My Take on “The Social Network” Movie

I went to see The Social Network movie this past weekend and was very impressed with the format and the acting. I went into the movie without any knowledge of the scandal and was looking forward to learning what happened. Whether or not the content was actually factual was another question. This movie was not about Facebook though – it was about a real gap between Internet geniuses and old school politics. As much as we use the Internet for everyday activities, there is still an incredible lack of knowledge on how it works. I have had many clients throughout my career just like Mark Zuckerberg and I know what kind of person it takes to invent something like Facebook  - and it’s not a stolen idea. There are many “similar” web applications out there but only one will be successful. There is definitely a secret sauce, just like anything else. Unfortunately, the movie did not explore that secret sauce and the passion that goes behind an Internet startup.  I think Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law Professor, provided a review that I couldn’t agree more with. Here’s a quote:

“The tragedy—small in the scale of things, no doubt—of this film is that practically everyone watching it will miss this point. Practically everyone walking out will think they understand genius on the Internet. But almost none will have seen the real genius here. And that is tragedy because just at the moment when we celebrate the product of these two wonders—Zuckerberg and the Internet—working together, policymakers are conspiring ferociously with old world powers to remove the conditions for this success. As “network neutrality” gets bargained away—to add insult to injury, by an administration that was elected with the promise to defend it—the opportunities for the Zuckerbergs of tomorrow will shrink. And as they do, we will return more to the world where success depends upon permission. And privilege. And insiders. And where fewer turn their souls to inventing the next great idea.”

Click here to ready full review.

Do I really need Twitter in my already full social networking life?

I think I hear Twitter more often then I hear the word Google nowadays. Did you Twitter it? instead of Did you Google it? Remember in speech class when your professor would count the number of “um’s” you would say and knock off points from your grade respectively? It would be interesting to track down the number of times we say “Twitter” everyday. Twitter has been mentioned in the news more often and it’s hard not to wonder, what the heck is Twitter and why do I need it?

Let’s take a step back and talk about social networking in general.

I happen to work in the IT Hosting industry, for PEER 1 specifically,  and we speak Geek. We are constantly updated on the latest technology and latest internet trends. In some cases, these are our clients (YouTube, WordPress, GreenPatch) so it’s hard not to notice, and in other cases we use social networking to connect to clients. We are consumed by the Internet because quite simply, we run that **it.

I have to admit, when MySpace came out, I didn’t embrace it. I didn’t understand the purpose. Why do I want to post my favorite TV shows or what my salary is? Does anyone care? And if they do, does that make them my friend? I just didn’t get it.

As social networking has evolved, there are now multiple avenues for you to take.  This is what I use and why:

Flickr – Share my photos. I love taking photos (recreational purposes) and enjoy sharing my photos with others.
LinkedIn-  A must have for a business professionals. In my opinion, it replaces business cards.
WordPress – I blog because I enjoy writing. I find it to be therapeutic. If people happen to enjoy it my posts, awesome!
Facebook – Connect to family, friends, and colleagues geographically disbursed. Rule of thumb: Keep it simple and only accept people that you will say hi to at a restaurant.
Twitter - I find Twitter to be a way of sharing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, valuable information so that you can inspire, empower, educate or motivate others – in 40 characters or less. And you get the same in return.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. Actually, not really.

I have always taken photos. I have always uploaded them to my computer. Now I just take one simple step and upload them to Flickr to share with my family, friends, and other photography enthusiasts.

For LinkedIn, you only really update this profile when you change positions or companies. Same reason when you change your business card.

I try to blog when I can. I have always loved to write and have kept personal journals, now I just keep it on all on my computer and publish entries to my SAFUN blog that I think others might enjoy.

Then Facebook is my hub. Flickr, SAFUN (my blog) and Twitter all feed into my Facebook account.

So what’s this Twitter thing again?

The definition Twitter gives is:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

Twitter actually saves a lot of time, depending on what you use it for. You are able to connect to tons of people in one simple “tweet” (140 characters or less).  Rather than sending a mass email,  a mass text or going to all your favorite websites to find updates, or visiting forums – Twitter is a one stop shop for all of this.

It did take me a while to understand it and embrace it. The thing about Twitter is that they really left it up to the users to figure out what Twitter is for within these simple limitations:

  • Tweets can only be 140 characters or less
  • You can follow whomever you want
  • Whomever can follow you if you have a public profile (you can make it private if you wish)

People might say, well I don’t care when “so and so” is going to the bathroom. Well, don’t follow them then! You are in control of who you want to follow.

I follow a variety of people from locals  VisitSanAntonio, MySA, SACurrent and even local reporters so I can find news out before it hits the new stations. I have found out about so many cool local San Antonians doing great things such as Jennifer Navarrete, Sam Lerma, Nan Palmero. I would have never found out about these cool individuals until Twitter.  I also follow people and companies within my industry. I follow our President and First Lady Obama! What better way to get real time information on what our government is doing? oh and what Michelle is wearing ;)   I follow to get information, to get inspired and to have a few laughs in between.

The other question is, do you need Twitter? Well, that is up to you to decide. You can choose to follow a bunch of people but you might wander, what do I have to say to others? Do they really care? You’d be surprised. The power of the people is enormous. I truly believe that there are more good people in the world than bad. If we can join forces together and connect to more people and share positive messages, I believe the world would take a turn for the better. It sounds cheesy but that’s what I truly believe.

Tony, CEO of Zappos, is one of the most followed on Twitter and was an early adapter. I think he wrote the best article on why he uses Twitter. Here is an excerpt but please read the entire thing if you are interested:

For me, it comes down to these 4 things:

1. Transparency & Values: Twitter constantly reminds me of who I want to be, and what I want Zappos to stand for
2. Reframing Reality: Twitter encourages me to search for ways to view reality in a funnier and/or more positive way
3. Helping Others: Twitter makes me think about how to make a positive impact on other people’s lives
4. Gratitude: Twitter helps me notice and appreciate the little things in life

I know it can be overwhelming. I just think that as new forms of communication come along, they will replace old forms.  And if you choose not to embrace Twitter or other forms of communication, I don’t think it’s any shame on you. Quite honestly, I’d prefer to spend more hours in the park on a sunny day then on my computer. The way you balance your life is your choice. But remember, if something great happened in your life or if you learned something new, share it. People need to hear all the goodness that happens so they can see light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s simply telling others that your kid just hit a home run at his Little League game but ran from 3rd to the dug out instead of home.  It’s the little things that move us the furthest.

If I made someone smile, laugh, or even allow them to think about their own thoughts – I have done my job.

Here are some of my “Tweets”

Our Product mgr just passed by me with 3 bottles of wine in his hands. He says “It’s not what it looks like.”

Making Tilapia. Couldn’t find the Thyme. @jbartels says “just look at your watch” – So silly but we couldn’t stop laughing.

Why pray and wish for world peace if you are not willing to make peace with your neighbor?

Just had Pop Rocks for the first time – I didn’t know they actually popped in your mouth! The office found this to be very amusing.

Sometimes you don’t realize you are on a journey until you look behind you.

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