Tila, Quarterlife and $#*!: Why Social Media and Old Media Don’t Mix

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Okay, I admit it; there isn’t actually a @UrFRENZ social network, but one look at the trailer for the upcoming “thriller” leaves little doubt in anyone’s mind that the social network in question is really Facebook. Yes, Facebook had a real, and an “exception that proves the rule”-esque appearance in a movie with The Social Network, but you could argue that that isn’t really a movie about Facebook the experience as much as it is Facebook the site.

There’s very little actual Facebooking that happens in the movie; no getting annoying friend requests from people you went to high school with and had hoped would have forgotten you exist by now, no status updates that you thought were funny at the time but bring worried and/or judgmental comments from confused family members, and no requests to play games that you really, really wish would somehow magically be wiped from the entire internet forever. The Social Network is just a film about some guys and a company. @UrFRENZ is about the real Facebook.


Except, of course, it’s not. Sure, there’s the whole thing about bullying and cyberstalking and “Who knows if that cute guy on the internet is really someone’s mom who’s freaking out?” and all of that, but this is pretty much about Facebook in the same way that Catfish is. That is to say, something that’s playing on fears and paranoia about the simultaneous anonymity and intimacy that social networking offers, but more interested in saying “Boo!” or pointing and laughing than actually saying anything of any weight about the contradiction.

(MORE: Burglars Now Using Twitter, Facebook Against You)

The fact that Facebook hasn’t spawned its own movie or television spin-off yet is probably a good thing (The fact that media companies would rather appear on Facebook than steal ideas from it is definitely one). It suggests that Facebook is more than just a fad or niche to be exploited, but something that’s just part of life. Well, until someone comes up with that status update that’s just so perfect that Hollywood can’t resist asking how much the rights would go for, of course…

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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