The Facebook

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Photo of Mark Zuckerberg, via CrunchBase

I finally got around to seeing “The Social Network,” and after two hours of being captivated by the film, all I can say is: That Mark Zuckerberg, he sure could have used a timeout from his parents. Or maybe just had his computer privileges taken away.

Or, at the very least, mom and dad could have given their son some sage advice. Like if you only have one friend in the world, and this friend lends you $19,000, don’t screw him over. Of course, someone should have told said friend, Eduardo, lending large amounts of money to your BFF, especially one as self-absorbed as Mark, has turned many a genuine friendship sour.

Now I know there’s some fictionalizing in this film in order to tell a better story. The movie was based on a book called The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, and I’m going to assume it was written from the perspective of Eduardo, who comes off in the movie looking like a victim and a saint. But for the sake of my blog, I’m going to process it as 100% real, as in, this is what really happened. To me, this movie is gospel and I’m sure every conversation happened exactly as it was written in the script, down to the very smart and insightful associate lawyer, played by Rashida Jones.

In the film, Rashida represents us, the audience, who like us, listens during the depositions to the fascinating story of the making of Facebook as it unfolds through a series of flashbacks. At the end of the film, Rashida speaks for us, when she says what we’ve been thinking all along: Mark Zuckerberg is not a nice guy. I am paraphrasing, so don’t take my words as gospel.

The lesson here is, if you’re a college student, especially one from Harvard, and you want to start up something new but you need financial backing from a friend, make sure you put it in writing. Detail what the expectations are from each partner. I’m talking a contract, not a gentlemen’s agreement. When it comes to making money, there are no gentlemen, only ruthless capitalists. Didn’t these boys see Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street?” Greed isn’t so good when it’s at the expense of your friends or, in this case, a friend who also happens to be a saint.

As for the twins, I don’t have much sympathy for them, handsome and athletic as they are. In my estimation, which I base on the movie as my sole source, they didn’t give Mark the idea of Facebook, or The Facebook, as it’s originally called. They only met with Mark once and exchanged a few emails. Plus, there idea wasn’t as grandiose. They were thinking small, so if you ask me, they were lucky to settle out of court and make millions in the process. Frankly, I think they were just jealous of Mark, the boy wonder.

So if Mark’s parents had intervened, they could have disciplined their son several times, like when he trashed the rental in California. His dad also could have advised Mark not to befriend a guy like Sean, the founder of Napster. Sean was trouble from day one and Saint Eduardo knew it. Plus, Mark’s mom could have made her son write a nice thank you note to his friend, for believing in him and for loaning him all that start-up money. While she was at it, she could have made her son clean up all those broken beer bottles on the kitchen floor. That was disgusting.

To think, if it weren’t for Mark’s girlfriend dumping him (and you have to give her some credit for dating him in the first place), Facebook might not be what it is today. Maybe it wouldn’t even exist. Powerful stuff and certainly, food for thought. True love for Zuckerberg was out of reach and I attribute this to one thing and one thing only: Mark lacked empathy—compassion for his fellow man or in this case, his girlfriend and his BFF.

Poor, rich billionaire lad. If you ask me, the only thing missing in this film, was for “Citizen Zuckerberg,” alone in his Facebook world, to utter the words, “Rosebud.” Cameras would then pan to his childhood sled. That would’ve been perfect.

Twitter-dee & Twitter-dumb

This is exactly what I was afraid would happen. Don’t get me wrong, I love the written word. I love to read novels and nonfiction—when I have the time. I am one of the few left who still subscribes to magazines and peruses them thoroughly.

Pre-Twitter: The only thing Dorothy followed was the Yellow Brick Road

Now Twitter. The difference between Twitter and reading a magazine or book, from cover to cover, is that the back cover is supposed to signal that you’ve reach the end. But in Twitter there is no back cover; the tweets just keep coming and coming. It’s like watching the daily stock market ticker tape with the tape unraveling at your feet. Pretty soon you’re all tangled in it and you’re having trouble breathing because of all the pressure to follow and follow fast. Tweets, tweets and more tweets.

I resisted Twitter for a long time. For starters, there was the character limit. I mean, how dare anyone tell me that I must limit myself to 140 characters? Me, who has so much to say? You might as well be asking me to only speak in haiku.

Signed on for Twitter,
Confronting its force head on,
Been hell ever since.

So I’m not sure whether this Twitter thing is going to work for me. I feel as if I’m trying to merge onto the highway—the information highway—with every car going 85. And I’m on foot.  The pressure’s on because it seems the one with the most followers wins and I barely have 27.  I must follow while being followed. To tweet or to re-tweet? That is the question.

Being a follower is relatively easy if you ask me. I’m already following over 100 organizations and some of my most favorite celebrities—Stephen Colbert, John Legend and Pink. Now I know what they’re up to and their innermost thoughts, though Pink hasn’t tweeted anything during the first week that I’ve been following her. But I’m aglow with anticipation. Gaining followers is a little more challenging. Beware of scam followers. They only want you for one thing: your money. Block them before they become evil doers and raid your followers.

Once you have followers you can start tweeting.  And while you’re tweeting, be sure to re-tweet. This is what you do when someone you are following has sent a clever tweet and you want to share it with your followers. There’s a right way to re-tweet so be sure you know how. My friend, Trisha, who’s an expert at Twitter, tried teaching me how, but I’ve already forgotten.

In the week that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve read at least 1,420 tweets. These tweets are confusing, making me feel like I’m listening in on others’ conversations. They’re speaking in a code I don’t get yet. Meanwhile, having only 27 followers means I’m really behind the eight ball. Borderline pathetic, if you ask me. Plus, eight are trying to sell me something, so I shouldn’t really count them since Trisha said I should be blocking them. But I won’t block any until I have more followers. For now, I consider them placeholders and I’m trying not to succumb to whatever’s up their sleeves. The little charmers.

Twitter has me sleep deprived.  I’m pathologically compelled to keep reading tweets. I’m stressed too, with a constant feeling that I’m overlooking tweetable moments. When I do send a tweet, I worry that I’m not doing it right because I can’t recall Trisha’s instructions. I should’ve written them down. I will check on Amazon to see if there’s a Twitter how-to book for dummies. Until then, I’ll remember the words of Steven, an old high school chum who has clearly not bitten the Twitter bullet. He asked me,

Why not follow the Yellow Brick Road instead?

Steven, I would—if I could only figure out how to get off this information highway. Without getting run over!

In lieu of that, tweet this:  As long as I’m on Twitter, I will learn and I will thrive. Even if it kills me. And that is something you can retweet!