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The Social Network

The Social Network, released in October of 2010, is a powerful film that shows examples of convergence, not only in its production but also in the movie’s theme. The film is based on the true story of the creation of Facebook, the social-networking site that has quickly become essential to our culture. The film questions the ethics behind Facebook and the way it influences society.

The creation of the film is an example of technological convergence; the screenplay was based on the nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires, which tells the story of the founders of Facebook. So we have a film, based on a book, telling the story of a website. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing television series, took many artistic liberties with the script and did not stick true to the facts of the story. This created some controversy and negative responses from real creators of Facebook and those who knew them.

We can see examples of cultural convergence in the different responses the film received and what it meant to different groups. The script was leaked on the internet in July 2009, eliciting many reactions that were made public through the news, internet, etc. far before the movie was ever released. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was portrayed in somewhat of a negative light by the script, and told Oprah Winfrey that most of the dramatic details of the film were fiction. Some believed that the film was wrong to create this questionable character of Zuckerberg, who is only 26 with a long career ahead of him. There was also a negative response from technology writers, who saw the film as an attack on recent technological advances.

The film has an excellent soundtrack, with music created for the film by Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails. The soundtrack was released by The Null Corporation, an independent label which produces the Nine Inch Nails’ records. The soundtrack did not include any of the other songs in the film which were not by Trent Reznor, perhaps because Null Corporation could not get the rights to the other songs. An interesting instance of economic convergence comes into play with the film’s closing song, an effective use of The Beatles’ “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” The film was produced by Columbia pictures, an offset of Sony Pictures Entertainment owned by Sony. Sony also holds the rights to the Lennon/McCartney song catalogue, which made it easy to use “Baby You’re a Rich Man” in the film.

In spite of some controversial attention before the release of the film, The Social Network received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and has done very well in the box office. The film is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture, and is expected to receive Oscar nominations as well. Although it did not stick to the facts of the true story, The Social Network stands as an excellent film, which addresses the relevant issue of social networking in our culture, and the ways in which it both brings us together and distances us from each other.

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Categories: #1, Film & convergence Tags: ,
  1. Lynn
    January 6, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Great job, Siena. I especially liked that you found a song from Sony’s catalog that was used in the film. Good descriptions of cultural and technological convergence, as well!

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