Monday, May 23, 2011

Did That Movie Really Make You Want to Delete your Facebook, or Are you Just Saying That?

*** I think. I rant. I type.

Way back in October when The Social Network came out in theatres (well okay, so not that far back), I was intrigued to see the film, due to my curiosity about Mark Zuckerberg and all of the other character portrayals (and a little Andrew Garfield never hurts, am I right?). It had little to do with the fact that I am 20 years old and use Facebook every single day-- it's a generational thing, I know, so no judgements.

The thing is, soon after I saw the film, other friends and acquaintences of mine also saw the film, and although everyone agreed that it was a really good movie, I heard the same comment from a number of people: "That movie kind of made me think about deleting my Facebook account."
To which I thought: Why?
And why are so many people saying this, but in the end not actually doing it?

I'd like to think that nobody (that I know, at least) deleted their Facebook accounts because there really wasn't a big enough reason to want to do it, purely based on what was depicted in the movie. I'd like to think that people said it because they thought it was the "smart" thing to say, and when asked why they might make such a statement, most people answered along the lines of "Well Mark Zuckerberg was kind of a douche/ shady business, etc etc."
But that's what the whole thing was about, wasn't it? The trials and tribulations of invention and starting a business, and everyone wanting a piece, and people getting screwed over.
It happens on a daily basis, just not as high-profile as this billion-dollar company. The movie essentially had nothing to do with Facebook as a website or product, but more to do with the interesting story behind its creation, which many entrepreneurs and moguls in today's world can actually relate to.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe The Social Network was created a a portrait of why we might think twice about joining a social network like Facebook. But as it is now, I just didn't interpret it as such, so if anyone else makes that claim about thinking of deleting their accounts because of the film, I will probably asked them if they watched the same movie as I did, because I just don't think that that is what it was all about.

On the other side of the coin, however, is the documentary film Catfish, which I just saw a few days ago. Now, I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but a general idea of it is that a young man (Yaniv Schulman) finds himself becoming involved in an online friendship with a child artist and her family, after the young girl creates a painting of one of his photographs.
All I'm going to say is that a movie like that might be something that makes you wary about keeping your Facebook profile. Though at the same time, even though I can understand why someone may want to delete their social networking accounts after seeing a film like Catfish, really all it did was make me wary about making friendships/relationships with people I meet online (which I never do anyways). But that is something most people are wary about to begin with... aren't they?

When it all boils down to it though...
I don't think film holds enough power over most people to influence them with things like this (key-word: "most"). We see films about people getting drugged at parties, but there are still countless young people engaging in such activities. Did the film affect them? Maybe it made them more cautious, but it didn't turn them off their lifestyle.
It's the same for a lot of other issues that are raised in cinema: We become more aware about them, but are not necessarily influenced to change or do anything about them.

Although there may be personal dangers to social networking, for most young people it is just such a big tool for communication that they won't even blink an eye when they hear about shady things that happen to people on them. It's all about taking precautions and being smart online (and no, that wasn't supposed to sound like the words of an after-school special, even though it kind of did).
If I ever hear someone say that Catfish made them wary about being online, I would believe them. The next time I hear someone say the same thing about The Social Network, I will roll my eyes.

I know, I know, some people maybe are influenced a great deal by what they see in documentaries and the like, but what do you think?
Did The Social Network make you concerned about your Facebook profile? How about Catfish?
Or am I just speaking to dead, uninterested-air here (which is honestly the most likely scenario)?