In What Way does David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) Illustrate Contemporary Understandings of Intimacy and Friendship? The Social Network is a good example of what not to do with relationships. The focus of this movie was on Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook…
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This of course was no way to have a healthy relationship, but relationships were not his primary focus; his primary focus was on creating the best website for social networking in the world. The story basically focused on his relationship with Eduardo Saverin, the then CFO of the business and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twin brothers who gave the idea for Facebook to Zuckerberg (although this was not their initial idea). When looking at the ideas of intimacy and friendship, this movie brought out several issues that are apparent for people today who are engaged in social networking. 1 Intimacy and Relationships Zuckerberg seemed to have difficulty with intimacy because he could only go so far with women before they saw him as a jerk. In the beginning of the movie, the audience sees Zukerberg and his girlfriend Erica talking in one of the campus bars. Erica is there to breakup with him because she says, “being with you is exhausting; it’s like dating a StairMaster”. This was an insult to him but he did not see it as an insult at firs because he was attempting to understand what was happening. Smith (2010) called Zuckerberg a “social autistic” (p. 1) which in many ways she was correct. According to Rudy (2011) some autistic children have not developed social skills and this causes them to have problems with interacting socially. When watching the movie, it was clear that Zuckerberg had problems with interacting with people. Also, they have a tendency not to be able to pick up the subtle cues that people give to each other in face to face conversation. Although this has never been discussed in relation to the real Zuckerberg, there are several websites devoted to people with autism that speculate that he could have Asperger’s Syndrome. Whether this is true or not is not certain, but this could explain why the character in the movie had such challenges. Intimacy is not always easy for many people no matter what their situation and this may be due to Attachment Theory. Dinero et al. (2011) studied the family of origin to understand whether there was a relationship between the family of origin and an individual’s ability to form an intimate relationship. What they found was that if a child had positive attachment interactions wit their parents when they were 15 and 16, that these relationships would help them build attachment security with another person by the time they were 25. They also found that the family of origin and other positive romantic relationships created an ability to have a secure attachment later in life. Intimacy then can be determined by the quality of attachment that an individual has or does not have with their family of origin. Zuckerberg also has problems making and keeping friends. The movie is about the early years of Facebook and it is not known whether he has learned from his mistakes in real life, but it was certain that he did not learn from Dale Carnegie (1936) in terms of how to make friends and keep them. Carnegie suggested that there were three fundamental techniques in handling people: 1) you should not criticize them; 2) you should honestly appreciate them (letting them know this); and 3) you should arouse an eagerness in them for something they want. Although Zuckerberg had many people around him, he constantly criticized or condemned them, never showed them that he appreciated them and never really nurtured those people around him who could have been of great help to him. An example of this ...
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