The Social Network

The Social Network ★★★★★

Most of my friends - the people I interact with the most on Facebook, who are around my age - saw this film when it first came out, in 2010, when we were all starting high school and our journey into the world of social networking. Sure, a few of us had made Facebook profiles back in junior high, but the power of status updates, streaming selfies, and events pages didn't hit us with full force until our mid-teens.

For whatever reason I held off on watching The Social Network; I attribute that to a combination of my lack of interest in Facebook and a lack of movie-watching (compared to now, at least). 2010 was definitely a year I remember seeing and hearing about a shit-ton of films, with the vague idea of going to see them, and then ending up watching barely any of them.

That's all changed now, of course, and I think the biggest contributor to that, other than my growing interest in the art of film, is my growing involvement with social media. If it weren't for websites like Facebook, Letterboxd, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and everything else that creates an endless chain of refreshing pages in order to keep updated on the latest pieces of information, I wouldn't have that extra motivation to keep up-to-date on what's currently in theaters and being talked about by everyone. I'll eventually go see Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's seeing a new review of it every time I open Letterboxd that adds that extra twinge of guilt that I haven't seen the blockbuster of the summer.

The Internet of 1995 is not the same as it was in 2003, which isn't the same as it was in 2010, or the Internet as it is now. What makes the Web an invention like no other is that its DNA is constantly changing based on the world around it, which I think is why the Millennial generation has had such an easier time adjusting to it than the generations before. Most inventions remain stagnant; cars as an idea will be updated to fit the needs of the present, but one particular model will always be the same. The Model T will always be the Model T.

But the Internet will always be changing, and Facebook will always be changing, and Zuckerberg's understanding of that is what ultimately led him to win the legal battle over his website. And it's that fluidity of Facebook and the questions it generates, created in a sea of Harvard traditionalism, that makes this film even more relevant in 2014 than it could have possibly been in 2010. Facebook refuses to stop growing, and while the DNA of the Internet may be ever-changing, Facebook's impact on the World Wide Web might indeed be permanent.

A fellow reviewer friend of mine referred to this film as a "time capsule" of our generation. To me it's less like a time capsule and more like a time machine, destined to follow us into the future, shining new light on our current online state with every rewatch.

We are not all college students, or high school students, or farm animals, or assholes. But with social networking now being such an integral part of our lives, we might as well be.

Claire's A Film A Day, 2014: Day 232

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