Oct 062010

When I started this blog I had zero intention of reviewing movies. I wanted to stick to technical topics with perhaps a few book reviews in-between. That goal hasn’t changed, but after seeing “The Social Network” this past weekend I decided an exception would be appropriate. In my opinion, the SQL Server community gets a lot of its “community” feel from social networking. This is especially true for Twitter, but I’m Facebook friends with a lot of my database tweeps as well.

What I liked

First thing I enjoyed was that I felt the movie had an acceptable level of nerd content. There was obviously a story to tell and it had to appeal to a wide variety of people, so I didn’t expect to see any hardcore programming syntax or the like. There were, however, quite a few references to linux, apache, commands such as wget (especially right at the beginning) and MySQL was mentioned at least once. There was also a sequence that took place in a lecture hall where Memory-Mapped I/O was being discussed which brought back some memories of undergrad!

I got a kick out of the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg. They totally made him out to be an uber-geek who was nothing but cold, snarky, and pretty much emotionless throughout the entire film. I can understand that he is a nerd, and he always had a dozen things flying around in his head (and still does I’m sure) but I don’t really believe that he never had fun at any time throughout the process of creating Facebook.

Finally, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane this movie brought me by showing some of the facebook pages in their original design. While Facebook currently boasts over 500 million members, the vast majority of them really don’t know what facebook was like when it debuted. I feel privileged to say that I’ve been a user since the very beginning or really close to it: I signed up on May 3, 2004, which I know because I was able to find the original confirmation email. Your profile used to include the date you joined – I wish they still had that! Back in the day, (the)Facebook was pretty much just a profile and you could friend people and poke them and that was about it. Besides the general information fields about yourself, they had a tool for adding what courses you were in so you could find other people in your classes. You had 1 picture for your profile – photo albums didn’t come until much later. I can remember it being a huge deal when they added notifications that other people changed their profiles – before that you had to check all your friends individually because there was no other way.

What I didn’t like

I can’t pick out anything specific in the movie that I didn’t like. I thought it did an excellent job of telling a story, but throughout the movie I kept wondering if everything was really true or not. I’m sure all the big points are rooted in fact, but I have a hard time believing that everything really happened the way the movie says it did. I assume the actual truth differs in some ways. I’ve read several accounts that Mark Zuckerberg refuses to see the movie, though I’m unsure if that’s because he feels it’s untrue or if it is true and the truth hurts. I tend to believe the former.

Other Thoughts

All in all I enjoyed this movie – it tells a good story regardless of whether or not it’s true. It also didn’t change my opinion of Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook at all – I still think they’re both awesome. I’ve yet to find a better way to keep in contact with people I otherwise would have lost touch with long ago.

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