The relationship between Hollywood, Technology and Social Media has gradually strengthened in the past few years. The film industry is pacing fast towards the digital age by adopting social media as the primary weapon to cast a magical spell on the massive crowd of movie lovers across the globe. Before the advent of social media, movie producers used to bet their bottom dollar solely on the real characters (humans) to write success stories on the box office. Then in 90s, sophistication in technology progressed. The contemporary black & white screens were swapped with the coloured ones. Filmmakers gradually started adapting to the widespread digital revolution and painted the glowing silver screen with the huge landscape of virtual characters – animated cartoons, robots; advanced technical tools & hi-fi motion graphics driven by special effects. Soon, Social Media also jumped on the bandwagon with full zeal clutching the whole world in its fist via viral networking platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, You Tube etc in order to offer new ways to monetise the vast digital consumption. And now the current scenario is – Social Media is perceived as the make or break factor in the movie plots and documentaries and even the TV shows. For this, we owe all thanks to our digital technology that has left no stone unturned in going hand in hand with Hollywood to bring a successful modernistic era on the big screens where Social Media has become an inseparable part of the current lifestyle and thus the movies too.
The Top 2 Lead Protagonists of Our Social Media Movies
No, I’m not talking about the action-heroes who survive despite tossing out of their airplanes without a parachute, or the supermen who jump to save the destitutes from any sort of evil. It’s our most loved social networking platforms – Facebook and Twitter which are portrayed as the central characters in our Hollywood movies. It seems that our modern age scriptwriters have got a new publicity stunt – adding social media glamour to movies in an endeavour to fascinate the world that loves to munch facebook snacks and tweetable bites instead of digesting fantasy tales and horror flicks.
Facebook is the status symbol of nearly 1.3 billion people throughout the globe. Thanks to our one and only trendsetter – Mark Zuckerberg who has succeeded in depicting everything from pretty girls to hot guys, cute love stories to silly fights, and funny trolls to social memes – all entertaining buzz at one single place. It seems that our one and only way of communication in 21st century is none other than facebook. When people can shop on Facebook via sponsored ads, hunt for jobs via news feeds, organise meet-ups via events, challenge friends via game invitations, and even grab attention via pokes – why can’t our filmmakers join the same grandprix?? Yes, let’s be honest here and admit that whatever happens in our day-to-day life, we love to see the celebrities doing the same thing on the big screens (cinema). And we, the hard core movie fans express gratitude to every such film perceiving it as ultimately great.
Twitter, the social media platform well lives up to its name’s meaning – Chitter Chatter. 650 million people hang out on Twitter to know what their favourite personalities eat, drink and breathe. The micro blogging platform revolutionized the way people communicate through its unique tweeting etiquette – stick the gossip to 140 characters and don’t pollute me with lengthy & boring stuff!! Admit it or no but we all love peeping into each other’s personal lives & sharing our fun and sad moments with the whole world – tweeting where we spent our last weekend, what attire we suited up for yesterday’s party, which coffee flavour we tasted today in the morning & the list goes on. Yes, we are addicted to the extent that we can’t resist gazing into our smartphones 24 x 7, looking for retweets and favourites. And yeahh, we relish it even more when we see our superstars leveraging the social media phenomenon to propose their beloved, fight the crime, raise voice opinions, turn from rags to riches, spy on their ex and a lot more.
However, there are two major reasons as to why it does make sense to incorporate the social media ingredients in the recipe of Hollywood masala flicks. The first one is – you can feature social media in movies as the blowgun to fascinate the gigantic crowd of movie loving audience. Secondly, you can run a social media marketing campaign on the web via Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing etc to create a huge fan-list of your movie lovers even before its release, making it a blockbuster hit in a jiffy. This way you will end up buttering your bread from both the sides.
Now let’s move on to the top 5 movies that featured social media to earn the biggest victory on the box office.
Top 5 Movies about Social Media
1.The Social Network
The Social Network hit the box office in 2010, revealing the rough and tough journey of Jesse Eisenberg (starring as Mark Zuckerberg) – how he started Facebook, fought with the antagonists and made it a billion dollar company in a short span of time. Besides the entertaining stuff portraying his intense passion and emotional attachment associated with the platform, the epic thing about the movie was the accurate depiction of Zuckerberg’s real-life wardrobe by David Fincher (the director) that left viewers’ eyes glaze over. Undoubtedly, the film topped all lists, won numerous award recognitions and received a lot of nominations as accolades both nationally and internationally.
2. We Live in Public
We Live in Public is a documentary film released in 2009 that revolves around the theme of “Privacy Loss & Trade in the Internet Age” through posting or flaunting everything publically on the social networks. The movie is all about sinking into an ecosystem of 24X7 live surveillance on the web and losing what we call personal intimacy without giving a second thought to it. This movie reveals the dark side of Internet and Social Media Platforms – how the amalgamation of social media and technology impacts the individual identity of people. Starring Josh Harris as the lead character, the film is directed by the famous female personality, Ondi Timoner and has won the most anticipated Grand Jury Award at 2009 Sundance Film Festival in the US. The film was also a close runner up for “Best Documentary” award at Karlovy Vary International Festival in 2009 itself.
Catfish, according to dictionary, refers to a person of any gender who uses false biographical information to fake his/her personal social media profile with the intent of impersonating someone else who is more charming than his/her true self.
Released in 2010, Catfish is a poignant film story based on Nev, a young man who establishes a romantic relationship with a young woman on Facebook. As their online affair progresses, Nev discovers that the girl is faking her original identity via photographs, pretending to be someone else who is more appealing than her. This prompts Nev to visit the place where she lives and confront the girl directly.
Inspired by this movie, the famous channel “MTV” produced a reality show on television – “Catfish” with a similar theme as the movie – exhibiting the lives of people who are hooked in serious online relationships where they tend to be dishonest in describing themselves.
4. Terms And Conditions May Apply
Directed by Cullen Hoback, Terms and Conditions May Apply is a 2013 documentary film that scrutinizes the abstract reality behind risking our online privacy at the cost of “free services”, without even reading the “Terms and Conditions” section that seem irritating to all of us. The film tells you how billion dollar enterprises are making big bucks by selling the personal information we all share on the web. The film casts Mark Zuckerberg as himself and showcases interviews with privacy experts in an endeavour to urge people to peep inside their mindsets and circumspect the written text before clicking the “I agree” button blindly.
5. #ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes On A Dictator
This film weaves through the revolution raised in the country – Syria by an American teenage girl from her own home in Chicago. The story spins around the theme of fighting dictatorship in the modern era through the usage of social media platforms instead of using arms and ammunitions. This film won the famous IDFA Doc U Award in 2013 because of its unique concept inspiring the youth to realise the vision of peace and justice across the globe.