Social Media On The Big Screens: Catfish and The Social Network
I posed a simple question to my Facebook and Twitter friends: “What movies are out there that feature Journalists as main characters? I’ve seen tons but can’t think of them all. Need this for a blog post!”
Thanks to the infinite power of Social Media within 10 minutes I had a list of over 30 movies featuring a Journalist as a main character. Movies on the list include: All The Presidents Men, True Crime, Almost Famous, the mysterious Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Insider, Shattered Glass, Good Night and Good Luck, State of Play, the fashionable Devil Wears Prada, the indestructible Super Man and the list goes on.
The high response rate to my question made it crystal clear that “traditional” media jobs are extremely popular and even sexy on the big screens. But as technology continues to evolve and the occupation “Journalist” (in the traditional sense of writing for a newspaper ) continues to diminish as a position companies are seeking, having a “Journalist” in a new age movie doesn’t match up with current trends. This became evident to me in the past week as I’ve had the privilege of watching two sneak previews, both featuring Social Media: Catfish and The Social Network.
The rest of this post isn’t a spoiler. I’ll be sharing some of my insight and observations after watching two movies that feature Social Media as the main component.
Catfish– This documentary is about a photographer, Nev who lives in New York. An eight-year-old girl, Abby from rural Michigan contacts him and asks permission to draw one of his photographs that appeared in a newspaper. He receives her remarkable painting and starts a friendship and online correspondence with Abby’s family. This is just the beginning of an online mystery. The main topics brought to my attention were online persona’s versus real life and online security. We often don’t think twice about who we’re corresponding with online and take everyone for face value. But the internet can be a dangerous tool that allows us to create different personas, use different photos to identify ourselves and hide from our real identity through a computer screen. For many people, our online persona is a true reflection of our personality, but not for everyone. Nev’s correspondence turns into a mystery that brings up the questions of online security. He doesn’t think twice about disclosing secrets, personal information and even developing a romantic connection with someone he’s never met met until things start getting fishy one clue at a time.
The Social Network– The deep rooted desire for humans to have connections with others is fed through online social networks. The Social Network is a story about Facebook, formerly called The Facebook’s creation and evolution into today’s powerful tool that most of us can’t live without. This movie brought back memories to me for the early days of Facebook in 2004. The “mini-feed” that used to annoy everyone showed up on the big screen, now we can’t live without the feed of current information about 500 of our closest friends. The movie portrays the crucial moment when “Relationship Status” was invented which now allows us to find out if there may be a chance with the hot guy or girl we just met. “Can I have your number?” is so 1990’s, we all know the real pick up line is “Can I add you on Facebook?” The Social Network is a true story and drama that perfectly depicts the rapid growth of technology, how our lives are so quickly transformed by the digital age and the viral power of the internet.
Seeing Social Media on the big screen continues to validate it’s importance in our every day lives. While traditional media jobs were so prominent in a significant number of movies, my prediction for the future of movies is that occupations of featured characters will center more around technology jobs, the internet and more specifically Social Media.
Have you seen other movies that feature Social Media?