high tech roadshow

The Face of Facebook, the Other FB Movie, #NewTwitter, and IE9 Apps

Facebook founder Mark ZuckerbergImage via Wikipedia

In advance of the movie The Social Network about the origin of superhero Mark Zuckerberg, The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of the 26-year-old Facebook boss, and people are typing. "Interest in who the real Mark Zuckerberg is has reached an all-time high," says GigaOM. Still, Alexis Madrigal suggests the NYer piece is "stupefyingly boring" with an explanation: "Zuckerberg is a boring guy who seems to suck the life out of any writing about him." There's not a ton of evidence to the contrary, although many readers did like the mag article. Kashmir Hill suggests Zuck really opened up to writer Jose Antonio Vargas. "Zuckerberg was very candid with Vargas, inviting him into his house, introducing him to his girlfriend, and even friending him on Facebook." Woo hoo! On MZ's FB page the writer found a vast trove of dull personal info to report, like his favorite book being Ender's Game. Zuck's reputedly cavalier take on privacy is the super-hot-button, of course. Anil Dash at Dashes calls the mag story "excellent," but, then again, he has the article's killer quote, saying Zuck is young and privileged and maybe he just can't imagine why anybody would have anything to hide.

Facebook is philosophically run by people who are extremists about information sharing...advocating for a pretty radical social change to be inflicted on half a billion people without those people's engagement." Maybe the most damning stuff in the story (certainly the least boring Zuck quotes) are some IMs Zuck wrote while in college about his ability to abuse people's personal information using his early version of Facebook. Silicon Alley Insider ran those IM's previously but still calls the NYer story excellent and extracts 10 things you didn't know about Mark Zuckerberg from it.

clip_image006Meanwhile some early movie reviews of Facebook movie, The Social Network are leaking. Slashfilm says "The Social Network is Fincher's best film since Fight Club, which is saying a lot considering I LOVED Zodiac. " MediaMemo calls it "just brutal" on Zuckerberg - "the film portrays him as an insecure jerk who screws over people and becomes a much-richer insecure jerk." Deadline Hollywood proclaims the flick Sony's best shot at Best Picture in years" with Jessie Eisenberg, in the role of Zuck, likely to get a best actor nomination. Really? Dorkshelf calls Eisenberg "the poor man's Michael Cera." But surely the resemblance seems uncanny - and Eisenberg was pretty dull playing a human in a movie about zombies.

Maybe they'll create an Oscar category for Facebook-inspired films as Catfish is set to premiere, "a documentary about a man who has a real-life encounter of the you-could-not-make-this-up kind on Facebook," Boomtown says. called it "a cautionary tale about how social networking sites like Facebook are changing the way people relate to each other" and raved: "The final forty minutes of the film will truly take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride that you won't be able to shake for days afterwards."

Wow, that's really worth tweeting about. Or maybe #newtwitter about. "Forget your favorite Twitter app," says FastCompany. "The newly redesigned's two panel layout adds rich media, keyboard shortcuts, infinite scrolling, and conversations to what used to be a plain old website." The completely overhauled interface is an attack on all desktop [Twitter] apps, says Mashable, which observes that it's "essentially a version of the sleek new Twitter iPad app, but optimized for the web." NiemanLab says the addition ofd embeddable photos, streaming video, and room for advertising, "taken together...point to a broader implication: as an increasingly centralized space for information. And even, for our more specific purposes, news."

It makes sense. This Web thing could catch on. Even Microsoft (remember those guys?) is doing Web-related stuff these days. FastCompany got a sneak peek of new Internet Explorer 9, a browser that brings the idea of cool little apps to Windows. Apps "don't feel like an installed program - they're much less clunky - nor a website, which is anything but native." It'll use HTML5 to make online experiences more diverse and break out of the "page" mentality. One MS honcho quoted: "The browser is the theater - not the play, so how do we let the browser get out of the way?" One IE9 feature is a taskbar for launching online apps - for shopping, information,etc. - that in a conventional sense bypass the "browser." Call us old fashioned but a new way to use all PCs seems far less boring than the personal life of Mark Zuckerberg.

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