Who’s validating whom?

Bruce McArthur Facebook, Marketing, Social Networks

With this weekend’s robust success of The Social Network, Social Media is officially valid.
Not that 500 million+ Facebook friends aren’t valid, but in America, an entity or a person really isn’t on the national radar until they have serious TV or movie exposure. Heartland America doubted the existence of the Mafia until The GodfatherAmerican Graffiti officially made the 50’s nostalgia. Saturday Night Fever brought disco to flyover country.
The Social Network is a very good movie.  Hollywood, usually adept at taking great stories and making them stupid, actually improved on this one.  First, they made every Harvard Coed resemble a Laker Girl. That’s creative license we applaud. They wove snappy (actually, over-the-top snappy) dialog of a trial deposition between scenes of launching a digital business. In real life, yawn generating tedium. But with good writing, acting and editing, they made it riveting. No mean feat, as writing code, hiring programmers and raising VC hardly compares with the shootout at the OK Corral. Incredibly, the only thrown punch was a punch pulled, and there wasn’t a single car-wreck or explosion.

But with this movie’s Hollywood validation, the standard equation is turned inside out. More people – by far – viewed Deer Hunter, (or Platoon or Apocalypse Now) than fought in Viet Nam. But more people – by a big multiple – are Facebook members than will ever see the movie… we think.  If even 20% of Facebookers (friends is just too much of a stretch, sorry) are sufficiently curious to pony up $10, the take will dwarf Avatar or Titanic. We’ll see.

Previous prognostications aside, the following is a lead-pipe cinch. Harvard applications will skyrocket. Formerly perceived as a staid, stuffy bastion of eggheads and trust-fund babies, Harvard’s re-branding by The Social Network makes it sexier than the Playboy Mansion.  Every high schooler seeing it will think,   whoa… hot, easy chix plus billions upon graduation? Get me in! 
From our stadium seat at the multiplex, it looked like Mark Zuckerberg shamelessly ripped off Facebook  from the Winklevoss twins. Although he settled with them for $65 million, they stack up as paupers beside Zuckerberg’s estimated net worth of 6.7 billion.
What do you think?