When I heard that Aaron Sorkin – writer of several hit films, Broadway plays and television including some episodes of the West Wing – had been commissioned to write a movie about Facebook, my first thought was that it’d be a romantic comedy, much in the vein of Sleepless in Seattle. Maybe I was swayed by the recent news story which reported that a mother was reunited, via Facebook, with her long-lost son after 27 years this week. The story does seem to underline the personal power of the connections that social media make, and I can quite see Facebook playing a major part in a film plot.
But no, a quick look at Sorkin’s page reveals that the movie will tell the story of Facebook’s inception – a biopic of a phenomenon if you will. Rather endearingly, Sorkin reveals that he knows nothing at all about Facebook, but we’d have to agree that he’s doing the right thing to find out: he’s started up a group and he’s engaging with his fans. In no time at all he’ll be able to write about it with the complete authority of one who spends all his time poring over old photos of friends and reconnecting with people he thought he’d never see again – not to mention trying to beat his personal best at Scrabble and wasting time filling in endless personality questionnaires, like the rest of us.
It’s been a week that also saw the announcement of a Twitter-based TV programme, so I think we can say with assurance that social media and mainstream media are converging. Whatever next? LinkedIn: the novel? Now that would be a challenge.