Why the Facebook Movie Will Probably Be Boring

Because of where I went to college, I ended up being an early Facebook adopter in 2004, and it's been mildly interesting to watch the technology rise and fall in the six years since. I hardly ever use the site any more, and it's not really even because of privacy concerns—I mostly hang out on Twitter, where a much higher percentage of the conversation is useful, and the conversation's easy to keep going in one plate. But obviously, I'm in the minority here. Facebook is booming. But I still think that David Fincher's The Social Network, set for release in October, is going to be deadly dull, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people agree with me.

Here's the movie's second trailer, which was released last week:



The thing about the movie is that even in the world of Ben Mezrich's sexed-up, semi-non-fictional narrative of the company's rise (and it's a damn shame David Fincher is making a movie based on that trash), Mark Zuckerberg is a relatively boring person. Even an "I'm CEO ... Bitch" business card is a reflection of an unformed young man, rather than of great greed, great aggressiveness, or great venality.

And the truth is, what's interesting about Facebook, and about social networking period, is not a billion dollars, or the petty, obnoxious infighting among the young men who had a hand in its creation. They're very small compared to the phenomenon that they've helped unleash upon us all. What's interesting is how people live their lives in this new world. Movies about how people behave on the Internet, from throwaways like Untraceable to big-budget movies like Tron: Legacy are much more important to reckoning with the phenomenon than a flick about Mark Zuckerberg. The guys who got the Internet off the ground aren't really movie fodder either because they're not the point. It's what people did with it, and within its framework, that matters.
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Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

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