Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Facts and fictions of “The Social Network” October 15, 2010

It is fall break for Missouri State University and midterms are over! After spending hours studying “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko for our midterm, it was nice to come back to St. Louis and not think about social media or school.

And then I watched The Social Network and my social media obsession began again.

I thought that “The Social Network” was a good movie but the because it includes both fact and fiction, I was left not knowing what to believe. Determined to find out, I immediately grabbed my computer and started researching.

The movie is based on the book “Accidental Billionaire” written by Ben Mezrich. Without Mark Zuckerberg’s support, Mezrich managed to write a story portraying Zuckerberg’s life by gathering information from The Harvard Crimson newspaper and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. A review in The New York Times said the book was “nonfictionish” and that “‘The Accidental Billionaires’ is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document.”

I then wonder, how a movie that claims to portray person’s life but is actually made up of partial fabrications is allowed to be produced. Obviously Zuckerberg does not need any more money so there is no need to sue, but if I were the creator of Facebook and was portrayed to be an angry and obesseive person in a movie I would be frustrated. Then again, Zuckerberg reported to Mashable that, “We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.” Clearly he is not concerned about an effect of the lies.

David Kirkpatrick blogged on the Daily Beast and explained which aspects of “The Social Network” were true and false. He claims to be an expert on the subject after studying Zuckerberg for over a year to write his book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World”.

A few highlights from Kirkpatrick’s blog include:

  • “Zuckerberg may be the least angry person I have ever met.”
  • Zuckerberg is and has been dating someone since before The Facebook first launched.
  • The Winklevoss brothers were real, though did not have as important of a role in Facebook as the movie leads to believe.
  • “Zuckerberg did wear Adidas sandals all the time, even in winter.”
  • “There really was a zip line from the chimney on the house in Palo Alto that enabled the guys to fly into the pool.”

I encourage you to visit this link for the full story because it is three pages long and includes links to other sources disputing “The Social Network” facts as well.

I definitely enjoyed the movie “The Social Network”. Seeing the coding and complicated thought process the Facebook team experienced in the creation of this amazing product was very insightful and something I hadn’t considered.

I definitely recommend “The Social Network” to you, and now you know how to discern the facts from the fiction!


If you don’t talk, someone else will. October 7, 2010


Creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.


At only 26, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, is worth billions.

We all wish we were the genius billionaire behind this social networking site, however, there is but one. On Oct. 5, 2010, The Social Network, a dramatic portrayal of the life of Mark Zuckerberg, hit theatres. The film leaves viewers feeling either angry or sympathetic towards Zuckerberg as he is blamed for stealing the idea for Facebook.

I am not here to analyze the movie because I have not seen it, but I am going to talk about the  potential consequences this movie could have from a public relations view for both Facebook and Zuckerberg, something Zuckerberg was reportedly fearful of. If movie-goers leave the theatre feeling angry towards him, perhaps Facebook itself would see a negative response. Let’s be honest though, it is Facebook and it is addictive. Zuckerberg said this, according to an interview he gave to mashable’s co-editor, Ben Parr:

““We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.”

This is great for Zuckerberg, who does not have to worry about the impact of negative publicity since his website changed the world, but what about us average folks?  Those of us who are promoting a business or building a personal brand for ourselves as we look for future careers have a little more to worry about when it comes to negative publicity.

As we begin utilizing social media for personal use and businesses, it is important to be aware of the content you post, as well as what other’s post about you. As Lon Safko writes in “The Social Media Bible,” everyone is a publisher and anyone can write positive or negative content about you.

From a business or organizational standpoint, having consistent information on each social media website is vital. This ensures that people searching for your organization find the correct website rather than a random one with fake information on it. This also sends an uniformed message to consumers to distinguish a brand.

Businesses also must be aware of what people are posting about their business or organization. Actively searching for any mention of your company allows the ability to react to problematic content and ensure that all information posted is correct.

Lastly businesses have begun monitoring their employees’ social network content to regulate its appropriateness in relation to the company’s values. We discussed in class that many companies have employees sign a social media contract when hired that holds them responsible for the content they post on their personal websites.

From a personal standpoint, it is important that the image you portray online is the same image you want employers to see. Are you tweeting informative content or about a party you attended last night? This is your image and despite all privacy settings you might use, big company’s can still find you.

How in control do you feel about what people see on your page or what they say and read about you or your business?


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