Not The Only Social Network

Not The Only Social Network

Last Friday the highly anticipated movie The Social Network opened across the country to a number tsunami of spectacular reviews, some critics citing this film as David Fincher’s best cinematic effort since Seven, [remember that?] the brilliantly provocative thriller released some 15-years ago.

Today I went looking online to find out more details on The Social Network, visiting several sites (—haha—I see Justin Timberlake plays Napster co-founder Sean Parker—not Shawn Fanning—in the film!) only to reveal an overwhelmingly positive consensus among people praising the film—97% on the RT Tomatometer for instance. Perhaps this explains why Fincher’s popularity is up a whopping 77% on IMDB this week.

While I haven’t seen the film yet, I wonder if anyone has anything remotely critical to say about the story. In fact, I’ve found you really have to dig deep to find any negative reviews.

I imagine there are a lot of curious people out there—myself included—wondering exactly how Mark Zuckerberg, the sometimes geeky CEO at large, now a ripe 26-years old, orchestrated this monumental thing called Facebook that more than 1/2 billion of us now call home when online. Just like Steve Jobs would say, Facebook is huge.

Sure, I’m expecting the film to overly-dramatize certain facts and sensationalize the origins of Facebook in the name of entertainment—but what fun! Zuckerberg’s 300 lb. gorilla-of-a-digital-ecosystem has now become the most influential engagement platform of our age, rising to pop culture notoriety in a extraordinarily short period of time. In this sense, the Facebook story is intriguing enough (at least to me) that it needed to be told in one way or another.

Many of us—or at least some of the people I know—treat Facebook as a ritualistic part of their day, spending what some would consider significant amounts of free time tending to their profiles, status updates and conversations. And why not? Sharing is fun, certainly more so with friends. Like the popular game Farmville, Facebook can be severely addictive—especially when you’re able to log-in via mobile. For the growing ‘die-hard’ user base Facebook is the social application—everything else seems almost irrelevant.

But Facebook is not the be all end all of digital social communities. I actually think it’s just the beginning in terms of a paradigm shift towards an increasingly social infrastructure in our society, driven by—among other things—ubiquitous Internet access and a genuine desire to connect and share life experiences with others.

Yet (and there’s always a ‘yet’ brewing somewhere with me) there are so many other fun and interesting online communities and social networks worth checking out besides Facebook.
Why not give the Tumblr network a try? Twitter, Vimeo, Flickr and a multitude of other online communities can be a refreshing break from the usual Facebook experience.
But I think many people simply don’t pay attention to these sites because regardless of the quality of their experience on Facebook, the perception—(ok, who am I kidding)—the reality, is that everyone is on Facebook, so it must be amazing. Hence, most people regard Facebook as their default (and only) social application.
Well, no, I’m not criticizing Facebook or suggesting you should go deactivate your account. I’m just saying there’s a bigger digital world of fun out there waiting to be experienced—fun being the key word. So just like an investment portfolio, why put all your eggs into just one social basket? Go experience the many fresh and diverse alternatives to Facebook out there—that’s all.

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