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poster for The Social Network

I am one of the few people on the planet who is not, and never intends to be, on Facebook. I have the old-fashioned notion that I like to see and talk to my friends – and they mean enough to me that it is worth taking the time and making the effort to make sure I do both.

Nevertheless I went to see The Social Network about the founding of Facebook, just because the script is by Aaron Sorkin , the genius who wrote my favourite TV programme.

I really enjoyed the film because the script is up to Sorkin’s usual high standards and took me back to the dialogue-heavy, fast-talking, walking-in-the-corridors scenes from The West Wing. Sorkin concentrates on the characters, rather than the technology, but credit also has to go director David Fincher, for managing to make scenes about computer programming visually interesting and full of suspense, and to Jesse Eisenberg for his nuanced portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, who comes across as neither a hero or a villain. I hope all three, and the movie, make the Oscar nominations.

Despite the fact he is a billionaire, I felt sorry for the Zuckerberg portrayed in the movie as he is incapable of forming friendships. The movie highlights the irony that 500 million people use a social network whose creator lacks any social skills.

As Zadie Smith points out in her review of the film:

“When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears.”

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