Tag Archives: social networking

Thoughts on The Social Network

Last Thursday, my Social Media for PR class viewed The Social Network. Before I share my thoughts on the movie, I would like to point out that prior to the class screening, I have never seen the movie, nor do I know much about Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook’s history. Though I do know general information.

What stood out to me right off the bat was how Zuckerberg was portrayed as a completely arrogant and socially inept prodigy programmer. Despite hearing from others that the real Zuckerberg can be a little condescending and—to sugar coat it—a jerk, it’s hard to believe the CEO of Facebook can be that cruel and condescending to virtually everyone he comes into contact with. Clearly for Hollywood purposes, his social awkwardness and mannerisms are an exaggeration. Though what I can believe is that he is a gifted programmer and innovator with a true understanding of communication and connections. No one can create a “social” networking site without understanding how and why people communicate and for what possible end goal. This leads me to my next thought.

Though Zuckerberg was portrayed as overly arrogant (although I don’t doubt some of his arrogance), what the movie stressed through this arrogance was his steadfast belief of Facebook’s mission as stated in Wired magazine in 2010: making the world open. In the movie, everyone involved with Facebook was concerned about the profits except for Zuckerberg. The Winklevoss twins and Narendra were angry not just with Zuckerberg stealing their Harvard Connection idea, but the potential for the idea to make millions. In addition, Eduardo Saverin as CFO immediately wanted to include advertisements to make money after Facebook was launched. Then there were others in the movie that saw no potential in a social network at all, which is remarkable to think about considering the way Facebook has changed advertising, marketing, and public relations. However, that is a whole other matter.

In the lawsuit that ensues in the movie with all three parties (Zuckerberg, the Winklevoss and Narendra, and Saverin), Zuckerberg states in front of his accusers and lawyers that he doesn’t care about the money, but for Facebook to connect people in ways still unimaginable. He insults everyone in the room, stating they are too foolish to see the bigger picture. This emphasis on the mission rings true for the real Zuckerberg. Even with Facebook going public in the past year and decreasing in stock value, Zuckerberg firmly states Facebook does not exist to please investors, but to achieve its mission. From what I remember, the speech was very blunt. Regardless of how arrogant he may be in real life, I like that he’s truthful (to an extent) and dedicated to the idea. That, I believe, is what the movie did well. At the same time, I think that was also the take-home message: How a simple site like Facebook catapulted us into the modern era of Web 2.0.

Social Networks: Why use them?

Remember the simpler days when you only had social media outlets such as Blogger or LiveJournal to communicate and express your thoughts? Better yet, remember when the internet never existed and you quietly wrote in a tangible journal that no one ever read? I sure do. Today, we’re bombarded with a million social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. How do we choose which to use and why use them at all?

Today’s world is that of ongoing, immediate information technology. If you don’t try to learn at least one type of social network, even loosely, you’re at a disadvantage. You fall behind socially, worldly, and well, economically. So which do I use? Too many, and all for different reasons:

Facebook – I opened up a Facebook account as a freshman in college because it was new and everyone was using it. It was a way of keeping in contact with all my friends from home who went to different colleges. It was also a way to meet new college friends and peers, by contacting them about homework, sharing stories, or setting up events. Today, I use it mainly and minimally to keep in contact with family and friends.

Twitter– Twitter is currently my favorite social network. I use it to reach out to three groups: runners, fiction writers, and comic writers/artists/enthusiasts. I follow fellow runners to swap advice and gain motivation. I follow writers in general to understand the process and development of a piece of work. It’s basically a learning process for me as well as an inspiration. In terms of comic writers and artists, I’m just a fan of their work and like to see what’s in store for the near future. However, I do interact with some writers with the hope of building my professional network. What’s great about Twitter is that I can choose who I want to follow and what topics interest me. I only have a handful of friends I follow, unlike Facebook, where I typically ignore everything on the news feed.

Tumblr – I created a Tumblr during my unemployment days to practice my writing and keep busy. My tumblr focused on literature and writing related topics. It became a way to network and sympathize with other writers.

DeviantArt – This one is recent. I use it to post original short stories I’ve written to get feedback, read other works, and network with writers.

LinkedIn – This is my professional version of Facebook where I keep in contact with former coworkers or peers in similar fields.

And there you have it! Aside from Facebook, which I use solely for keeping in contact with people I know, I utilize the other social networks to find people with similar interests and people who can help me better myself in my desired profession. I’m basically all business, with a need to gain knowledge and support in my field. Growing up, I’ve been surrounded by family and friends who are involved in the hard sciences, so social networking became a way for me to find people more like me. And that’s why social media is so important.

Social media brings people with similar interests and goals together with ease. There are no excuses for being passive about networking. Everything is a click away. What I find interesting is not how social media can bring family and friends together, but company and customer, celebrity and fan, etc. Take Twitter for example. I’ve been able to talk to a few writers I admire on a professionally intimate level rather than post comments of adulation.

Of course, social media has its drawbacks: information overload, frequent consumer dissatisfaction and therefore a decrease in company credibility, and the inability for people to communicate face-to-face. It’s a trade-off, but that’s why I’m interested in public relations. I want to understand social media to use it effectively, both for myself and for the industry I work for. Happy networking, everyone.