In the new issue of the New York Review of Books, literary bright young thing Zadie Smith reflects on “The Social Network,” Facebook, Jaron Lanier’s book “You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto” and the mystery of Mark Zuckerberg.
Personally I don’t think Final Clubs were ever the point; I don’t think exclusivity was ever the point; nor even money. E Pluribus Unum–that’s the point. Here’s my guess: he wants to be like everybody else. He wants to be liked. Those 1.0 people who couldn’t understand Zuckerberg’s apparently ham-fisted PR move of giving the school system of Newark $100 million on the very day the movie came out–they just don’t get it. For our self-conscious generation (and in this, I and Zuckerberg, and everyone raised on TV in the Eighties and Nineties, share a single soul), not being liked is as bad as it gets. Intolerable to be thought of badly for a minute, even for a moment. He didn’t need to just get out “in front” of the story. He had to get right on top of it and try to stop it breathing. Two weeks later, he went to a screening. Why? Because everybody liked the movie.