lust, greed, insecurity and power struggles in creating beautiful things, and the general messiness of human relationships in a post-industrial world.  Some of this is probably over-dramatized; if you believe the narrative it presents, success in the world of the Internet means being ready to screw over your friends and then lawyering up to defend against their lawsuits, treating women as decorative sex objects to invite to website launch parties, and deferring basic care of one's body in order to write software all night long.  My experiences as a web developer in the Midwest have been much less sensational...but then again, I'm not a billionaire, so maybe I'm doin` it wrong.

The movie doesn't purport to be factually accurate, but there's enough real history in there that it will likely become the popular understanding of how Facebook actually came to be; it might be close enough.  If you use Facebook, or if you're interested in some of the crazy stuff that happens to take a start-up business like Facebook to what it is now, I think The Social Network is a great film to check out.

If you've seen it, tell me what you thought!

3 thoughts on “The Social Network

  1. I've never seen you enjoy a movie more than this one. Thanks for letting me tag along. I liked the glimpse it gives into the mind of a programmer. I finally understand why you forget to eat when you're writing code.

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