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Anthony Calvo
Dr. Dietel-Mclaughlin
WR 13300
10 October 2014
A Cautionary Tale: Being a Billionaire Does not Mean Happiness
The Social Network is about the origins of the modern day social media company
Facebook. The movie begins with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebooks founder and CEO, being
dumped by his girlfriend at the time, Erica Albright. In anger, after being dumped, Mark creates
a website called face mesh that becomes fairly popular. Seeing Marks programming skills from
face mesh the Winklevoss twins approach Mark about an idea for a website site called the
Harvard Connection. Mark decides to create his own website with some of their ideas with his
best friend Eduardo Saverin. Eventually the website becomes considerably popular and Sean
Parker, founder of Napster, joins the company in an abrupt fashion. Mark, Sean, and the other
shareholders dilute Eduardos shares down to .03 percent. The film transitions between the story
and Eduardo and the Winklevoss twins suing Mark.
The film presents Mark as an individual with a considerable amount of problems from the
onset of the film. The initial bar scene shows his arrogance and general avoidance of social
protocol. At the end of the film Mark still has similar problems: Erica Albright broke up with
him, and he still cannot relate to people. Despite this by the end of the film Mark has developed
to regret the way he achieved his success. This is shown throughout the film via the referencing,
audio, and acting. These key aspects of the film provide insights into Marks thoughts and
conflicts that give the audience a clear sense of his development. The audio essentially sets the

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tone of the movie, but also provides important details about Marks thoughts. The referencing in
the film constantly keeps the audience aware of what events have occurred and alludes to future
events. It uses ideas to connect actions that exemplify Marks transition in mindset and character.
The film uses referencing by calling the audiences attention back to previous scenes in the
movie with subtle signals, like repeated phrases, vocabulary, and audio changes. The acting,
particularly the body expressions and manner of communication, all depict what Mark is feeling
in each situation. These situations go on to shape the way he will handle future ones though out
the film. Without referencing, acting, and audio the audience would simply see the Marks
external problems throughout the film. This is because they provide Marks inner feelings and
thoughts allowing for Mark to develop chronologically as he creates the Facebook.
The audio of the film provides reflection and foreshadowing making it key in establishing
the tone of the film. The non-diegetic music is slow and sad as he walks back from the bar. This
sad slow sound highlights and reflects upon Marks feelings after Erica breaks up with him.
Once he walks into his dorm the background music stops and the only non-diegetic sound is
Marks thoughts. The transition in sound corresponds to Marks development from having a
girlfriend and now being all alone, until Mr. Olsen comes in with the idea to compare girls
Facebook to farm animals. The non-diegetic music immediately begins to play with the finishing
of Marks next thoughts and the tone transitions from sad and gloomy to one of ambitious
optimism. The change in tone coincides with Marks change in character as he forgets about
Erica for a moment and pursues his ambition of final clubs. Finally, once face mesh is up the
music turns into a rebellious chaotic tone as the websites traffic increases. The rebellious and
chaotic tone foreshadows the consequences this will have for Mark: six months academic

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probation, and girls further dislike of him. However, it is reflective of what Mark is trying to do.
He wants to gain attention so he could possibly join a final club, which he does gain attention,
but he does so in the form of notoriety. As the Facebook is being brought online the sound is one
of friendship and relief featuring one low piano tone played continually. Eduardo and Mark are
shown as creating it together. While Mark did the programming and the large majority of the
work Eduardo supplied the money and important connections such as emails of Phoenix(a final
club) members. This song of relief reflects Marks relief as he finally reaches his goal of building
the website and finally beginning his climb to fame. Marks mindset from that moment on is
based upon Facebook. He finally considers himself to be cool.
Sean Parker has different background music that seems follow him through out the film
contributing to his charisma. In the restaurant scene where they first meet the music is fun and
exotic just like Sean makes himself out to be. Then it abruptly ends on Marks face as he says
shit. That abrupt and powerful audio change highlights a transition in Mark which Eduardo
describes as Sean owning Mark. From that moment forward Mark took his obsession with
being cool and used Sean parker to embody it. In the final scene where Mark refreshes Ericas
Facebook page to see if she's accepted his friendship request, the non-diegetic sound provides the
final reflection of character. The song being played in the background is Baby Youre a Rich
Man by the Beatles. The contrast between the song saying Marks a rich man and his gloomy
facial expression portrays Marks final character development. He realizes all he every really
wanted was Erica Albright, and he let his pursuit of being cool, and famous obscure that. Mark is
left in an unresolved problem where he achieved his goal of grabbing peoples attention, but he
sacrificed everything to get it.

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The non-diegetic sounds from the events happening in the past contrast with those in the
legal discussions. The two both have tension and emotion, but the legal hearings almost never
have non-diegetic sound. The exclusive use of diegetic sound attempts to make the scenes seem
matter of fact because they are legal hearings. The silence created from this allows for the David
Fincher ( the director) to create more emphasis on pauses especially ones that zoom in on Marks
face. In the scene where Facebook just receives 1 million users the sound of clapping and
celebration sounds through the office, but it is juxtaposed by Marks gloomy and depressed facial
reaction. This juxtaposition shows that despite Marks success and fame, which he had been
seeking from the beginning of the film, he still regrets screwing over his friends to get there.
Ultimately he realizes the consequences of his pursuit of being cool were not worth the
happiness he thought it would bring him.
Audio often allows the audience to know exactly what Mark is thinking at any given
point, but Marks thoughts are not always presented through audio.The lack of audio for Marks
thoughts is generally replaced by acting, particularly the use of body language and facial
expressions. Marks facial expression is evident when he is asked to work on Harvard
Connection by the Winklevosses. When Mark is initially brought into the Purcellion, he seems
intrigued looking up at the sign of the Purcellion upon entrance and the photos once inside. The
moment the Winklevosss associate tells Mark that this project could rehabilitate his image
Marks facial expression immediately changes from content intrigue to resentment. Then as they
explain that he is actually their third programmer he literally lowers his head expressing this
resentment, but also that he is in thought. As the camera moves back to Mark, he raises his head
saying Im in with a stern and confident facial expression. Marks intrigue showed his

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obsession with finals club and being accepted initially, while his attitude transitions significantly
while he bows his head in thought. Although, it is not explicitly stated it is at that point Mark
begins thinking of creating his own website while stalling the Winklevosses. This explains why
Mark abruptly agrees to be involved in the site rather than establishing terms or asking pertinent
questions about the site. This fundamental point shows Marks development from obsessing over
final clubs to establishing his superiority over them. Marks decision to create Facebook rather
than the Harvard Connection is absolutely a rhetorical response to his circumstances. Once Mark
is offended and sets his goal of superiority over the Winklevoss, he is forced to persuade society,
the Winklevoss, and the audience of this. Mark is not as socially, economically, or physically
powerful compared to the Winklevoss. According Herrick Mark must then craft his response to
a set of circumstances(11). The way Mark responds to his specific circumstances is by using his
superior intelligence and computing skills. The audio presents Marks rhetorical response to the
audience allowing for the audience to gain insight on Marks development as he transitions out
of his obsession for final clubs to establishing his superiority over them.
In the legal hearings Mark uses his body language to express his care for the issues being
presented to him. In the legal hearings with Eduardo, Mark is generally in an upright position
with his whole body facing Eduardo, while in the Winklevoss suit he is almost constantly shifted
to the side. The Winklevoss lawyer even asks Mark if he has Marks full attention due to Marks
bored demeanor. Of course Mark responds no because he does not respect the Winklevoss and
has not since his initial transition of resenting them. However, this resentment transitions into a
disregard of their legitimacy in creating anything. Mark expresses this explicitly in saying if
they came up with the idea for Facebook, the would've invented Facebook. If Mark had still

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resented the Winklevosses at this point his body language would not be one of boredom. He
would instead be more involved, interested, and angry. Marks attitude towards the Winklevoss
develops from resentment to disregard is expressed through his body language.
The majority of the movie Mark actually looks considerably bored. One major exception
to this is the initial bar scene with Erica Albright before she dumps him. In the beginning of the
scene he talks with an arrogant and rather bored tone, while sitting generally still. However,
once Erica tells Mark she would like to break up him, his tone becomes rather different. It almost
immediately becomes faster and his facial expression becomes distressed. He begins repeating
his words and his body begins moving considerably more from side to side indicating his
desperation. Afterward, in his dorm room he moves quickly and his face becomes almost
depressed. These transitions in body language and tone express Marks development from
complete arrogance to desperation and ultimately a mix between sadness and anger towards
Erica.
The film uses references to show Marks transitions in character development and link
events in the movie. These references not only constantly remind the audience of the holistic
view of the movie, but appeal to the audience in this rhetorical situation. A rhetorical audience
consists only of those persons who are capable of being influenced by discourse and of being
mediators of change(Bitzer 8). The film uses some references involving ideas that are not
known to everyone. The rhetorical audience needs to have a basic understanding of what a social
media website is and why it is so pertinent to modern society in order to be influenced by
discourse. In addition to the site representing considerable monetary value, it has made Mark the
youngest billionaire and changed the way people interact across the globe. The entire argument

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between the Winklevoss, Eduardo, and Mark stems mainly from the fact the important milestone
such a site represents. In this rhetorical situation between Mark and the Winklevoss the audience
is essentially society. Despite the conflict being seemingly focused around the court case it is
ultimately about who succeeds in society. This is why the Winklevoss care so much about their
image and being Men of Harvard. The audience is essentially society. This makes the
audience a mediator of change as they settle who is the distinctive winner between the
Winklevoss and Mark. At the end of the movie it is the audience, society, that determines Marks
development into a winner.
The Winklevoss as a whole represent what Mark wants to be at the beginning of the film.
He wants to stand out as he explains to Erica, but he realizes that he does not have the physical
power to compete in such a sport. Erica brings up the notion that she would like the idea of
dating a rower. In the first encounter Mark has with the twins the audio pauses slightly after they
say they are rowers. This pause in audio highlights the specific word rower and calls the
audience back to the initial conversation with Erica. Mark then quickly agrees to meet with them
because of his obsession with Erica and final clubs. The connection between events helps the
audience realize that despite his notoriety from face mesh Mark still feels the need to stand out as
he expressed in the bar. It also points out that Mark is still distraught over his break up with Erica
and wants her back which will become more evident as the film progresses.
Once Mark is invited into the Purcellion the first scene is referenced again. When offered
to work on the Harvard Connection project Mark uses the exact words that Erica said to him
before breaking up with him You would do that for me?. This connects the two events, but
shows a subtle yet key transition in Marks development. Although it is unclear wether Mark

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himself recognizes this connection it clearly connects the two in the audiences mind. The
connection despite wether Mark is aware of it or not shows Marks lasting connection to Erica
and how she continues to be involved in his character development. The twins treated Mark as
Mark had treated Erica in the first scene. At that very moment Mark decides that he is not going
to do what the Winklevoss twins want of him, but he is going to assert his dominance over them.
This idea being mixed with the connection to Erica again reminds the audience that Mark
ultimately wants to impress her, despite Mark being an asshole.
Comparing the beginning and end of the film Mark still has similar issues: social
awkwardness and getting dumped by Erica Albright. At the end of the film Mark is shown
depressingly checking to see if Erica has accepted his friend request because he still wants a
relationship with her. He also continues to be break social rules as he does not pay attention
through out his legal hearings and refuses to dress like a traditional business man.
Despite these similarities Mark has stilled developed through out the film. Mark may
have wanted Erica at both points in the movie, but his attitude toward her changes. In the first
scene Mark believes he is superior to Erica as indicated by his offensive blogging and comments
at the bar. At the end of the movie Mark is not angry, but depressed because he regrets his
actions. This is shown through the background song, Baby Youre a Rich Man, and his facial
expression. Even though Mark continues being considerably socially awkward, as he gains
success it becomes more acceptable. At the beginning of the movie his oddities seem incredibly
strange and put him in conflicts with people like Erica and prevent him from making good
friends other than Eduardo. By the end of the movie society has begun to accept him because of
Facebooks success. This is shown through girls being into Eduardo and Mark. Also through the

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scene where a Harvard class mate points out that the speaker was looking at Mark while saying
the next Bill gates could be in this room and then not realizing Bill gates was the speaker. For
once Mark is not the source of social awkwardness in a scene. Even if Mark has similar issues
from the onset of the film to its end, Mark still develops throughout the film.
Mark develops in multiple aspects throughout the film. At the end of the film Mark has
developed from an obsession over final clubs and recognition, to an attitude of regret and
sadness. Ultimately Marks development means much more to modern society at large than in
jus the story alone. As shown through the acting, referencing, and audio Mark develops as a
character realizing his monetary and social goals were not worth the loss of his relationships with
Erica and Eduardo. Modern society is focused on pursuit of fame and fortune similar to Mark,
but in the presentation of this film, David Fincher attempts to point out the flaws of this view.
Through Marks development Fincher implies that although money and fame are in important
they should not be placed above values.

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Works Cited
Bitzer, Lloyd The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy & Rhetoric 1.1 (January 19-68):1-14. Print
Herrick, A. "An Overview of Rhetoric." The History and Theory of Rhetoric. 2nd ed. N.p.: n.p.,
2001. N. pag. Print.
The Social Network. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Jesse Eisenberg Andrew Garfield Justin
Timberlake Armie Hammer Max Minghella. Columbia Pictures, 2010. Film.